Law, Technology and Society: Reimagining the Regulatory Environment, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Law, Technology and Society

Reimagining the Regulatory Environment, 1st Edition

By Roger Brownsword


351 pages

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This book considers the implications of the regulatory burden being borne increasingly by technological management rather than by rules of law. If crime is controlled, if human health and safety are secured, if the environment is protected, not by rules but by measures of technological management—designed into products, processes, places and so on—what should we make of this transformation?

In an era of smart regulatory technologies, how should we understand the ‘regulatory environment’, and the ‘complexion’ of its regulatory signals? How does technological management sit with the Rule of Law and with the traditional ideals of legality, legal coherence, and respect for liberty, human rights and human dignity? What is the future for the rules of criminal law, torts and contract law—are they likely to be rendered redundant? How are human informational interests to be specified and protected? Can traditional rules of law survive not only the emergent use of technological management but also a risk management mentality that pervades the collective engagement with new technologies? Even if technological management is effective, is it acceptable? Are we ready for rule by technology?

Undertaking a radical examination of the disruptive effects of technology on the law and the legal mind-set, Roger Brownsword calls for a triple act of re-imagination: first, re-imagining legal rules as one element of a larger regulatory environment of which technological management is also a part; secondly, re-imagining the Rule of Law as a constraint on the arbitrary exercise of power (whether exercised through rules or through technological measures); and, thirdly, re-imagining the future of traditional rules of criminal law, tort law, and contract law.

Table of Contents




  1. In the Year 2061: From Law to Technological Management
  2. Part One: Re-imagining the Regulatory Environment

  3. The Regulatory Environment: An Extended Field of Inquiry
  4. The ‘Complexion’ of the Regulatory Environment
  5. Three Regulatory Responsibilities: Red Lines, Reasonableness, and Technological Management
  6. Part Two: Re-imagining Legal Values

  7. The Ideal of Legality and the Rule of Law
  8. The Ideal of Coherence
  9. The Liberal Critique of Coercion: Law, Liberty and Technology
  10. Part Three: Re-imagining Legal Rules

  11. Legal Rules, Technological Disruption, and Legal/Regulatory Mind-Sets
  12. Regulating Crime: The Future of the Criminal Law
  13. Regulating Interactions: The Future of Tort Law
  14. Regulating Transactions: The Future of Contracts
  15. Regulating the Information Society: The Future of Privacy, Data Protection Law and Consent
  16. Epilogue

  17. In the Year 2161

About the Author

Roger Brownsword has professorial appointments in the Dickson Poon School of Law at King's College London and in the Department of Law at Bournemouth University, and he is an honorary Professor in Law at the University of Sheffield.

About the Series

Law, Science and Society

Traditionally, the role of law has been to implement political decisions concerning the relationship between science and society. Increasingly, however, as our understanding of the complex dynamic between law, science and society deepens, this instrumental characterisation is seen to be inadequate, but as yet we have only a limited conception of what might take its place. In short, there is a need for new research and scholarship, and it is to that need that this series responds.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / General
LAW / Science & Technology
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Science & Technology Policy
SCIENCE / Philosophy & Social Aspects