- Code LEGM8001
- Unit Value 6 units
- Offered by ANU School of Legal Practice
- ANU College ANU College of Law
- Course subject Legal Practice MLP
- Areas of interest Law, Computer Science, Legal Practice
- Academic career PGRD
- Scott Chamberlain
- Mode of delivery Online
First Semester 2020
See Future Offerings
The technology of blockchain, smart contracts, and AI is set to revolutionise many industries. It allows for automated, trust-minimised interactions that limit the need for gatekeepers and middlemen. The widespread adoption of the technology could have profound impacts on the law, lawyers, and the justice system since lawyers and governments are key gatekeepers and middlemen in the justice delivery process. This course examines the legal issues underlying the "Lex Automagica" tech stack of blockchain, smart contracts, and AI. It provides an overview of each layer of the technology, how they can interact, and an examination of the many legal and policy issues arising from the implementation of the technology. It will examine the many other uses to which blockchain is or may be applied, including the development of so-called smart contracts. It concludes with an holistic view of the ways blockchains may impact the shape of our legal systems and our societies as more and more social and commercial interactions are forced “on-chain”.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Research, synthesise and analyse the legal principles and issues arising from the use of blockchains, digital assets and smart contract technology.
- Synthesise and critically evaluate current and potential laws regulating blockchains, smart contracts and digital assets.
- Critically reflect on the way in which these technologies may impact the law, access to justice, and society generally.
- Assess current policy, legal and regulatory frameworks in order to develop proposals which recommend changes required to improve the use and adoption of blockchain, digital assets and smart contracts in legal and regulatory processes.
- Blockchain - Selected Legal Issues - Group Presentation (15) [LO 1,2]
- Digital Assets - Selected Legal Issues - Group Presentation (15) [LO 1,2]
- Smart Contracts - Build, Deploy & Critique a Smart Contract - Group Project (20) [LO 1,2,3]
- Major Research Paper - Blockchain Law, Governance & Justice (50) [LO 1,2,3,4]
In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle.
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This is a 6-unit course, which is considered to have the equivalent full time student load (EFTSL) of 6/48 = 0.125. The number of hours allocated to an EFTSL of 0.125 is 10 – 12 hours per week. The course will have a weekly 2-hour online lectures/workshops/tutorials. Otherwise, students work individually or in small teams with mentor assistance on small research projects and individually on their major research project.
Requisite and Incompatibility
No prescribed texts
DE FILIPPI, P. & WRIGHT, A (2019). BLOCKCHAIN AND THE LAW. [S.l.]: HARVARD UNIV PRESS.
WERBACH, K. (2018). The blockchain and the new architecture of trust. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press.
WALCH, A (2018) "In Code(rs) We Trust: Software Developers as Fiduciaries in Public Blockchains" (https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3203198)
General understanding or interest in blockchain/crypto-currencies
Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.
If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.
- Student Contribution Band:
- Unit value:
- 6 units
If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees. Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.
Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.