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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The use of automated document structuring and classification methods in the legal domain Bradshaw, Edward Charles


This paper presents a review of some of the more innovative and successful projects in the area of automated document classification, along with a practical attempt at document structuring and classification. The focus in selecting projects for this study was on their potential application to a database of legal judgments, though none of the selected projects have actually been applied to legal judgments. The idea was to select a few good projects, focusing on those which have been implemented with some degree of success. Strictly theoretical papers were not considered. Though they need not necessarily be in use commercially, most systems chosen were in fact in use on a daily basis. The goal of the practical component of this research was an attempt to use the distinctive elements of legal judgments to improve retrieval effectiveness on legal databases. This was to be done by identifying a substructure within a judgment, and then using standard retrieval techniques based on this substructure in addition to the text as a whole. Previous studies have shown that retrieval based on some subdivision of full text documents does indeed show better results. The problem addressed in this project is in identifying this initial substructure.

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