ELIS is helping the Belgian Senate with the new SenLex database

(12-12-2018) IDLab, research group of ELIS, is responsible by the Belgian Senate for determining the functional requirements, the design and the technical implementation of the SenLex online environment, both front-end and back-end.

The SenLex database collects official information about the Belgian institutional regulations. In this database, you can find for each article of the most important institutional standards, the relevant excerpts from the parliamentary documents, the case law of the Constitutional Court and the opinions of the Council of State.


IDLab is responsible by the Belgian Senate for determining the functional requirements, the design and the technical implementation of the online environment, both front-end and back-end. The created online environment consists of two parts.

  • The first part is a public search engine that allows users to browse the published legal texts and search through keywords and general search terms. Special attention was given to ease of use during searching (in collaboration with iStoire), and a smooth and fast operation of the search engine via optimized indexing systems (in collaboration with RedTree).
  • The second part is the visual author's environment, which is privately accessible to Senate employees. This authoring environment allows to insert and edit the legal texts, keywords and annotations, and contains version management in both the time and language dimension: every article within a legal text can contain different versions, with each version containing translations to the different national languages. The (sometimes complex) connections and content of each version are managed through the authoring environment, and published changes are automatically integrated into the public search engine.

The combination of these two parts creates an online environment that allows the Senate to keep the online legal texts up-to-date, add additional annotations, and make them easily searchable for specialized lawyers and the general public.