How the law can make it simple: easing the circulation of agency in e-justice



Publication Details

F. Contini and R. Mohr, 'How the law can make it simple: easing the circulation of agency in e-justice' in F. Contini and G. Francesco. Lanzara(ed), The Circulation of Agency in E-Justice: Interoperability and Infrastructures for European Transborder Judicial Proceedings (2014) 53-79.

Additional Publication Information

ISBN: 9789400775244


The chapter analyses the ways in which technology and law disperse, channel and reassemble agency in ICT enabled legal proceedings. It works from five of the case studies of e-justice discussed in the book, assessing how different approaches magnify or reduce complexity and affect systems development and use. The law can legitimate ensembles of technological and performative procedures, but it cannot construct them by regulation through a legal blueprint. Attempts at excessive legal regulation quickly raise complexity to unmanageable levels. Technology is assessed as a distinct regulative regime that opens new channels of communication, potentially duplicating existing legal and traditional channels. The regulation of technology could take advantage of this state of affairs. Machines and software codes identify and admit participants and direct human activity. Some of the difficulties in reproducing legal processes in technologically enabled environments are explained by the demands of the performative, where meanings exceed the demands of simple information flow. The chapter explores the requirements of meaning making, by which participants recognise the context and the legal consequences of ICT enabled procedures. The interfaces of law and technology rely on the interpretive context in which messages are understood as well as the legal forms in which they are transmitted. Each of these elements is essential to assure the circulation of agency in ICT enabled legal proceedings, while ensuring the legality of the entire ensemble.

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