Thursday, April 21, 2011

Document error : How to fix it...

In most walks of life, mistakes in electronic documents get fixed when found. The fix generally involves just editing the original. No big deal.

However, this is not always the right thing to do. Legal documents for example are best thought of in book keeping terms. If a bookkeeper finds an error in a ledger he or she does not simply edit it. Rather, a new debit/credit is recorded to counter-balance the error but leave the integrity of the records intact.

Here is a good example from the US National Archives. "Fixing" an original - however broken, is a no no. Fixing a variant - with audit trail back to the original. Thats a different matter.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Law as source code versus Law is source code

There is no doubt in my mind that some parts of the legal corpus can benefit from a rigorous expression language, be that Python in the case of executable SEC regulations or C# for crisply defining predicate functions.

Things get interesting once one adopts a formal expression syntax for law because even if you are just in the business of "writing it down" in VDM or Z Notation or PNML somebody, somewhere is going to write an interpreter/compiler for it:-)

Speaking of Gall...

Remember The Web Services Stack. Yup. Galls Law again. I have no doubt that over time, REST will accrete some unfortunate complexity but it *started* simple and this appears to be a necessary first step in many fields of endeavor.

You cannot install complexity

You cannot install complexity. How true. Behind any complexity that *works*, there used to be a simplicity that worked : Gall's Law.