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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Law : Law

Postgraduate Course: Law and New Technologies: Artificial Intelligence, Risk and the Law 2 (LAWS11063)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Law CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryArtificial Intelligence has the potential to change the way law operates ┐ and with that also the future of the law firm Some commentators, prominent amongst them Richard Susskind, have anticipated for decades major changes in the ┐value chain┐ that law firms produce. This course introduces key technologies that have the potential to impact on the way lawyers operate in practice, with a focus on the issue of digital evidence and computer forensics.
Course description The purpose of the course is thus also to provide an introduction to the legal aspects of forensic computing investigations, and to offer an overview of legislation and the main legal issues related to cyber-crime and computer forensics.

Digital forensics is not just a problem for IT law. In most criminal investigations, some pieces of evidence will be in a digital format ┐ photos from smartphones, geo-location data from a car┐s satnav or simply CCTV footage. Despite its importance for practice however, the distinctive features of evidence in digital form are often poorly understood by defence lawyers, prosecutors and judges alike. This can obviously create problems for the administration of justice. Party advocates struggle to transform the evidence collected by the computer forensic experts into a ┐narrative┐ that convinces the jury, or fail to scrutinise sufficiently the evidence submitted by the opposing party. Judges in turn sometimes struggle to ┐quality control┐ the way in which the evidence enters the court, evaluate its weight when sitting as single decision makers, or oversee, where the jurisdiction provides such, the issuing of warrants in the investigative process.

This course will equip students with a grounding in the technical aspects of forensic computing that will enable them to perform these roles better, and also introduce them to the main legal issues that this technology raises. Prior knowledge of computer science is not required, and the course will not make students into computer forensic investigators. Rather, it introduces, in a co-ordinated way, both computer science and legal issues regarding electronic evidence, to better prepare lawyers in their dealing with evidence in digital form..

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2017/18, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  32
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 196 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 20% situated communication activity (such as a PPT presentation, editing a Wikipedia entry or tweeting from a conference)
80% essay
Feedback Students will receive verbal feedback during class participation. There will be in addition two pieces of formative assessment s, each one preceding one of the summative assessments. In the first formative assessment (that prepares students for the 20% summative activity), students will have the opportunity to train their ability to identify pertinent literature from a discipline/jurisdiction other than their own and evaluate its authoritativeness. In the second formative assessment, the week┐s topic will be introduced in the form of an essay question. Students will be invited to develop a research strategy and essay structure to tackle it, which will then be discussed in class as a ┐feed forward┐ to the essay.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Students will gain an understanding of the potential of AI in the justice system, its limitations and also its danger for traditional ways to generate income as a lawyer.
  2. Students will gain a broad understanding of the legal issues created by advanced computer technology, in particular AI based approaches, for the law firm and legal practice and a rigorous understanding of the interaction between economic, psychological, political , societal and ethical issues that regulators face now and in the near future when dealing with these developments
  3. Students will understand the different modes of regulation that are available for regulators tackling the use of AI in legal contexts, from investigation to pre-trial discovery to trial, so that they can evaluated efficiency, proportionality and necessity of existing or suggested regulation, and develop their own proposals for the regulation of future challenges.
  4. 4) students will acquire the skill to carry out independent research in the intersection between law and technology, including an ability to work in multidisciplinary groups with disciplines and legal cultures other than their own, and to communicate their findings to audiences from a range of disciplinary and jurisdictional backgrounds.
  5. They will acquire the skill to from and defend with arguments opinions in fields where the law is not yet settled, develop creative solutions to current social and legal problems and mediate between conflicting interests and value commitments, using computer enhanced communication tools such as wikis and other social media tools
Reading List
Susskind, Richard. Transforming the law: essays on technology, justice and the legal marketplace. OUP 2000
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Identify, conceptualise and define new and abstract problems and issues.
- Develop original and creative responses to problems
-work in heterogeneous teams to tight deadlines and co-ordinate efforts towards a joint task
- Communicate with other students (including students from different cultures, academic and otherwise) , policy makers, scientific experts and advisors
Keywordsartificial intelligence,legal expert systems,legal ontologies,regulation,science and technology
Course organiserProf Burkhard Schafer
Tel: (0131 6)50 2035
Course secretaryMr David Morris
Tel: (0131 6)50 2010
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