Departmental Papers (CIS)

Date of this Version


Document Type

Journal Article


Formal languages for policy have been developed for access control and conformance checking. In this paper, we describe a formalism that combines features that have been developed for each application. From access control, we adopt the use of a saying operator. From conformance checking, we adopt the use of operators for obligation and permission. The operators are combined using an axiom that permits a principal to speak on behalf of another. The combination yields benefits to both applications. For access control, we overcome the problematic interaction between hand-off and classical reasoning. For conformance, we obtain a characterization of legal power by nesting saying with obligation and permission.

The axioms result in a decidable logic. We integrate the axioms into a logic programming approach, which lets us use quantification in policies while preserving decidability of access control decisions. Conformance checking, in the presence of nested obligations and permissions, is shown to be decidable. Non-interference is characterized using reachability via permitted statements.

Subject Area

CPS Formal Methods

Publication Title

Journal of Logic and Algebraic Programming





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Permission Statement

NOTICE: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in the Journal of Logic and Algebraic Programming. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms, may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in the Journal of Logic and Algebraic Programming, Volume 80, Issue 1, January 2011, DOI: 10.1016/j.jlap.2009.12.002


Access control; Conformance; Modal logic; Deontic logic



Date Posted: 01 February 2011

This document has been peer reviewed.