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Democratizing legal information through technology

Lee Man-kyu, South Korea's Minister of Justice, addresses the 10th Annual Asian Legislative Experts Symposium held at Fairmont Seoul in Yeouido on Thursday.  (Ministry of Justice)

Lee Man-kyu, South Korea’s Minister of Justice, addresses the 10th Annual Asian Legislative Experts Symposium held at Fairmont Seoul in Yeouido on Thursday. (Ministry of Justice)

Legislative officials and experts from eight Asian countries met in Seoul on Thursday to discuss legislative progress and challenges in the age of digital technology.

Speaking at the annual Asian Legislative Experts Symposium, South Korean Justice Minister Lee Wang Gyu said artificial intelligence and big data technology could bring about a “new era of the legal technology industry” and make the legislative process “more democratic.” Said it was expected.

For a long time, access to legal information was the exclusive sanctuary of governments and legal professionals. “But with the advent of technology, that information is becoming more transparent and easier for people to access,” he said in his speech.

Legislation is “another area where digital technology has proven its usefulness,” said Hwang Jong-Sung, head of the National Information Society Administration.

“Transparency is the essence of the rule of law, and I think it’s fair to say that digital technology has helped achieve that higher level of transparency,” he said.

Kim Gye-hong, director of the Korean Legislative Research Institute, said the symposium was held at a time when Asian countries were beginning to operate digital legislative systems.

“South Korea is building a digital system for managing laws and legal information, and is using technology to further improve its legislative capacity,” he said.

South Korea, which leads in the UN’s e-government development index, began digitizing its legislative process more than 20 years ago, according to the government’s Ministry of Legislation.

Introduced in 2018, the department’s legislative compilation software utilizes a database containing not only past legislation, but policies and legislative plans across government ministries and agencies.

The department’s plain law division operates a website designed to provide open and convenient access to legal information and social media services that keep subscribers up to date on the law.

However, despite their efforts, the majority of Koreans say that laws and laws are difficult to understand. In a 2020 survey by the ministry, 89.1% of respondents said they had trouble understanding the law.

“The challenge is reaching out to younger generations, especially those whose research shows they respond better to visual information than text,” said the director of the ministry’s plain law division. Son Mun-Su said.

“The past nine events have brought together experts to discuss legislative issues and how to tackle them in a variety of areas, from land and transportation to natural disaster safety and public health,” said Lee, the government’s Minister of Justice. We talked about,” he said.

“The symposium hopes to act as a vehicle for enhancing exchanges and cooperation between legislative bodies in Asian countries.”

Kim Arin (