In November 2020 we launched a new peer reviewed international journal on the cusp of law and computer science – the Journal of Cross-disciplinary Research in Computational Law (CRCL; pronounced ‘circle’). Though the project application did not involve the set-up of a scientific journal, we found that initiating one would be the best way to ensure the continuity of the project’s research objectives. We firmly believe that robust legal technologies that are resilient and reliable, fair and responsible can only be guaranteed by a sustained and in-depth dialogue between law and computer science, with salient insights from the humanities (notably philosophy of law and philosophy of technology) to encourage critical reflection. We also believe that the introduction of legal technologies should not be taken for granted by way of technological or economic determinism, but instead requires keen attention to when such technologies may do more harm than good.
This means being open to:
- the question of whether such technologies may be integrated into legal practice and legal research, and
- the question of how this should be done (which constraints should inform the development, the deployment and use of these technologies), including
- the crucial question of how their automated decisions can be appealed.
The Journal of Cross-disciplinary Research in Computational Law is not an internal affair of the project, but an ambitious undertaking with leading thinkers at the global level in the domain of both ‘law and AI’ and ‘responsible AI’ as editors-in-chief and a star line-up of researchers in law, computer science and the humanities. We are interested in unearthing the assumptions that underly AI applications in law. The goal is, however, to enable an internal critique on the development and deployment of such technologies, to better inform eventual external critiques. The journal basically aims to make sure that scepticism, critiques and attempts to ‘fix’ issues of fairness or due process are properly informed by what computing systems can and cannot do.
The Editorial Board includes Kevin Ashley, Lyria Bennett Moses, Danielle Bourcier, Roger Brownsword, Federico Cabitza, Carlos Castillo, Jennifer Cobbe, Simon Deakin, Michèle Finck, Wolfgang Hoffmann-Riem, Zachary Chase Lipton, Christopher Markou, Dagmar Monett Diaz, Marion Oswald, Burkhard Schafer, Geneviève Vanderstichele, Michael Veale, Salome Viljoen, Arjen de Vries and Karen Yeung.
The cross-disciplinary approach adopted by the Journal entails that all accepted papers that have passed double-blind peer review will be complemented by a reply written by a scholar or scientist of another discipline, which is then followed by a brief response from the original author. This aims at developing a genuine cross-disciplinary dialogue, and a long-term and in-depth understanding and engagement across disciplinary boundaries.
As founders, Mireille Hildebrandt and Laurence Diver opted for Platinum Open Access to ensure the widest possible dissemination of the content without paywalls for either authors or readers. The articles are published under the Creative Commons BY-NC license.
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