Co Stream Leads Daniel Ghezelbash and Matthew Keeley
The Access to Justice and Technology stream brings together academics, practitioners, innovators and change makers to undertake rigorous evidence-based research and advocacy aimed at increasing access to justice through the use of technology.
Building the leading, national network
We are connecting national stakeholders who are invested in access to justice and legal technology, including community legal centres (CLCs), not-for-profit (NFP) law firms, low-bono and commercial law firms, tech firms and universities.
Research and advocacy
We are carrying out evidence-based research and advocacy in relation to the potential uses and impact of inclusive legal technology in the access to justice space, and structural change aimed at removing impediments to the uptake of such technology.
We are fostering collaboration and capacity building through sharing knowledge and learnings, and disseminating information about initiatives, challenges, and opportunities to use, re-purpose and capitalise on existing initiatives. Our website (below) will publish the definitive register of technology-enabled access to justice initiatives in use in Australia at any one time.
Support for initiatives
We are providing additional support for initiatives by leveraging pro bono legal, IT, project management and marketing support, government funding and assistance, and research and student support (and learning opportunities) from universities.
Stream Leader Monika Zalnieriute
‘AI Decision Making and the Law’ research stream explores the relationship between various automation and inference techniques, popularly known as AI, and increasing technologisation of decision-making in governments, courts, corporations and society.
Led by Dr. Monika Zalnieriute, AI Decision Making and the Law research stream explores the relationship between various automation and interference techniques, popularly known as AI, and increasing technologisation of decision-making in governments, courts, corporations and society.
In this stream, Monika leads many cutting-edge projects, with direct relevance and impact on policy making in Australia and internationally. The first project of this stream is Monika’s Discovery Early Career Award ‘AI Decision-Making, Data Privacy and Discrimination Laws, funded by the Australian Research Council (2021-2024), which draws on mixed method research design to question the effectiveness discrimination and data privacy laws in preventing AI discrimination and further isolation of historically discriminated groups, such as LGBTI, women, and racialized communities.
The stream is also working with researchers at the Law Institute of Lithuania on research project ‘Government Use of Facial Recognition Technologies: Legal Challenges and Solutions’, funded by the Lithuanian Research Council, 2021 – 2023, $ 232,450 (EUR 150,000)). Collaborating with the project partners London School of Economics (UK) and Georgia Institute of Technology (USA), the project will look at the ways government are deploying automated facial recognition technologies to assist decision-making in Lithuania, USA, UK, Russia and Germany.
The AI Decision Making and the Law stream is also working with the Australiasian Institute of Judicial Administration (AIJA) and, together with the Hub Director Lyria Bennett Moses and FLIP researchers Michael Legg and Felicity Bell, was awarded a research grant by AIJA ‘AI Decision-Making and the Courts’ to prepare a guide for AIJA members and judges in the Asia-Pacific region, which will set out the key challenges and opportunities that automated decision-making present for courts and judges.
The AI Decision Making and the Law is part of the $71 million ARC Centre of Excellence for ‘Automated Decision-Making and Society’ ($31.8 million awarded by ARC, $39 committed by the partners), where Monika is an Associate Investigator. Launched in 2020, the Centre will run for 7 years to create the knowledge and strategies necessary for responsible, ethical, and inclusive automated decision-making.
The Centre combines social and technological disciplines in an international industry, research and civil society network that brings together experts from Australia, Europe, Asia and America. If you are interested in collaborating with AI Decision Making and the Law, please get in touch with the Stream Lead Monika
Stream Leader Kayleen Manwaring
The last three decades has seen substantial development and commercial and consumer use of previously unconventional forms of distributed information technologies, where sensors and microprocessors with internetworking capabilities are embedded in everyday objects and environments not previously computerised, such as cars, fridges, people and animals. The growth in the use of cyber-physical systems and Internet-enhanced objects has already brought about significant sociotechnical change, and this is unlikely to come to an end any time soon. Cyber-physical systems and connected devices have become essential in industries from manufacturing and healthcare to agriculture and environmental management, to smart homes and cities. This change brings with it some significant benefits for society, particular in the areas of: assisting those with disabilities live more independent lives; reducing traffic congestion; improving waste management, urban safety and bushfire control; increasing availability of remote healthcare and education; and supporting more efficient and sustainable infrastructure, transport, agriculture and industry.
