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Subject: RE: [legalxml-econtracts] Minority Report (in eContracts Markup), Part 2


I am glad to see that you have started introducing <legal: ...> as a name
space for the concepts that reflect key concepts of our e-contracts
standard. This suggests to me that we are starting defining concepts that
represent the 'semantics' of contracts - which is what we should be doing. 

By 'semantics' I cover here:

1. The meaning of structural aspects of contract - that distinguish contract
(and other legal documents) from other documents (note that so far we have
use the word 'semantics' for other things re contracts - which may have been
a bit unfortunate choice - as there is a meaning if something is a subclause
of a clause etc).

2. The 'semantic markup' - for simple type of information such as date,
parties etc. It may be that some of these belong to 1., but as far as the
overall contract document is concerned, this is not that important - I think
we separated this to facilitate our work

3. The 'semantic markup' - for more complex type of information such as the
expression of obligations, events etc.

I think we need to analyse and select key concepts from both proposals that
have been discussed on this list and start agreeing which of the concepts
are important for us - from the legal perspective. Let's step a bit back
from tools capabilities, other standards that can be of relevance (XHTML,
RDF, RelaxNG, vertical standards, XForms etc) and agree on the MODEL for
these legal concepts. Maybe we can start with asking questions such as
'would lawyers, courts etc consider this to be an important element'. For
example, would any legal professional decide that page breaks are important
for the meaning of contract (and I don't know the answer to it). We have a
number of people with legal background here and I am sure they would be
critical to answer some of these semantic questions.

I suggest that we go through the process of selecting all these important
concepts one by one and including them under the <legal ...> name space as
you started. In other words let's start building a model for these concepts
(I'd be happy to start using UML class diagram as it had well defined
semantics). In doing this I feel we could start adding suitable terms that
were identified in the XHTML standard, but for the moment they would be
under our <legal ...> name space. This approach will force us to focus what
is important and as I said in my previous email, the closer correspondence
with XHTML would be only a bonus - allowing relative straightforward

If we do this, we can then test this model through various use cases. Well,
we may find a need for some pragmatic solutions which may not be part of a
core semantic model. From my experience of being involved in other
standards, it may be useful to think in terms of mandatory requirements (ie
the core semantics) and some optional requirements (ie nice but not

What to other people think about this - can we start process of agreeing on
a core model for contracts? 


> -----Original Message-----
> From: John McClure [mailto:jmcclure@hypergrove.com]
> Sent: Monday, 26 July 2004 5:08 PM
> To: Legalxml-Econtracts
> Cc: Jason Harrop
> Subject: [legalxml-econtracts] Minority Report (in eContracts Markup),
> Part 2
> Folks,
> Attached is the next part of what I guess is now called the Minority
> Report. I
> expect one more swipe (sometime next week), then I am done with it. The
> changes
> to earlier-published Part 1 sections, are appropriately highlighted. I'll
> do the
> same when I publish the final version.
> All comments are welcomed ! Remember, the report is tested for display
> using
> Mozilla, not IE.
> Regards,
> John
> Jason.
> The document you commented upon is NOT the minority report.
> >-----Original Message-----
> >From: Jason Harrop [mailto:jharrop@speedlegal.com]
> >Sent: Saturday, July 24, 2004 11:32 PM
> >To: Legalxml-Econtracts
> >Subject: Re: [legalxml-econtracts] Revised SC Report (in eContracts
> >Markup), Part 1
> >
> >
> >Hi John
> >
> >Here are some more detailed comments on your minority report.
> >
> >As i ask in the comments, could you please clarify whether we can expect
> >more, including for example, the introduction of <area>, and a DTD?
> >
> >cheers,
> >
> >Jason
> >
> >
> >
> >John McClure wrote:
> >> Attached is
> >> (1) a new version of the report, marked-up using the structural
> elements and
> >> coding techniques that I am proposing
> >> (2) the CSS stylesheet and
> >> (3) a PDF rendition.
> >>
> >> Beware, IE users, the XHTML file will NOT display in IE because of
> >its currently
> >> lame support for CSS styling of XML.... one must either use Mozilla,
> >or be happy
> >> with the PDF.
> >>
> >> I am not planning to update the Word version sent earlier. Materially,
> I have
> >> modified statement 1.4 because there was a serious error there;
> >nothing material
> >> has changed except 1.4.
> >> Thanks,
> >> John

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