What is Accord Project?
Accord Project is an open source, non-profit, initiative working to transform contract management and contract automation by digitizing contracts.
The Accord Project provides an open, industry-driven, specification and implementation for smart legal contracts. Participants include some of the leading law firms and blockchain technology organizations in the world.
For more information about the Accord Project as a whole (how to join, upcoming meetings, latest news, open source process, etc) please visit the main Accord Project Web Site.
What is an Accord Project Template?
An Accord Project template is composed of three elements:
- Natural Language, the grammar for the legal text of the template
- Model, the data model that backs the template
- Logic, the executable business logic for the template
When combined these three elements allow templates to be edited, analyzed, queried and executed.
The Accord Project provides a complete solution for smart legal contract development. The main project for the Accord Project technology is called Cicero.
Cicero implements a format for legal contract and clause templates based on the Accord Project Template Specification.
The following screenshot shows a Cicero template for an acceptance of delivery clause.
Cicero relies on two other projects:
- Concerto: a lightweight, versatile data modeling language (maintained by the Hyperledger forum)
- Ergo: a domain specific language to express the executable logic of legal templates
Concerto is a lightweight modeling language which is used to describe the information used in Accord Project templates.
The following screenshot shows the model for the acceptance of delivery clause.
The Concerto Modeling Language (CML) provides object-oriented style modeling and includes support for inheritance, for describing relationships, nested or optional data structures, enumerations and more.
Ergo is a domain-specific language (DSL) developed by the Accord Project for capturing legal contract logic.
A DSL is a computer language that is targeted to a particular kind of problem, rather than a general-purpose language that is aimed at any kind of software problem. For example, HTML is a DSL targeted at developing web pages. Similarly, Ergo is a DSL meant to capture the execution logic of legal contracts.
The following screenshot shows the Ergo logic for the acceptance of delivery clause.
It is important that a developer and a lawyer can together agree that clauses in a computable legal contract have the same semantics as the equivalent computer code. For that reason, Ergo is intended to be accessible to Lawyers who create the corresponding prose for those computable legal contracts. As a programming language, the Ergo syntax also adheres to programming conventions.
Beyond a core technology for executable legal templates, Accord Project is building a rich ecosystem which includes community-contributed content based on that technology:
- Model Repository : a repository of open source Concerto data models for use in templates
- Template Library : a library of open source Clause and Contract templates for various legal domains (supply-chain, loans, intellectual property, etc.)
Several tools are also available to facilitate authoring of Accord Project templates:
- Template Studio: a Web-based editor for Accord Project templates
- VSCode Plugin: an Accord Project extension to the popular Visual Studio Code
Open Source Community
The Accord Project technology is being developed as open source. All the software packages are being actively maintained on GitHub and we encourage organizations and individuals to contribute requirements, documentation, issues, new templates, and code.
Join the Accord Project Technology Working Group Slack channel to get involved!
Try Accord Project Online
The simplest way to get an introduction to the Accord Project technology is through the online Template Studio editor (you can open template studio from anywhere in this documentation by clicking the Try Online! button located in the top-right of the page).
The following video offers a tour of Template Studio and an introduction to the key concepts behind the Accord Project technology.
If you want to experience the full power of Accord Project, you should install the Cicero command-line tools on your own machine.