WiDS Maastricht Conference 2023

Prof. Dr. Mireille Hildebrandt - A typology of legal technologies: The challenge of legal protection by design

Mireille Hildebrandt is a research professor on interfacing law and technology at Vrije Universiteit Brussels, and a part time chair at the CS department at Radboud in Nijmegen as a full professor. ​Her research is on the implications of automated decisions, machine learning and mindless artificial agency for law and the rule of law in constitutional democracies. She has published 5 scientific monographs, and over 100 chapters and articles in scientific journals and volumes.



Natural Language Processing has discovered the trove of legal text corpora that are now being transformed into ‘law as data’. A wide variety of legal technologies is being developed purportedly to make the administration of justice and the practice of law more efficient and more effective. In this talk I will discuss the gap between the claims made on behalf of these technologies and the substantiation of such claims, while fleshing out how upstream design decisions may impact downstream deployment and its impact on law and the rule of law. The talk will refer to the web tool that was developed by a team of lawyers and computer scientists as a method, a mindset and a resource to help lawyers and developers to better understand what is at stake. This should allow lawyers and developers to develop a ‘by design’ approach to legal protection, thus warding off attempts to replace the force of law with the force of technology.

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