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KDEC 9550 - Smart Law: Indicators, Algorithms and Big Data

Type d'enseignement : Seminar

Semester : Spring 2017-2018

Number of hours : 24

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

The idea of a law that is Scientific, Mathematical, Algorithmic, Risk and Technology (SMART) driven is becoming a reality that needs the attention of students interested in law and public and private governance. Indicators, algorithms and big data are reshaping the regulatory landscape, allegedly, for the sake of better regulation. Uses range from measuring risk and performance, profiling offenders, monitoring suspicious behaviours, auditing organizations and algorithms, fostering e-government, and enforcing automatically rules, compliance programs, policies and contracts. This course aims at providing students with a comprehensive overview of the rise of SMART law devices in the context of global governance with a particular focus on their processes of production, strategic uses, effects and contestations. The introductory part of the course will give a historical and theoretical introduction to the idea of SMART law, its connection with statistics, management and informatics, its main practical advantages and flaws, and its link with jurisprudence and global law. The course will then introduce legal metrics, algorithms, block chain technology and big data in different legal fields and invite students to engage with them through individual case studies. The SMART law devices covered will relate to the fields of corporate social responsibility, financial and banking law, business law, investment law, tax law, human rights and labor law. Finally, the course will explore current and possible contestations to SMART law devices at both the theoretical and the practical level. It will rely on a doctrinal study of law and contributions from critical literature in sociology, philosophy, statistics, management, informatics and legal theory scholarship. At the end of the course, students are expected (1) to understand how SMART law devices operate in legal practice, (2) to design reliable methodologies for building new SMART law devices, and (3) to criticize SMART law devices as instruments of regulation and a source of evidence in law.


  • LEWKOWICZ, Gregory (Associate Professor at Université Libre de Bruxelles)
  • RESTREPO AMARILES, David (Professor of Law at HEC Paris)

Course validation

The final exam will consist of a research paper on a case study of a SMART law device which will be subject to approval by the instructor.


Objectives : The overall objective of the course is to address the gap between, on the one hand, legal scholarship approaches and, on the other hand, technical literature in informatics, statistics and economics about SMART Law. Specific objectives : - Raise awareness of the role of SMART law devices; - Get students acquainted with the operation of SMART law devices in specific legal fields; - Equip students with the tools to use and contest SMART law devices from a theoretical and practical perspective; - Engage students in the process of thinking and designing SMART law devices in their future legal practice.

Additional required reading