Research Outcome:

A New Legal Hermeneutics

The outcome of 5 years of in-depth research into (1) the assumptions of law and computer science, (2) the consequences of a transition towards computational law, and (3) the development of novel conceptual tools to bring computational law under the Rule of Law, should result in a better-informed understanding of: 

  1. how computational law can be used to augment rather than replace human legal intelligence

  2. if, when and how computational law could nevertheless be used to replace human search, analysis, and decision-making in a legal context without jeopardizing the central tenets of the Rule of Law;

  3. how the underlying techniques and technologies can be made testable and contestable to support their fair, transparent and accountable employment of computational law; and, finally 

  4. how the collaboration between lawyers and computer scientists can contribute to an emerging legal framework that affords equal respect and concern, making sure that each person counts as a human being in law, notably protecting what is not countable.

This understanding will be achieved by developing a new hermeneutics for law in the era of artificial legal intelligence and smart regulation and smart contracting. This hermeneutics will build on the assessment of assumptions and implications of data-driven and code-driven law, exploring and constructing a conceptual framework that enables us to safeguard the multiplicity of interpretations afforded by text-driven law in the context of computational law. Detecting how, under what conditions and based on what assumptions the output of computational law can be interpreted in different ways, this research will thus reintroduce contestation into the heart of legal practices that employ computational law. For this reason, the project envisages close collaboration of legal scholars with computer scientists.

COHUBICOL is funded from 2019-2024 by the European Research Council (ERC)

under the HORIZON2020 Excellence of Science program 

ERC-2017-ADG No 788734

Law Science Technology & Society studies (LSTS), Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Institute of Computing & Information Sciences (iCIS), Radboud University Nijmegen

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