The University of Southampton

Legal & Property Language Processing (LPLP)

Intelligent Systems and Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning
Innovate UK (104875)

This project's vision is to develop cutting-edge AI techniques to extract and analyse legal rights and obligations related to property and land. Orbital Witness, the project lead, will use this information to support the creation of "Legal Risk Scores" (similar to credit risk scores) for all property and land. This will revolutionise real estate practice in the legal and insurance sectors, through massively increasing transparency in understanding legal issues affecting property, drastically speeding up the time in which lawyers can spot these legal risks, and improving the standardisation of real estate risk assessments to allow for insurance policies to be issued in a more simple manner.

Our starting point is to analyse the most important legal documents related to real estate, those held by the Land Registry. In directly partnering with HM Land Registry as a contributor, this project will benefit from access to registration and conveyancing experts, as well as knowledge of how the Land Registry data is structured. Off-the-shelf information extraction systems will not cope well with the tortuous sentence structure and specialist legal language contained in these documents, and so specialist techniques will need to be developed. Along with the creation of legal risk models through weighting the different rights and obligations extracted, this forms the basis of this project's technical innovation.

Project objectives include the development of Natural Language Processing (NLP - a subfield of AI) algorithms to extract legal rights and obligations from Land Registry documents (led by expert NLP researchers at the University of Southampton), the development of machine learning based legal risk models for property and land, and the development of a commercial strategy to exploit the project outputs in the legal, insurance, and wider real estate industries.

This project has a commercial focus specific to the legal and insurance markets, and is supported by Mishcon de Reya, a leading London law firm, and Lockton Companies, the largest privately held insurance broker in the world. These corporates who will provide specialist input on best commercialising the project outputs in the legal and insurance industries respectively, and be on-hand to advise the project to ensure maximum impact of its outputs.

Project partners
* Orbital Witness (project lead)
* HM Land Registry

* Innovate UK

Primary investigator

Secondary investigator

  • Mike Surridge


  • Orbital Witness
  • HM Land Registry

Associated research group

  • IT Innovation Centre
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