Law & Technology at CUHK LAW

Technology has developed at a breathtaking speed over the past ten years. As a result also legal work has changed dramatically. Machines now do much work that was previously done by human lawyers. Examples are smart contracts, e-discovery, e-due diligence, legal forensics and cyber investigations as well as online dispute settlement. Technology will become even more dominating in the future. Legal education, legal research and legal practice must recognize the involved changes and act accordingly.

Acknowledging the importance of technology for substantive law and legal skills CUHK LAW is offering courses to ensure that our students are on top of the latest Law & Tech developments. Furthermore, many CUHK LAW colleagues are conducting cutting-edge research in different Law & Tech areas.

Find out from our professors, students and alumni how technology is changing the legal world and what this means for legal education and skills training, research as well as practical work.

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Law & Technology Research and Teaching
Law & Technology will continue to be one of the dominating legal themes in the future. CUHK LAW is consequently giving significant attention to this area and undertaking research projects and teaching initiatives to address its varied facets.

Law & Technology research at CUHK LAW is led by the Centre for Legal Innovation and Digital Society (CLINDS) under the Executive Directorship of Professor Jyh-An Lee. Currently, the focus of CLINDS’ work is on FinTech, RegTech and LawTech.

CLINDS is on a regular basis organizing Law & Tech related seminars and conferences which are attended by academic and practice leaders in the field from around the world. “The success of the seminars and the conferences mirrors the global recognition of the importance of Law & Technology as core to both economic and legal development. Digital transformation is revolutionizing every industry, and its impact on the financial and legal services are well-known examples. We are very pleased to, and will continue to, provide an extraordinary platform to present CUHK LAW’s strength in Law & Technology and engage leading experts to deliberate the interactions between law, technologies and human behaviours”, Professor Lee adds.

CLINDS’s research initiative has produced numerous publications, including Huang, Online P2P Lending and Regulatory Responses in China: Opportunities and Challenges, 19 European Business Organization Law Review (2018), 63;  Huang, Deng and Chan, The Legal Nature of Cryptocurrency as Property: Accounting and Taxation Implications (2023) 51 Computer Law & Security Review; Chao Xi, Related Party Transactions and the Majority-of-the-Minority Rule: Data-Driven Evidence from China and Implications for Europe (2023) 4 Journal of Business Law 309; Mik, Much ado about artificial intelligence or: the automation of contract formation (2023) 30(4) International Journal of Law and Information Technology 484; Ngoc and Lee, Comparative Cybersecurity Law in Socialist Asia (2022) 55 (3) Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law 631; Mercurio and Yu, Regulating Cross-Border Data Flows: Issues, Challenges and Impact, Anthem Press, 2022; Wolff, The AI-Based Legal Paradise: A (Necessary!) Thought Experiment, 6 Journal of Law and Technology at Texas (2022-23) 168; Gallagher, Digital Technology and Law (Curia Books, 2023); Lee, Algorithmic Bias and the New Chicago School, 14 Law, Innovation & Technology (2022), 95.

More updated works of CUHK LAW colleagues relevant to Law & Technology are available on CLINDS webpage.

Other recent research at CUHK LAW related to Law & Technology:

In 2017 CUHK LAW, with partner institutions at the University of Cologne, Germany, and Jilin University, PRC, have embarked on a collaborative research project exploring the cutting-edge topic “Big Data and Courts in China”. Participated by leading academics and practitioners from various jurisdictions, the project seeks to offer fresh insights by adopting empirical, comparative and interdisciplinary methods. CUHK LAW Professor Chao Xi has co-edited a special issue of The China Review, a leading peer-reviewed journal in the area of China studies, titled Data-Driven Approaches to Studying Chinese Judicial Practice. Professor Lutz-Christian Wolff’s article, Artificial Intelligence ante portas: The End of Comparative Law?, the substance of which had first been presented at the co-organized conference at the University of Cologne on 12 July 2019 was published by the Chinese Journal of Comparative Law (OUP) in February 2020. Three international conferences of this collaborative research project have been hosted in the cities of Hong Kong, Changchun, and Cologne in 2017, 2018 and 2019, respectively. The next conference will be held in winter 2020 at CUHK LAW.

