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Open University and Leiden University start Joint Legal Technologies Program

The Open University and Leiden University will join forces to offer a (Dutch-taught) Joint Legal Technologies Program for professionals. In doing so, they can provide the advanced legal informatics training that is necessary in our rapidly digitising society. The joint program is a further development from the Leiden Legal Technologies Program offered by Leiden University's Centre for Professional Learning in The Hague.

Multidisciplinary character

What makes the Joint Legal Technologies Program distinct, is its multidisciplinary character. Researchers and professionals with a background in ICT, law, and social sciences will work together, exchange insights and ideas, and share knowledge about the digital transition and legal technologies. By learning from each other's situations and solutions, a knowledge network can be established, debates initiated, and risks can be assessed in order to contribute to policy development and knowledge enhancement among the participants.

Digitalisation and AI for legal professionals

The digital transition in society is occurring at a rapid rate and these developments have major consequences in the field of law. The so-called 'legal technologies' offer legal professionals opportunities to conduct their profession more efficiently and adequately. Examples include specialist chatbots that write draft litigation documents, text mining tools that analyse case law and legislation, risk analyses based on big data, and algorithms that make decisions or support decision-making processes.

Bridging law and technology

At the same time, expanding digital capabilities call for legal frameworks. Moreover, the use of legal technologies may have consequences for the democratic rule of law. ICT experts and legal professionals will have to cooperate more and complement each other's expertise in order to develop legal technologies in the right way and use them responsibly in practice.

In the Legal Technologies Program, professionals learn about the opportunities and limits of legal technologies in their own field of work. In addition, they gain the strategic insights needed to build bridges between the legal and tech worlds. They also investigate what is needed to protect the fundamental values that are at stake with relation to digitalisation and the introduction of legal technologies. The one-year program consists of in-person meetings in The Hague which are supplemented by online teaching and self-study.

Program management and teaching staff

The Joint Legal Technologies Program is managed by Reijer Passchier, Professor of Digitalisation and the democratic rule of law at the Open University, and also affiliated to the Department of Constitutional and Administrative Law at Leiden University. Teaching staff from both universities will be active in the program as well as guest lecturers from other universities and from professional practice. Professor emeritus Jaap van den Herik, one of the founders of AI in the Netherlands and of the original Leiden Legal Technologies Program, will remain involved with the new program as academic adviser.

For more information on the content of the program and practical matters, see Joint Legal Technologies Program.

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