Actors involved/facilitators: Peppercorn, Stephane Cottin, The University of Cardiff, 273 users!


At Peppercorn, a place for making your contracts online, we wanted to understand how to categorize contracts on the web page. We wanted to make them accessible from non lawyers: they usually don’t know traditional legal categories (i.e. IP contracts, commercial contracts etc.). We wanted also to make them accessible from users speaking different languages and belonging to different legal systems: we thought that Continentals could use different categories than Brits.


In May and June 2013, with the informal help of the Legal taxonomist Stephane Cottin, we run a Card Sorting. We collected answers from lawyers and non lawyers, belonging to French, Italian and English speaking groups. We asked people to sort contracts in categories and label each category as they liked.


We collected 273 replies and noticed that non lawyers tend to categorize things differently from lawyers – who have been trained with precise legal categories – and that Civil and Common lawyers use different legal categories.

A full report of the results, with datasets, is here and have been also published in the framework of Fuzzy Law, a Cardiff University project.