5. Digitalisation

Digital technologies, justice, and regulation

This research stream examines how digital technologies are affecting legal practices around the world, for example through legal chat bots, smart contracts, and the use of online mediation. It also studies how the law can be used to tackle issues and problems caused by digital technologies, such as abuses of private data, breaches of cybersecurity, and social media manipulation. It asks, moreover, how digital technologies can be used to study legal issues and promote access to law and justice, for example through big data analysis and the development of online legal platforms.

Research on the effect of digital technologies on the law studies, for example, the impact of data-driven business models and the data economy on matters of ethics, privacy, intellectual property, taxation, accountability, transparency, and competition law. It also investigates the relationship between digitalisation and the protection of fundamental rights.

Research on how law can address societal issues arising out of digitalisation, can be illustrated by the question whether it is possible to embed compliance with legal standards in the design of digital technologies or how the law can stimulate the adoption of beneficial digital technologies and curtail their negative impacts. Finally, digital technologies can enhance our understanding of law and access to law. Data science can reveal insights that are beyond the capability of qualitative analysis. Big data, for example, can tell us about landmark cases and their changing influence over time. It can, moreover, help us identify factors that influence the duration and cost of legal procedures.