Modeling Regulatory Ambiguities for Requirements Analysis

  • Aaron K. MasseyEmail author
  • Eric Holtgrefe
  • Sepideh Ghanavati
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10650)


Lawyers and policy makers regularly and intentionally use ambiguous language in laws, regulations, and other legal texts. Although ambiguity has important policy benefits, such as interpretive resilience in an ever-changing world, it frustrates engineers and businesses seeking to build software systems that are demonstratively compliant with legal obligations. In this vision paper, we propose a method for modeling legal texts alongside models of software requirements or design artifacts. Our approach allows engineers to reason about regulatory ambiguity separately from their system under development and then trace interpretive decisions made about the legal text to affected requirements models. When a regulation is updated or case law demands a new interpretation of a regulation, engineers can evaluate the effect of the changes on the current design and respond appropriately. Inspired by User Requirements Notation, our proposed method can be implemented as an extension to Legal-GRL.


Requirements engineering Ambiguity modeling Regulatory compliance 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aaron K. Massey
    • 1
    Email author
  • Eric Holtgrefe
    • 1
  • Sepideh Ghanavati
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Information SystemsUniversity of Maryland, Baltimore CountyBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Department of Computer ScienceTexas Tech UniversityLubbockUSA

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