XML standard for the markup of legal sources
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Open Standard

The MetaLex standard is an open standard, which means that although the intellectual property rights remain with the authors, the source can be distributed freely. The use of the standard, including the XML schema, DTD, and OWL schema, is free of legal restrictions. The MetaLex toolkit available for download on this website is covered by the Lesser General Public License. This license places copyright restrictions on the toolkit itself but does not apply these restrictions to other software that merely links with data or code in the toolkit.

About the MetaLex website

On this site you can find:

  • The MetaLex distribution zip file;
  • Examples of various uses of MetaLex encoded files.
  • Guidelines on the use of MetaLex XML;
  • The Reference Guide for the MetaLex Schema files;
  • Information about language support;
  • Publications about MetaLex, and closely related subjects like legal content management, by the Leibniz Center for Law;


The MetaLex standard has the following features:

  • Multiple Languages
    The same content written down in one MetaLex document using multiple languages; Jurisdiction(/locale)-specific languages for MetaLex XML-tags.
  • Version Management and Maintenance
    MetaLex uses a comprehensive way to determine the validity and activity of a part of legal text, using four attributes (date-enacted, date-repealed, date-publication, date-effective). This supports automatic generation of current and past versions of a legal text.
  • Extensibility
    MetaLex supports mixing with other XML-based standards such as XHTML. MetaLex is ready for embedding in techniques for knowledge representation, code generation, rule generation and verification and validation techniques.
  • Exchange
    MetaLex is a comprehensive format for exchange between different parties.
  • Presentation
    MetaLex documents can be easily converted into different presentation formats, such as XHTML, PDF, RTF etc.
  • Search and Filtering
    MetaLex facilitates search and filtering on legal documents.
  • Overview
    MetaLex captures the relations between different (bodies of) legal sources. This gives insight into the structure of the law.


The MetaLex standard consists of the following components:

  • The Manual
    The MetaLex guidelines for encoding.
  • The Schemas
    Standard schemas and schemas for Dutch legislation in the downloads section.
  • The Stylesheets
    Stylesheets for transforming MetaLex documents to RDF, XSL:FO and (X)HTML and from Standard to Dutch, and stylesheets for transforming SDU BWB documents to MetaLex in the downloads section.
  • The Tools
    Commandline tools, and the separately available Styler
  • The Examples
    Examples of the use of MetaLex documents in the examples section.


MetaLex was developed in a cooperation between the following partners of the E-POWER consortium.