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This course will teach students how to design and build an application using expert system software. Students will learn how to use this software to generate legal documents, automate intake processes, and assist users to navigate solutions to legal problems. After learning the necessary skills, students will work in small groups, in partnership with a not-for-profit centre or organisation, to design and build an application.

In class, students will also be exposed to a variety of examples of automation of legal tasks, and the various legal and practical issues associated with their use, including issues of professional regulation. This will include guest lectures on a variety of topics, both technical and procedural. Students will also become familiar with theoretical approaches to legal information systems development, and the range of technologies and approaches that may contribute to applications development.

Designing legal information systems requires students to think through a class of legal problems in a structured way. Systems can be used to generate legal documents from precedents, with variations based on the responses of a user, aswell as to answer legal questions within a particular field. They are one component of the increasing tendency to automate legal tasks. Used well, legal information systems can facilitate access to legal information and expertise, but always within the limits of their designer's foresight. Designing a good legal information system thus requires skills in legal analysis and problem-solving, as well as the ability to think creatively and explore different approaches to a problem.

This course does not require students to have any pre-existing skills or experience in expert systems or computer programming - the course itself includes instruction on how to use expert system software.

This course is sponsored by Gilbert and Tobin.


Faculty Faculty of Law
Study Level


Offering Terms

Term 3



Indicative contact hours


Course Outline

To access course outline, please visit:


Pre-2019 Handbook Editions

Access past handbook editions (2018 and prior)

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