The Law of Autonomous Systems and the Automation of Law

Event date
8 March 2018
Event time
13:30 - 18:30
Oxford week
Mordan Hall - St Hugh's College

2nd Annual Conference of the Oxford Business Law Blog

Oxford | 8 March 2018, 1.30pm

Mordan Hall, St Hugh’s College, University of Oxford

Horst Eidenmüller / Luca Enriques / Jennifer Payne / Kristin van Zwieten

The academic editors of the Oxford Business Law Blog invite participants for the OBLB’s 2018 annual conference.

Conference Overview

The rapid increase in computational power and the volume of available data stand to significantly transform the law: both the way we practice law, and the way law performs its societal functions. A defining feature of this transformation is the increased autonomy of artificial (computer) agents, and their ability to automate tasks previously performed by humans. Increasingly autonomous, data-driven processes create new challenges for law and policy. These include: how should the application of new technologies, such as machine learning, be regulated to provide adequate space for innovation whilst still protecting consumers and investors in increasingly disintermediated markets? How should data and privacy laws control the use and application of personal data in training autonomous systems? How should liability be attributed or distributed where a (semi-) autonomous agent causes harm or loss? How does legal education and training need to change to equip the lawyers of tomorrow with the skills needed to manage increasingly automated legal processes? And how should autonomous systems be designed so as to maximise their resilience to cyberattacks?  

Against this backdrop, the academic editors of the Oxford Business Law Blog have selected “The Law of Autonomous Systems and the Automation of Law” as the theme of its 2018 annual conference.


1.30 – 1.45pm

Welcome Addresses

Dame Elish Angiolini (Principal, St Hugh’s College)

Professor Anne Davies (Dean, Oxford Law Faculty)

Professor Horst Eidenmüller (Freshfields Professor of Commercial Law)

1.45 – 3.15pm

Roundtable 1: Smart Contracts and Dispute Resolution

Chair: Kristin van Zwieten


Philipp Paech (LSE) – Character and types of smart contracts

Kai Jacob (SAP SE) – Smart contracting can reduce legal and operating costs

Martin Fries (Munich) – Smart contracts and consumer rights enforcement

Andreas Hacke (Oxford, Munich) – Micro-justice? Swarm dispute resolution in smart contracts

Mateja Durovic (KCL) – How to arbitrate smart contract disputes

Lauren Henry Scholz (Florida State University) -  Consumer algorithmic contracts

Riccardo de Caria (Torino) – Defining smart contracts: the search for workable legal categories

3.15 – 4.15pm

Roundtable 2: FinTech

Chair: Luca Enriques


Mimi Zou (Oxford) – Innovation without Authorisation? The Regulatory 'Black Box' of Cryptocurrency in China

Florian Möslein (Marburg) – Regulating robotic conduct: on ESMA’s new guidelines and beyond

Oscar Borgogno (Torino) – Banking of the day after tomorrow: on FinTech, data control and consumer empowerment

Coffee Break

4.30 – 5.30pm

Roundtable 3: LegalTech

Chair: Jennifer Payne


Sofia Ranchordas (Groningen) – Data-driven Regulation and Governance: the Privatisation of Cities

Geneviève Helleringer (Oxford, Essec) – The cutting edge of consumer finance and energy law: behavioural insights, big data and digital technologies

Marijn Storm (Morrison & Foerster) – “The algorithm did it” (will not fly): accountability for machine learning algorithms under GDPR and FTC guidelines - what are the requirements and how should they be implemented?

Ludwig Bull and Felix Steffek (University of Cambridge) - Paving the Way for Legal AI - A Common Dataset for Case Outcome Predictions

5.30 – 6.30pm

Roundtable 4: Cybersecurity and Data Control

Chair: Horst Eidenmüller


Alan Morrison (PwC) – Risk and regulatory considerations in on-blockchain sharing of biometric and other personal data

Sandra Wachter (Oxford, Alan Turing Institute) – Autonomous cars and the GDPR

Michèle Finck (Oxford, Max Planck Institute) – Blockchains and the GDPR


Conference Participation

 To participate in the conference please register here

About the Oxford Business Law Blog

Launched in March 2016, the Oxford Business Law Blog is a forum for the exchange of ideas and the reporting of new developments in all aspects of business law, broadly defined. The OBLB editorial board is presently comprised of Horst Eidenmüller, Luca EnriquesJennifer Payne, and Kristin van Zwieten, all from the University of Oxford Faculty of Law. The board is currently assisted by associate editors Nikita Aggarwal, Roderic Kermarec, Mika J Lehtimaki, and Konstantinos Sidiropoulos. The 2nd Annual Conference of the OBLB is generously supported by Travers Smith (general benefactor of the OBLB and conference sponsor), and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (conference sponsor). 

For any further enquiries please email


Found within

Business Law