However, while cyber-physical objects and systems may lead to benefits in our daily lives, they also expose individuals and societies to a number of risks, ranging from disclosure of private information, unwanted surveillance of adults and children by the state and by corporate interests, physical injury, harassment and stalking, safety and other defects, exacerbation of existing inequalities by a growing ‘digital divide’, discrimination and barriers to the right to freedom of expression. Alongside this sociotechnical change has come the potential for ‘regulatory disconnection’, that is, where existing regulatory frameworks become disconnected from societal expectations due to the new things, behaviours and relationships made possible by these technologies.
This stream is designed to investigate some of the potential areas of regulatory disconnection. This has now become a matter of some urgency in Australia and globally, as shown in the concern about legal and regulatory issues displayed in policy documents such as the World Economic Forum State of the Connected World report 2020, and the Chief Scientist-commissioned report by the Australian Council of Learned Academies on the Internet of Things, also published in late 2020.
The stream’s objective is to develop an Australian centre of excellence around legal challenges for cyber-physical systems and connected devices. While they share many issues with conventional information technologies, such as data protection, the ‘physical’ element brings into play additional issues. To solve issues of regulatory disconnection, we need to investigate areas of law not traditionally associated with information technology, such as tort, product liability, rights to repair, land law, personal property and insolvency.
Co Stream Leads Tanja Dreher and Bronwyn Miller
Data justice is increasingly recognised as an important aspect of the datafication and automation of decision making. Yet the meaning of data justice is often context dependent. Clarifying both how data justice arises as problem in need of addressing and how it can be defined, measured, and delivered requires an in-depth investigation of the operation and consequences of a variety of data analytic tools in different social and organisational settings. While regulation is an important strategy for seeking just outcomes, an appreciation of the dynamics of technological change in specific application settings is crucial to the design of regulation and its effectiveness.
The stream is already engaging with academic staff from ADA, Computer Science and Engineering, Faculty of Medicine, civil society organisations and government organisations.
Co Stream Leads Katharine Kemp and Rob Nicholls
As data regarding transactions increasingly has value which is comparable to the transaction value, personal data has the potential to form the basis of market power. This is a particularly challenging issue where two-sided or multi-sided markets indicate the operation of a platform.
This creates the simple research question: “Can control of data create market power?”. If the answer to this question is “yes”, then this raises a number of other issues:
- How should a competition regulator analyse data-driven market structures?
- How are data flows, practices and advantages relevant to the assessment of market power?
- When could data practices amount to a contravention of Australia's misuse of market power law?
- Could data exchange amount to a contravention of Australia's concerted practices prohibition?
- To what extent could data privacy terms be challenged as a (soon to be prohibited) unfair contract term under the Australian Consumer Law?
In 2023, we propose to run a half-day workshop on legislative responses in Sydney. This will be followed by private briefings to regulators and the regulated. The target attendees at the workshop include there regulated, regulators, policy makers, legal practitioners, consultants, academics, and in-house counsel.
Stream Leader: Ross Buckley
Technology creates incredible potential for the development of finance, including (i) disintermediation of traditional methods of delivery of financial services, (ii) lower barriers to entry, (iii) more efficient and affordable financial services, and (iv) delocalisation of financial products. Innovation in financial services is occurring at an increasing pace, and regulators are struggling to keep up.
Technological boom in finance creates both opportunities (eg financial inclusion in developing countries with large numbers of unbanked people and automation of routine processes, such as fraud detection and prevention) and challenges (eg absence of legal certainty as to how new developments fit within the existing regulatory framework, lack of understanding of the new technologies by consumers promoting uninformed decision-making, increased cybercrime risks, anonymity of transactions and resulting money laundering implications).
