Traditional Scientific Output

The five most significant achievements of the project are the founding of the CRCL Journal and the CRCL Conference, the launch of the Typology of Legal Technologies and the Research Studies on Text-Driven and Computational Law. They are the result of productive collaborative research, and they all offer not merely interesting ideas or theories but an innovative format or even a new type of scientific output.  As they have already been extensively discussed under Goals and Objectives and Novel Methodologies: the Cross-Disciplinary Approach and will return under Breakthrough Achievements Advancing the Domains of Law and Computer Science, the PI will, instead, present the most significant ‘traditional’ output of the COHUBCIOL Team (books, chapters and articles):

1. 2024 Emilie Van den Hoven, “The Computational Turn in Customary International Law”. In International Law and Technological Change: Testing the Adaptability of International Law, edited by E Fromageau and I Couzigou,  Edward Elgar Press, forthcoming

International law challenges many of the assumptions that this project makes regarding the nature of modern positive law, because international law has a different type of jurisdiction (there is no world legislature) and lacks the monopoly of violence that is bound up with the positiveness of modern law. At the same time, customary law underlines the hermeneutic and pragmatic nature of the establishment of positive law. This article describes how international customary law is embedded in geopolitical power play as well as bound by the tenets of legal obligation; it explains the lure of computational solutions to the hard problems of international customary law, thus providing a major well-researched contribution to the challenges of the COHUBICOL project. 

2. 2023, Masha Medvedeva, Pauline McBride, Legal Judgment Prediction: If You Are Going to Do It, Do It Right’ in Proceedings of the Natural Legal Language Processing Workshop 2023, p. 73–84, Singapore. Association for Computational Linguistics.

This paper – concerning data-driven ‘law’ won the Best Presentation Award at the 2023 natural legal language processing (NLLP) Workshop. It is a prime example of the cross-disciplinary collaboration that COHUBICOL stands for, with postdoctoral computer scientists Masha Medvedeva co-authoring  with postdoctoral legal scholar Pauline McBride. The paper considers how legal judgment prediction systems should be designed and evaluated to take account, inter alia, of the impact on the ecosystem of law. It thus introduces the pivotal importance of foreseeing and assessing real world impact of data-driven legal technologies, when designing for real world deployment. 

3. 2023 Paulus Meessen, On Normative Arrows and Comparing Tax Automation Systems. In Proceedings of the Nineteenth International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Law, 432–36. ICAIL ’23. New York, NY, USA: Association for Computing Machinery.

In this paper – concerning code-driven law -, computer scientist Paulus Meessen identifies the upstream design decisions that inform the final real world consequences of downstream deployment of different tax automation systems, based on domain specific programming languages and requirements engineering. These design decisions are usually considered ‘technical’ and therefor of no interest to lawyers, who may actually be happy to defer to software developers. The paper demonstrates why and how computer scientists as well as lawyers should identify design decisions that make a difference and learn how to prevent e.g. erosion of the Rule of Law. 

4. 2023 Mireille Hildebrandt, Ground-Truthing in the European Health Data Space (in Proceedings of the 16th International Joint Conference on Biomedical Engineering Systems and TechnologiesScitepress)

This paper, based on a Keynote given at the 16th International Joint Conference on Biomedical Engineering Systems and Technologies, is not about legal technologies but visits another scientific and professional domain that is highly impacted by the use of machine learning. By demonstrating the active nature of identifying and/or constructing the computational ground truth as a proxy for a real-world state of affairs or goal to be achieved, the paper highlights the key role played by computational proxies, already discussed in another paper (the 2022 publication in Frontiers of Artificial Intelligence on ‘The Issue of Proxies and Choice Architectures. Why EU Law Matters for Recommender Systems). The paper marks out the consequences of forgetting that the ground truth is always a proxy and an approximation, requiring keen attention to real-world testing. Similar issues play out when deciding on ground truth when developing predictive AI in the realm of law; mistaking a dataset of legal text corpora for the life of the law will stifle legal innovation instead of enabling it, because machine learning can only ‘learn’ from historical data – it cannot train on future data. 

5. 2022 Laurence Diver, Digisprudence: Code as Law Rebooted, Edinburgh University Press

This monograph is a revised version of Diver’s PhD thesis, reworked based on insights gained during the first years of the project. It thus aligns with the project’s conceptual framework vis-à-vis the affordances that the Rule of Law relies on and develops a framework for a design practice that can be legitimated according to the standards of the Rule of Law. Next to Laurence Diver’s contributions to the rethinking of scientific research output, demonstrated in his design of COHUBICOL output, developed in close collaboration with the PI (see under 1.2 point 5), Diver has contributed in several major ways to the core architecture of the project’s theoretical development. This book should be on the desk of legal theory scholars working on the Rule of Law or ‘law and technology’, and in the toolkit of developers of legal technologies (whether they are practising lawyers or technical folk).