- Code LAWS8101
- Unit Value 6 units
- Offered by ANU Law School
- ANU College ANU College of Law
- Course subject Laws
- Areas of interest Law, Computer Science, Legal Practice
- Academic career PGRD
- Scott Chamberlain
- Mode of delivery Online
First Semester 2023
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]
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- Classes offered in non-standard sessions will be taught on an intensive base with compulsory contact hours (approximately 26 hours of face to face teaching). The course will also require advanced preparation through assigned readings. In total, it is anticipated that the hours required for completion of this course (class preparation, teaching and completion of assessment) will not exceed 120 hours.
- Classes offered during semester periods are expected to have three contact hours per week.
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Requisite and Incompatibility
Students must rely on the approved Class Summary which will be posted to the Programs and Courses site approximately two weeks prior to the commencement of the course. Alternatively, this information will be published in the Program course list when known.
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.
Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you 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). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.
- Student Contribution Band:
- Unit value:
- 6 units
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