Faculty of law blogs / UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD

Personalized Law—Law by Algorithm



This post introduces a special series of posts based on contributions to a conference of the OBLB on ‘Personalized Law—Law by Algorithm’ that takes place in Oxford on 16 June 2022.

Technological developments such as digitization, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Blockchain are fundamentally changing law-making, legal practice and legal scholarship. This is the background for two books released in 2021: ‘Personalized Law’ (OUP) by Omri Ben-Shahar and Ariel Porat, and ‘Law by Algorithm’ (Mohr Siebeck) by Horst Eidenmüller and Gerhard Wagner. While a growing body of literature asks how the law should regulate commercial algorithms—prominent among it is the recent book ‘How Big-Tech Barons Smash Innovation’ (HarperBus) by Ariel Ezrachi and Maurice Stucke—‘Personalized Law’ and ‘Law by Algorithm’ reverse the inquiry, asking whether algorithms can improve the law.

Against this backdrop, the Academic Editors of the Oxford Business Law Blog have selected ‘Personalized Law—Law by Algorithm’ as the theme of its 2022 annual conference. The conference takes place on 16 June 2022 at St Hugh’s College, University of Oxford (you can register here).

The conference is organized around two panel discussions. The first panel on ‘Personalized Law’ explores the potential and challenges of ‘Different Rules for Different People’. It posits that ‘Personalized Law’ is a precision tool which has the potential to accomplish the underlying goals of any law more effectively. The second panel on ‘Law by Algorithm’ seeks to understand the implications of the technological revolution for private transactions, private law and dispute resolution. A recurring theme of the book is that ‘Law by Algorithm’ helps to massively increase the welfare in our societies and, at the same time, creates the significant risk that this increased welfare benefits only a few of its members.

The conference will explore historical, constitutional, philosophical and jurisprudential issues of ‘Personalized Law’ and ‘Law by Algorithm’. What is new about ‘Personalized Law’? Is it constitutionally and philosophically defensible to replace the fundamental principle of egality under the law with ‘Different Laws for Different People’? What can private law do to discipline BigTech and make ‘Law by Algorithm’ work for the many and not just the few?

Conference participants have been asked to present their ideas on a topic relating to one of the roundtable themes and, following the conference, to submit a blog post for a special series of the Oxford Business Law Blog on ‘Personalized Law—Law by Algorithm’. The posts will we published on the OBLB in the coming weeks.

Horst Eidenmüller, on behalf of the Academic and Associate Editors of the Oxford Business Law Blog.

OBLB series are available here.


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