Compliance Assurance Services in Labour Law

Motivation

Cuatrecasas is a Spanish law firm operating internationally and advising large national and international companies on all areas of business law. One of their practice areas is labour law, where a team of lawyers provides a global service to its clients. Cuatrecasas not only advises the companies in any repercussions that their strategies might have in terms of employment relations, but it also represents and defends clients before the authorities and in courts. In this area of legal practice problems arise mainly due to transnational operations carried out by companies in different economic sectors. When dealing with these operations lawyers need to be able to advise their clients whether to undertake the venture abroad or not, bearing in mind the obligations they will have in terms of employment relations, both pre-existing and future.

Against this background, for lawyers to devise the best strategy in this area and best counsel their clients, they need to have an in-depth knowledge of the relevant legal framework at both EU and different countries national, and sometimes local levels. This means having access to legal provisions, case-law, administrative resolutions and expert literature. Nowadays, in order to solve these needs lawyers have to undertake a burdensome and inefficient manual work and to resort to local partner legal firms, able to provide the information related to their own jurisdictions. However, this is not cost effective in terms of both time and resources. Many companies, and sometimes public administrations themselves, already provide such services allowing lawyers to find and consult all these legal resources from different legal orders in different levels. Some of these resources, especially the main pieces of legislation, can even be found not only on the local language, but also in English, French or some other widely used language around Europe.

In the case of the European Union level, legislation and jurisprudence is available in the official languages of the Member States. However, this availability of vast amounts of legal data is not a guarantee of lawyers being updated on the many implications that all the legal frameworks relevant to their cases may pose. It is very difficult, and certainly inefficient in terms of use of human resources for lawyers to have to track all the news and changes that are occurring in all the relevant legal orders, when dealing with international cases. And this is especially true in the context of the common market of the European Union where more and more companies, small or big, are working in a transnational context.

The field of labour law poses further problems as it is by its own nature a multidimensional issue in the legal practice. Legal areas such as administrative law, commercial law, fundamental rights law, public and private international law are involved in the day-to-day business activities of customer companies. And such fields present wide divergences in terms of legal basis, legal instruments and jurisdictions. To keep track, on the daily basis, of all the different legal production, in all these sectors, in the different level of legal orders (International, European, legal) and in the different languages is an out of reach workload that can pose serious difficulties for the legal practitioners. And even more difficult is to expect them to be able to grasp, from all this myriad of legal documents, all the potential implications among them and for their own cases, in a short and useful time frame when designing and implementing their strategies. This is especially true when dealing with such a highly fragmented domain in Europe such as that of employment relations, where each country has very different regimes, procedures, and standards.

Objectives and proposed solution

Against this background the objective within this use case is to provide access to aggregate and interlinked relevant legal information in the law labour sector across multiple legal orders, jurisdictions, and languages. This solution will leverage multilingual linked data enabling the integration of disparate legislation, administrative acts, case law, and doctrine. This proposed solution will be realised by (i) enriching the LKG with legal sources from different legal orders, countries or languages in the domain of labour law; (ii) creating extensive links (see Semantic Annotation, Extraction and Linking Services) between legal provisions, case law, administrative resolutions and expert literature even across different jurisdictions; (iii) offering a tailored service for lawyers that effectively identify the relevant documents that may affect the case they are handling in a more efficient way (see Recommender and Alert Service) and (iv) creating alerts, through the life cycle of the case, of news and relevant changes to any of the legal provisions or documents that the lawyer working the case has identified as applicable or of interest for the case. The pilot will cover the different jurisdictions (EU, DE, AT, IT, ES). The prototype will improve the existing systems at the law firm in the following regards:

  • More complete identification of all the relevant legal provisions in terms of employment in order to give informed advice to the client on the viability of the country.
  • Favours a better informed strategy definition for the internationalisation of companies, as Lynx will enable the fast identification and comparison of all the relevant legislation and case-law to handle the labour aspects.