The FinTech Stream seeks to explore the impact of technological disruption on financial markets in Australia and across the globe, by analysing existing challenges, creating a discussion platform to exchange ideas among various stakeholders, and developing workable solutions. The research will examine the legal implications of a variety of technology-driven developments in finance, including (but not limited to):
- Existing practices and regulation of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) – a financing model at the intersection of blockchain and crowdfunding;
- Application of RegTech (ie use of technology for regulatory monitoring, reporting and compliance) in finance;
- Evolution of decentralised virtual currencies and emergence of government or central bank backed cryptocurrencies;
- Funds and financial technology;
- Emergence of data-driven finance models;
- Use of artificial intelligence and algorithmic decision-making models in finance.
Stream Lead Marc De Leeuw and the stream is supported by Research Assistant Annabella Dumas.
Stream members include, Professor Fleur Johns, Senior Lecturer Nofar Sheffi, Associate Professor Daniel Joyce and Simon Taylor.
New technologies rapidly blur the distinction between people and things. This stream seeks to understand the changing role for legal and regulatory frameworks in response to shifts in legal personalities driven by 21st century technological, bioscientific and economic developments. In particular, it focuses on the emergence of robotic technologies and the challenges this brings to the question of legal personhood. Artificial intelligence, driverless cars, care robots, and synthetically created life forms increasingly undermine the standard binary of organic and inorganic life, giving rise to questions of legal responsibility, ownership over hybrid entities, and the beginning and end of human or artificial life forms.
This stream tackles these issues and engages with the empirical and theoretical problems of disruption that cyber-physical systems bring to nation-states and their legal institutions.
Specifics on the stream's 2021 Robotics Project WIP can be found here on the Hub site: http://www.allenshub.unsw.edu.au/resources
Stream Leader Kathy Bowrey
Green and sustainable solutions in the built environment require substantial investments of public and private funds. This project looks at the legal dimensions of publicly funded open architecture. Green knowledge has a public value, so it should be recognised, stored and openly shared.
Each building process can be an opportunity to advance and test innovation in environmental sustainability. For this reason, large-scale, publicly funded buildings can present significant opportunities to generate and apply new sustainable materials, products, systems, or practices.
Building design and construction processes also create intellectual property—copyright in blueprints, artworks, models, construction manuals, databases, other documentation and moral rights. Building innovations may lead to patents, design rights, confidential information and new know how.
The public value of a building funded by the tax-payers not only lies in the use of the structure itself but is also embodied by the knowledge created over its design and construction process. This knowledge, generated and shared by stakeholders such as architects, engineers, contractors, and suppliers, manifests in the copyright, patents, systems, methods, experience, and learning in sustainability achieved in every project. Good intellectual property management is needed to support free and open sharing of building and construction knowledge.
This stream creates an opportunity to consider the prospects and legal challenges that impact open transferability of implicit and tacit knowledge in sustainable architecture.
Themes explored include:
- knowledge borrowing and sharing in the built environment;
- knowledge transfer as regulated by confidential information and trade secrets;
- IP impacts on the costs of repair and building maintenance;
- digital technologies and the right to document, preserve, interpret, and disseminate cultural heritage.
Stream Leader Matthew Kearnes
In recent years debate concerning the right to repair has emerged as a critical issue at the interface between law, technology and society.
Commencing in 2021 this stream the current and in-progress outputs of the stream address the intersections between repair practices in specific contexts and the wider legal and regulatory debate concerning the need to reflect rights to repair in contemporary intellectual property and consumer law.
Current work in this space has focused specifically on debate concerning the right to repair in Australia, contributing to public commentary and consideration of a series of proposals made by the Productivity Commission, with additional detailed work focused particularly on repair practices engaged in the off-grid solar market.