Decisia for the Arkansas Courts

The Arkansas Judiciary adopted Decisia by Lexum for the online publishing of the opinions of its higher courts, namely the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals. In total this is 75,000 official and unofficial opinions that are made available on the Arkansas Judiciary website using Decisia, including Court of Appeal Opinions rendered since 1981 and Supreme Court opinions rendered since 1837.

The Challenge

The legacy opinions website of the Arkansas judiciary was built on a generic COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) software that was not designed specifically for legal research. Its interface was very technical, to the point that both website users and internal staff found it difficult to build the queries they needed to locate significant opinions. The navigation and general look-and-feel of the solution also reminded more of an early PC era application than what is expected from modern web-based solutions.

The Solution

Decisia was selected by the Arkansas judiciary for its intuitive search interface that both eases and speeds advanced legal research. Decisia drastically improves the usability of the Arkansas Judiciary opinions database by providing a uniform user interface designed specifically for legal research and including features such as full text search, search filters, stemming, highlighting of hits, auto-completion, auto-correction, and much more. Moreover, decisions that were previously only available in PDF, are now available in the HTML format as well.

From the point of view of the judicial administration, Decisia also offers a flexible structure capable of adapting to the available metadata sets of each type of document.  Finally, Decisia’s auto-fill feature (automatically extracting metadata values from the body of opinions) greatly accelerates the publishing of new documents, thus facilitating the updating of the database by the clerks.