Professor Stuart Hargreaves’ work focuses amongst other things on the impact of new technology on and the interaction with data privacy. His publications include Who Decides What is “Personal Data” Utilizing the Access Principle with Telecommunications and Internet Providers in Hong Kong (with L. Tsui), 13 International Journal of Communication (2019), 1684; IP Addresses as Personal Data Under Hong Kong’s Privacy Law: An Introduction to the Access My Info HK Project (with L. Tsui), 25(2) Journal of Law, Information, & Science (2017); Data Protection Regimes, in Anglim (ed.), Privacy Rights in the Digital Age, (New York: Grey House Publishing, Inc., 2016).

Professor Normann Witzleb’s research also focuses on privacy and data protection law. Some of his recent publications include Private Enforcement of Data Rights Through Direct Rights of Action: A Comparative Review in D Clifford, KH Lau, JM Paterson (eds), Data and Private Law (Hart, 2023) 227-245; The Case for Negligence as the Mental Element of an Australian Statutory Privacy Tort (2023) 29 Tort Law Review 3-22; Responding to Global Trends? Privacy Law Reform in Australia in: M Hennemann et al (eds), Data Disclosure: Global Developments and Perspectives  (De Gruyter, 2023) 147-168; The Influence of the GDPR on Protection of Young People’s Privacy: New developments in China, California and Australia (2023) 9 European Data Protection Law Review 239-250 (with S Hünting); “Trust” and “Self-Accountability” in the Protection of Privacy: Responding to the Rise of International Data Protection Standards in Muslim Countries (with R Karim) in: A Trakic (ed),Shari’ah and Common Law: The Challenge of Harmonisation (De Gruyter, 2022) 129-150; Adtech and Children’s Data Rights 44(3) University of New South Wales Law Journal (2021), 857-877 (with L Archbold, D Clifford, M Paterson and M Richardson); Artificial Intelligence and Sensitive Inferences: New Challenges for Data Protection Laws (with D Clifford and M Richardson) in: M Findlay et al (eds), Regulatory Insights on Artificial Intelligence: Research for Policy (Edward Elgar, 2022), 19-45; Micro-targeting in Political Campaigns: Political Promise and Democratic Risk (with M Paterson) in: U Kohl and J Eisler (eds), Data-Driven Personalisation in Markets, Politics and Law (CUP, 2021) 223-239; The Australian COVIDSafe App and Privacy: Lessons for the Future of Australian Privacy Regulation (with M Paterson) in: B Bennett and I Freckelton (eds), Pandemics, Public Health Emergencies and Government Powers: Perspectives on Australian Law (Federation Press, 2021) 165-180; Revitalising Public Law in a Technological Era: Rights, Transparency and Administrative Justice 43(3) University of New South Wales Law Journal (2020), 1041-1077 (with YF Ng, M O’Sullivan and M Paterson); and N Witzleb, M Paterson and J Richardson (eds), Big Data, Political Campaigning and the Law: Privacy and Democracy in the Age of Micro-Targeting (Routledge, 2020).

Other related publications in this area include: U Kohl, The Right to be Forgotten in Data Protection Law and Two Western Cultures of Privacy 73(3) International & Comparative Law Quarterly (2023).

The Legal Implications of the Platform Economy Workshop II co-hosted by CUHK LAW, the University of Hong Kong (HKU) Faculty of Law, and the City University of Hong Kong School of Law was held on 16 September 2019 at CUHK Graduate Law Centre. This workshop was one of the two events on law and the platform economy project funded under the Eurasia-Pacific Uninet (EPU) program in Austria, in which Professor Jyh-An Lee was a co-investigator. Workshop I had been held in Danube-University Krems Austria on 24 June 2019, followed by the Workshop II at CUHK LAW. Distinguished researchers from Asia and Europe joined CUHK LAW Professors Sandra Marco Colino, Stuart Hargreaves, Robin Huang, Jyh-An Lee, and PhD student Ms. Songyin Bo for an exchange of research findings and discussions of recent developments.

On 28-29 November 2019 a conference co-organised by CUHK LAW, the Applied Research Centre for Intellectual Assets and the Law (“ARCIALA”) at the School of Law, Singapore Management University (SMU), and the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition (Munich) was held at SMU School of Law. Under the leadership of Professor Jyh-An Lee the conference brought together a group of legal and technology experts from Asia, Europe, and the United States. Conference participants discussed the latest developments and the newest ideas associated with AI and different categories of IP, i.e. copyright, patents, and trade marks from various perspectives, such as law, economics, computer science, history, and innovation policy.

