• a portion of the inter-dependencies among laws in the Italian body of laws
  • some analyses about the evolution of the Italian body of laws
  • managing evolution of procedures and laws
  • an example of traceability between laws and processes


Law-makers, designers of legal information systems and citizens are often challenged by the complexity of bodies of laws and the growing number of references needed to interpret a law. This line of activities investigates ways in which laws can be presented to citizens and law makers as to improve comprehension and fruibility.


Taking inspiration from various techniques developed for software development, such as requirement and quality management, in this project we investigated different approaches to present laws in formats which could make them simpler to understand. The work stemmed into three main branches:

  • Semantic annotation of laws. The goal of the activity is the definition of a markup to identify semantically rich concepts in the wording of laws.
  • Procedural Laws and Processes Various laws, such as the electoral law, describe the way in which certain processes have to be executed. Presenting such laws using notations that are best suited to represent processes, such as BPMN, can improve the way in which laws are interpreted and understood. This line of activity investigated how the Italian electoral law could be represented as a set of activity diagrams and presented by different mediums, such as an interactive website
  • Traceability between Laws and Processes Building upon the previous work, we also extended a UML modeling tool to allow modellers to mantain traceability between laws and the process (steps) they represent. This simplifies the manteinance process of laws in case procedures need to be revised. The tool was applied to manage the evolution of electoral laws to allow for an experimentation of electronic voting systems.
  • (Quantitative) Analysis of Laws In many countries reading laws can be a daunting task. This is not only due to the wording or the way in which some laws are written, but also to the many changes law undergo in their lifecycle and to the many cross-references that need to be analyzed to get a complete picture. In many ways, such dependencies in legal documents resemble those which can be found in source code files when developing software. Quality metrics have been defined in software development to analyze how difficult it is to mantain source code. In this line of activity we analyzed the Italian body of laws applying metrics to measure their complexity and using visualization tools to simplify the browsing of laws.


  • Ciaghi, A., Valle, A. D., & Villafiorita, A. (2011). Adapting Software Metrics to Analyze the Evolution of Laws – An Italian Case Study. In K. M. Atkinson (Ed.), Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence and Applications (Vol. 235, pp. 53–62). IOS Press.

    Abstract BibTeX PDF
  • Ciaghi, A., Mattioli, A., & Villafioritachi, A. (2010). A Tool Supported Methodology for BPR in Public Administrations. International Journal Of Electronic Governance (IJEG), 3(2). Retrieved from http://www.inderscience.com/search/index.php?action=record&rec_id=24443&prevQuery=&ps=10&m=or

    Abstract BibTeX PDF
  • Ciaghi, A., & Villafiorita, A. (2011). Improving Public Administrations via Law Modeling and BPR. In Springer (Ed.), E-Infrastructures and E-Services on Developing Countries: Second International ICST Conference, AFRICOMM 2010, Cape Town, South Africa (pp. 69–78).

    Abstract BibTeX PDF
  • Project Info

    • Type:
    • Period: 2009-01-01 - 2011-01-01
    • Contact:
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    Project Team