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AustLII Research Seminars

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AustLII's second lunchtime Research Seminar will be presented by Philip Chung, AustLII Executive Director and Senior Lecturer in Law, UNSW, on the topic Searching Law in Multiple Asian Languages. Details of the Seminar Topic and a brief bio of the speaker are below.

Date: Tuesday 5 June 2012
Time: 12:00 - 1:00
Venue: AustLII Offices, Level 12, Building 10, 235-253 Jones Street, Ultimo - see map

RSVP by Friday 1 June 2012 to Cathy Quigley Tel: 02 9514 4921 or Email:

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Seminar Details

Topic: Searching Law in Multiple Asian Languages
Speaker: Philip Chung, AustLII Executive Director and Senior Lecturer in Law, UNSW
Duration: The seminar lasts for an hour, including 20 minutes for discussion.


Asian legal systems provide official texts in a wide variety of languages. Across the 28 jurisdictions in Asia, English is still the most common 'legal language' (and the only language of significance for translations). However, a very wide variety of other national languages are also used in Asia for the purposes of the law, and (unlike English) the majority of these do not use the ASCII character set, and cannot be presented in 'single byte' representations. These 'double byte' language representations include Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Korean and Thai. AustLII's open source search engine, Sino, which is used by a wide range of free access Legal Information Institutes (including AsianLII and WorldLII) could not previously search documents which used double byte representations.

This presentation will explain the research and development approach which is converting Sino into a search engine capable of simultaneously searching representations of any Asian languages (and English). The implementation of simultaneous Chinese and English searching on the Hong Kong Legal Information Institute (HKLII) will be demonstrated. Development work in relation to other languages such as Korean, Thai and Vietnamese, will be discussed and demonstrated. Future research issues, and possible implementations, will be outlined.

Biographical Note

Philip Chung holds degrees in Economics and Law from the University of Sydney, with honours in Computer Science and Operations Research. He joined the Australasian Legal Information Institute (AustLII) initially in 1996 and has been its Executive Director since 1998. Philip manages the staff and resources of AustLII and jointly oversees the technical development of AustLII's projects and system administration.

In addition to his responsibilities as Executive Director, Philip manages AustLII's primary legal materials, and has developed most of the facilities to automate the receipt and processing of cases and other materials. He is experienced in large scale legal publishing on the Internet, computer legal applications and automated text processing. From 1998-2012, Philip was a Lecturer at UTS, and for some years taught and coordinated the subject Legal Research there. In 2012 he took up a position as Senior Lecturer at UNSW. His research interests include legal research skills, legal information systems, artificial intelligence (expert systems) and computerisation of law.

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