【GGR Webinar】Book launch: ‘Legal Innovation: Technology, the Legal Profession and Industrial Change’

【GGR Webinar】Book launch: ‘Legal Innovation: Technology, the Legal Profession and Industrial Change’


■Date:   Friday 14 October 2022
■Time:   10:00 London time/18:00 Tokyo time
■Place:   Zoom, recorded

■Event Outline

Languages: Japanese and English
Translation: NHK simultaneous interpretation (both ways, Japanese-English and English-Japanese)

Prof. Mihoko Sumida and Assoc. Prof. Felix Steffek, the duo who published “Legal Innovation: Technology, the Legal Profession and Industrial Change” in March 2022 has teamed up once again to organise a free talk session with the people you want to hear from most now. First, Mr Sadakazu Osaki of Nomura Research Institute, Japan’s leading expert on innovation x law, will share his take on the book. In the following panel discussion Mr Osaki will be joined by Prof. Simon Deakin, principal investigator of the research project “Legal Systems and Artificial Intelligence” and proponent of the Theory of Legal Evolution, as well as Dr Hiroaki Yamada and Mr Ludwig Bull, two Japanese and British leading researchers in AI applications for law, to discuss ❶how technology is changing dispute resolution and ❷ how to build an ecosystem for legal innovation.

■ Moderators

  • Prof. Mihoko Sumida, Hitotsubashi University
  • Associate Prof. Felix Steffek, University of Cambridge

■ Guests

  • Mr. Sadakazu Osaki, Nomura Research Institute
  • Prof. Simon Deakin, University of Cambridge
  • Assistant Prof. Hiroaki Yamada, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Tokunaga Lab
  • Ludwig Bull, Court Correct CEO

■ Organisers

Hitotsubashi University Graduate School of Law and Centre for Corporate and Commercial Law (3CL), University of Cambridge

■Event Report

First, the editor, Professor Mihoko Sumida of Hitotsubashi University, spoke about her thoughts on the online lectures on which the book was based, including an episode of a telephone class organised in 1966 by a high school physics teacher who asked physicist Richard P. Feynman to make it happen. Associate Professor Felix Steffek of the University of Cambridge then discussed the difficulty of the question of who are the top ten legal innovators in the world. Legal innovations are not exempt from time constraints because they occur in society, such as the contribution of the leading candidate Gutenberg, which has also been washed away by the waves of the times, and some legal scholars, such as Chenshige Hozumi, who presented a visionary hermeneutic on the legal treatment of the groundbreaking technology of the telephone, while others make judicial decisions that change the world judges and those who bring new legislation to life, and there will be no consensus on a scale to measure their contribution.

Sadakazu Osaki of Nomura Research Institute, commenting on behalf of the readers, found this broad view of legal innovators appealing. He stated that the story of the lawyer who got the court to approve a new way of thinking in the Okawa Elementary School tsunami disaster case had nothing to do with technology, but that he had great sympathy with the idea that innovation is also about overcoming situations where it is difficult to provide adequate relief within a conventional theoretical framework. He then presented the next issues, such as the changes that legal innovation will bring about, including how to think about the separation of legal innovation from legislative theory.

In the first half of the panel discussion, which discussed ❶how technology is changing dispute resolution, Ludwig Bull, founder and CEO of Court Correct, opened by pointing out that in the UK and around the world, “access to justice for all” is not guaranteed, and as a party working on this issue, he made three recommendations for Japan, He made three recommendations to Japan. (1) trial experiments in partnership with start-ups, (2) maximum open-sourcing of legal data, and (3) a regulatory sandbox. In contrast, Professor Simon Deakin of the University of Cambridge said: ‘Judicial automation will happen. But the role of human judgement will not go away because AI cannot manage itself,” and “Machines are manipulated by humans, but humans cannot fully understand machines, because they cannot compute like machines.” Mr Osaki said that the benefits of introducing technology into dispute resolution were “a given” and that, with regard to risks, what should be kept in mind more than technology running amok was the relationship with the existing system, such as the Lawyers Act, which regulates legal service providers. Mr. Bull pointed out that, from the perspective of an AI-based service provider, even if highly accurate AI is created, people will not be able to meet their needs without an ‘explanation’ of the basis for the AI, but how to get the machine to provide that ‘explanation’ is difficult.

In the latter half of the session, ❷how to building a legal innovation ecosystem, Hiroaki Yamada, Assistant Professor at the School of Information Science and Technology, Tokyo Institute of Technology, an expert in natural language processing, pointed out that the information infrastructure is still underdeveloped in Japan to develop a prediction model for civil dispute resolution outcomes. While research on the difficult issues of formulating the task of “how to make a machine solve a human legal decision framework”, “even if a legal decision can be predicted, it is meaningless without an explanation” and “what is a meaningful explanation” for ordinary users of models is proceeding at a rapid pace overseas, research is being conducted while the information infrastructure is being developed. He said that research was underway. An audience member commented that, “Accidents have traditionally occurred with rice cakes, a traditional Japanese food, where people have choked on them. In response to a question: ‘What do you think about the state of public opinion when konnyaku jelly was introduced and accidents occurred in which people choked to death?’ Mr Osaki replied: ‘I think the essence of the matter lies in the novelty of konnyaku jelly, which is the same as accidents involving self-driving cars. The issue for legal innovation in the future is how to take an accident caused by such a novel product”. The meeting was a short but productive exchange of views. This event was watched by 143 people from Japan and abroad, and the limited-time-only missed streaming: Japanese-language version was also viewed 78 times and the English-language version 258 times.