CUHK LAW has been co-organising the annual Intellectual Property (IP) Conference with the United States-China Intellectual Property Institute (USCIPI) and the Asian Innovation and IP Society (AIIPS) since 2017. Policymakers, business leaders, prominent practitioners, and distinguished academics discuss issues associated with IP and new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, big data, blockchain, 3D printing, biomedical technologies and pharmaceutical inventions. CUHK LAW faculty members have published widely on IP and technology. For example,  Professor Jyh-An Lee  has published on the relationships between IP and a wide variety of new technologies, such as digital platforms, big data, communications technologies, pharmaceutical inventions, etc. His recent publications in this field include Shifting IP Battlegrounds in the U.S.-China Trade War, 43 Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts (2020), 147; Tripartite Perspective on the Copyright-Sharing Economy in China, 35 Computer Law & Security Review  (2019), 434; Licensing Open Government Data, 13 Hastings Business Law Journal (2017), 207; Implementing the FRAND Standard in China, 19 Vanderbilt Journal of Entertainment & Technology Law (2016), 37. Also, Professor Eliza Mik’s book chapter titled AI as a Legal Entity was published in Kung-Chung Liu, Jyh-An Lee, R Hilti (eds), Artificial Intelligence and Intellectual Property (OUP 2021) 419-440.

Internet and communications network governance covers a broad range of issues such as domain name dispute resolution, digital censorship and surveillance, cybersecurity, telecommunications law and policy. CUHK LAW professors Bryan Druzin, Gregory Gordon, Jyh-An Lee, and Sandra Marco Colino have produced impressive output on these topics. Examples are Marco Colino, A History of Competition: The Impact of Antitrust on Hong Kong’s Telecommunications Markets, 29 Fordham Intellectual Property, Media & Entertainment Law Journal (2019), 931; Druzin & Gordon, Authoritarianism and the Internet, 43 Law & Social Inquiry (2018), 1427; Lee, Hacking into China’s Cybersecurity Law, 53 Wake Forest Law Review (2018), 57; Druzin, Censorship’s Fragile Grip on the Internet: Can Online Speech be Controlled?, 49 Cornell International Law Journal (2016),369; Lee & Liu, Real-Name Registration Rules and the Fading Digital Anonymity in China, 25 Washington International Law Journal (2016), 1.

Professor Bryan Mercurio’s research project on cross-border trade in data is funded by the Policy Innovation and Coordination Office’s scheme for Public Policy Research. The project aims to explore whether it is necessary for Hong Kong to develop a comprehensive data policy in order to assist the territory in realizing its ambition to become a regional fintech hub in addition to the financial and logistical gateway to China, and if so what shape the policy should take. The project, which ran from February 2020 to February 2021, featured several seminars and workshops and aimed to produce an issues paper, edited collection and final recommendation report.

Professor Kevin Cheng, Dr. Natasha Pushkarna, and Ms. Sayaka Ri designed a sentencing calculator based off their published research Judicial Disparity, Deviation, and Departures from Sentencing Guidelines: The Case for Hong Kong, 17(3) Journal of Empirical Legal Studies (2020) 580. Sentencing guidelines are set out for drug trafficking by the Hong Kong Court of Appeal where a range of sentence is provided based on the range of the quantity of drugs—e.g. 50 to 200g of cocaine = 96 to 144 months of imprisonment. Observing the continued existence of judicial disparity in sentences for drug trafficking despite these guidelines, they devised a calculation from drug tariffs to estimate the sentence based on the exact quantity of drugs. That formula offers an accurate starting point for judges to use when determining a sentence for a drug trafficking offence. For ease of use of this formula, they developed an online calculator which allows for fast determination of the arithmetically derived sentence starting point for Trafficking in Dangerous Drugs offences where users select the drug type and input the quantity of drugs. It also calculates the sentence after sentence discounts for guilty pleas. You can find the calculator here:

