In the European Commission as in Germany, there are many thousands of jurists drafting laws and ordinances with the objective of getting them published without delay and free of errors in content or form.
From Europe to Germany – in use for over 20 years
With Eurolook in 1994, DIaLOGIKa had already launched an add-on to MS Word for the European Commission to create letters, reports, contracts, speeches, and more, in all EU languages, and it is still being used today. Building on that, DIaLOGIKa began developing the LegisWrite system in 1996 for the European Commission to create legislative documents with MS Word. LegisWrite was then introduced to many thousands of desktops at the EU Commission and later at the Council of the European Union as well, where it’s been making the drafting of European laws easier ever since.
What was needed was a software solution with which jurists – initially within the EU in the various EU languages, later for German lawmakers as well – could draft legal texts easily and correctly, and exchange them.
Following an intensive analysis phase, DIaLOGIKa developed a high-performance add-in for MS Word, which has been in use in the European Commission since 1996 under the name LegisWrite, and in Germany since 2005 under the name eNorm, a version with significant extensions.
LegisWrite and eNorm support users with document templates and style definitions as well as special functionalities when they create and review complex legislative texts in legal form.
In Focus: eNorm for federal and state government
Legislative drafters are those jurists who are charged exclusively or predominantly with the task of composing the language of laws and regulations. This is precisely the user group that eNorm, as an MS Word add-on, supports in their work. In the background, this DIaLOGIKa tool ensures that no formal errors can be introduced. It applies recommendations from the Handbuch der Rechtsförmlichkeit, a reference manual for the form and composition of laws and ordinances. Automatic checking of document structure and quality completes the toolbox of functions performed by eNorm. For help with citations and references, it is linked to the central law database at juris GmbH. The evolution of a draft as it moves through various committees can be compared in tabular form (synopsis) and thus effectively tracked.
Downstream Processing without Media Breaks – eNorm(ously) simple
A positive side effect: the created texts satisfy a strictly predefined document structure (document type definition - DTD) and can thus be further processed without media breaks. This means that entering them into databases is just as simple as processing them for use in typesetting or photosetting systems, or automatic publication in the internet or the government gazette.
Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection – project leadership in expert hands
At the federal level, the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection (BMJV) is responsible for matters of legal form in the legislative process and for the promulgation of laws. The logical consequence: this was the department that took over, with the approval of the Bundestag, project coordination for eNorm on the part of the federal government. So the various ministries can only communicate through one eNorm coordinator – which is enormously helpful for both day-to-day engagement and the continuing development of the system.
“During many years of close, trusted cooperation, we were successful in creating the foundation for a fully integrated promulgation process free of media breaks, and normed documents. Throughout the entire project life cycle,the DIaLOGIKa team scored points with a lot of constructive ideas for the complex tasks that we were dealing with.“
Bundestag and federal states - eNorm reloaded
For the specific needs Germany’s parliament, the Bundestag – especially for its committees, its factions, and its administrative departments - DIaLOGIKa developed a specialized version of eNorm, so that in addition to the basic version, document types specific to the Bundestag, such as proposals, inquiries, and recommendations for resolutions, can be processed.
The federal states of Brandenburg, Saarland, Saxony, and Saxony-Anhalt each use a slightly adapted version of their own eNorm. It not only makes the drafting of federal state legislation easier, but also the creation of administrative regulations and treaties.
Clever IT with round-the-clock service – eNorm(ously) constant
DIaLOGIKa implemented eNorm and LegisWrite from analysis to development, quality control, documentation, installation support and training with a constant in-house team, and has been continuing the development of these solutions for decades. Moreover, DIaLOGIKa provides a help desk hotline to accompany users – even at odd work hours. So the answers to practical questions can flow directly into the new versions and thus benefit their users.
“With eNorm und LegisWrite, DIaLOGIKa proves that inventive development work further develops MS Word into a word processing system that supports its users like an XML editor does when creating structured texts.“