What is legal design? A lightning tour of a multifaceted discipline

Interdisciplinary Research Group in Socio-technical Cybersecurity

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What is legal design? A lightning tour of a multifaceted discipline

Conversations on Legal Design, EITLab Series of Seminars, Jean Monnet module “European IT Law by Design” (co-funded by the EU Erasmus + program), Faculté de Droit et Criminologie, UCLouvain – 12th of February 2021 | h. 10.45-11.45

In the last few years, we have witnessed an explosion of interest in legal design, both in the practitioners’ world and in the academic sphere. The term is often associated with legal innovation and its domains of application are blossoming. However, the boundaries of legal design action are often blurred, while the scope, the research methods and the merits of this new discipline still need to be rigorously established. During this seminar, we will seek to elaborate some preliminary answers, by interactively exploring a selection of legal design projects in the data privacy domain. Namely, we will examine: (1) legal design as an approach that challenges traditional legal assumptions, for instance, certain beliefs about how humans process information and develop trust in technologies; (2) legal design as interdisciplinary cooperation, through the case of a collaborative project about the transparency of website privacy policies; (3) legal design as a set of empirical research methods to investigate legally-relevant realities, like online manipulative designs (i.e., dark patterns); (4) legal design beyond the problem-solving approach, as a critique of how things are and speculation about how things could be.

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