Professor Eliza Mik has been publishing in the area of contract law and artificial intelligence for more than a decade. Her articles in this field include Much Ado about Artificial Intelligence or: the Automation of Contract Formation, 30 International Journal of Law and Information Technology (2022), 484-506; From Automation to Autonomy: Some Non-existent Problems in Contract Law 36 Journal of Contract Law (2020), 205-230; as well as AI in Negotiating and Entering into Contracts in L diMatteo, M Cannarsa, C Poncibo (eds), The Cambridge Handbook of Artificial Intelligence, Global Perspectives on Law and Ethics (CUP 2022), 45-58. Related problems concern the generation of unexpected output by automated processes, as described by Professor Mik (together with Professor Kelvin Low), in Lost in Transmission: Unilateral Mistakes in Automated Contracts, 136 Law Quarterly Review (2020), 563-569.

Computational law is one of the most exciting, novel areas of law and technology. Positioned at the intersection of computer science, data science and the law, it involves an investigation of the computability of legal processes, the use of data-driven approaches in legal practice and the expression of legal rules by means of programming languages. Professor Mik has contributed to this area with her paper on the ability to express contractual agreements in code: Contracts in Code? (2021) 13 Law, Innovation & Technology 478-509.

Professor Eliza Mik has widely published on legal aspects of smart contracts. Her work includes: Smart Contracts: Terminology, Technical Limitations and Real-World Complexity (2017) 9 Law, Innovation & Technology 269-300; Smart Contracts: A Requiem (2019) 36 Journal of Contract Law 70-94, Pause the Blockchain Legal Revolution (2020) 69 International Comparative Law Quarterly 135-175 (with Prof Kelvin F.K. Low); Smart Contracts: Tales of Trust and Certainty (2022) Technology & Regulation 100-112, Deconstructing Smart Contracts in N Kim & S Elvy (eds), Emerging Issues at the Intersection of Commercial Law and Technology (CUP, forthcoming); Smart Contracts and the “Oracle Problem in the Context of InsurTech in C Poncibò & P Tereszkiewicz (eds) European Insurance Contract Law: the Promises and Perils of Digitalization (Springer, forthcoming).

Technology has become extremely important also for banking and finance. CUHK LAW professors have conducted ground-breaking research in this area. Click below for a list of related publications.

CUHK LAW prides itself in teaching excellence across different areas and programme levels. In this regard new technologies are present in both curriculum design and teaching delivery.

As far as curriculum design is concerned, various courses address different features of the Law & Technology theme from a subject-specific point of view (e.g. online dispute resolution, AI and IP law, smart contracts, e-due diligence). Moreover, in order to prepare CUHK LAW students for their professional careers, where technologies are playing an increasing role, CUHK LAW is proud that courses on Legal Technologies have been offered at the LLB, JD and the PCLL level starting from the academic year 2020-21. Since then we have significantly expanded our Law&Tech course offerings with the goal to cater to the learning needs of future generations of lawyers.

CUHK LAW offers courses on Law & Technology at the UG and PG level:

Dr. Lily Fenn Prizes for Legal Technologies

The Dr. Lily Fenn Education Foundation Limited has kindly donated three Dr. Lily Fenn Prizes for Legal Technologies worth of a total HK$30,000.  The prizes will be awarded to CUHK LAW students who achieve the highest overall mark in the course LAWS3456 Legal Technologies / LAWS6089 Legal Technologies / LAWS5025 Legal Practice and Technology in each academic year starting from the academic year 2021-22.

Technology for Teaching

CUHK LAW Dean Lutz-Christian Wolff commented in 2019 EduTECH Asia on the use of technology for teaching purposes: “Technology has become a very important part of modern teaching and research activities…. Technology is definitely enabling systematic change in pedagogy. Technology multiplies pedagogical options and thus moves teaching pedagogy forward. At the same time it must be ensured that technological options are not pursued just because technology is available. In other words, the pedagogical viability of particular technology must be assessed with great care in each case given the particular circumstances.”

CUHK LAW regards the use of innovative technologies as key to achieving teaching excellence at all levels. Various course leaders have successfully adopted or are experimenting with the introduction of modern technology-based modes of delivery underscored by research such as the project on Flipped Classrooms for Legal Education, the production and use of online micro modules, and course delivery via virtual online collaboration using Zoom.

More information on teaching excellence at CUHK LAW is available at here.

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