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Law and Technology

ANU College of Law faculty are world-leading scholars whose research is at the cutting edge of Law and Technology. Our research aims to solve real-world issues, enrich international scholarship, influence policymaking and improve the law’s application of technology.

We offer an unrivalled range of professional development courses and postgraduate programs taught by international experts. We also host events that guide national discussions and shape policy, produce outstanding scholarship, provide expertise to journalists, and more.

Alvin Hung
Alvin Hoi-Chun Hung
Postdoctoral Fellow
Clement Yongxi Chen
Clement Yongxi Chen
Damian Clifford
Damian Clifford
Senior Lecturer
Hina Aslam
Hina Aslam
Postdoctoral Fellow
James Popple
James Popple
Honorary Professor
Professor Johanna Weaver
Johanna Weaver
Tech Policy Design Centre
Philippa Ryan
Honorary Associate Professor
Associate Professor Will Bateman
Will Bateman

Our research

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Dr Will Bateman (Chief Investigator)

Model legal regulation of AI in the public sector

This impact-driven project will produce concrete solutions (including model legislation) to regulate the use of AI by government agencies and public officials. The set of technologies which are popularly described as AI have radically augmented human capacities for virtuous and vicious behaviour. The widespread adoption of AI in the public sector has the potential to fundamentally alter the relationship between citizen and government.

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Dr Will Bateman (Chief Investigator)

Monetary law: Private, constitutional and international law

Dr Bateman will be investigating the role of legislation in establishing the legal architectures which frame which monetary transactions and the way that legislation allocates constitutional authority over money between different organs of state. Of particular importance is the growth of legislation governing the nature of currency, the limits on currency issues and the capacity to regulate private financial market credit creation. From the 19th century, legislation (rather than judicial doctrine) has set legal boundaries of those legal aspects of money, while also concentrating power in Treasuries and Central Banks (rather than the judiciary) as the primary constitutional organs responsible for the monetary system. Revisiting Mann's work with an eye on the ‘public’, ‘constitutional’ and ‘legislative’ aspects of money will yield important insights in addressing the role of money in liberal constitutionalism and vice versa.

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Dr Daniel Stewart

Algorithm as fact: Judicial review of the transparency of algorithms in government decision-making

This project builds on the lessons from Robodebt to address the need to understand the working, and impact, of automated processes in government. The problem with robo-debt lay not in the idea, but in the ¬execution. The system was riddled with design flaws. Robodebt is a textbook example of how not to deploy technology in government decision-making. An initiative designed to save revenue has instead led the federal government to repay $721m to 373,000 people. However, care must be taken not to draw the wrong lessons¬. One flawed program does not destroy the case for governments to use technology to improve services and ensure public money goes to the right recipients.

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Dr Daniel Stewart

Rule as code: The use of machine learning as delegated legislation

Automation promises major benefits to government. Well-designed systems can make government services more accur¬ate, efficient and fair, such as by limiting the potential for human bias and error. They can also ¬extend taxpayer dollars so that services can reach many more people. An example is in legal services, where government funding of legal aid and community legal centres is critically important to helping thousands of vulnerable people, yet still falls well short of what is needed.

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Dr Will Bateman (Chief Investigator), Dr Damian Clifford

Humanising Machine Intelligence Project

The Humanising Machine Intelligence project brings together philosophers, social scientists, legal scholars and computer science experts to design AI that represents and promotes "Australian values".

The project is funded under the ANU Grand Challenges scheme, which brings ANU researchers from different disciplines together to solve the most pressing challenges facing the world today. Its research covers four key areas: automating governance; personalisation; algorithmic ethics; and human-AI interaction.

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Dr Damian Clifford

Consent and consumer manipulation: Principles and rules for a fairer platform economy

This project aims to explore the legitimacy of business practices vis-à-vis the role and qualitative standard of consumer consent. More specifically, my aim is to (1) gain a more detailed understanding of what commercial purposes should require the consent of the individual due to their privacy-invasive nature; and more significantly, (2) investigate the kinds of purposes that cannot be or rather should not be legitimised even with individual consent through a comparative approach.

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Dr Damian Clifford

Fairness and the general data protection regulation: Operationalising fairness in data protection impact assessments

This project analyses the literature exploring the meaning of the fairness principle in EU data protection law. Fairness is included in both Article 8(2) of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (the Charter) and Article 5(1)(a) of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Despite these foundations however, the fairness principle has been largely unexplored and remains broadly undefined in the data protection framework, case law and guidance literature. Indeed, it is well recognised that there is very little in the way of comprehensive and systematic guidance from Data Protection Authorities in the EU and the relevant EU Institutions, despite the fact that the requirement to process personal data ‘fairly’ is a standard-bearer in the data protection principles. This in turn, provides challenges for Data Protection Officers (DPOs) to fulfil their obligations and ensure that processing activities comply with the fairness principle, demonstrating the important connection between fairness and the accountability principle provided for in Article 5(2) of the Regulation.

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Associate Professor Jolyon Ford; Dr Will Bateman; Scott Chamberlain; Dr Philippa Ryan; Dr Dilan Thampapillai; Professor Sally Wheeler OBE; Professor Mark Findlay

Regulatory insights on artificial intelligence: Research for policy

This project is a collaboration with the Centre for AI and Data Governance at SMU Singapore. The project’s research outcomes manifest in 12 essays in the forthcoming book Regulatory Insights on Artificial Intelligence: Research for Policy (Edward Elgar, forthcoming 2021, Findlay, Ford, Seoh and Thamapillai editors). The project contributions consider various aspects of legal and regulatory governance of artificial intelligence. The book is unique in additionally including author self-reflection on the nature of the research challenges in this fast-moving area, the interface with policy-making. The project has reflected on the significance of contextual variance in undertaking policy-relevant research on the governance of AI technologies.

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Associate Professor Jolyon Ford

Asia dialogue on governance of responsible artificial intelligence

Hosted by Singapore Management University and funded by Microsoft Asia, this research dialogue on artificial intelligence (AI) governance aims to provide a framework for engaging the governance of AI technologies from an Asian perspective bringing together a multi-disciplinary group of leading researchers on AI governance from academic institutions, across the region. The key objective of the dialogue would be to foster the exchange of views on the governance of AI in Asia and deepen research collaboration in areas relevant to industry, governments, cultures and communities. The dialogue would contribute to greater coherence in AI governance across the region in areas where this is possible, by identifying areas of common understanding, while also recognising areas where there is a greater divergence of views, experiences, and capacities.

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Dr Philippa Ryan, Dr Roslyn Prinsley, Dr Andrew Tridgell OAM, Dr Marta Yebra

An integrated defence system to protect Australia from catastrophic bushfires

Launched in the wake of the catastrophic Black Summer Bushfires of 2019-20, this multidisciplinary project is led by ANU scholars from ANU Climate Change Institute, Fenner School of Environment and Society, Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, ANU College of Law, and ANU College of Computer Science and Engineering. As the project’s lead legal research, Dr Ryan seeks to identify and resolve legal challenges relating to the use of airborne technologies to detect and extinguish bushfires.

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Dr Philippa Ryan; Dr James Prest

Green gas: Law and policy for renewable gas – A comparative study of models for guarantees of origin and incentives using blockchain

This project seeks to engage with international researchers and industry to explore the way that peer-to-peer trading between micro-energy grids can improve the resilience of physical and digital systems. Find ways to use data gathered from the use of blockchain technology to improve efficiencies.

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Dr Philippa Ryan; Dr Aaron Lane (RMIT University)

Regulation and Accountability in Digital Business (Routledge, 2021)

This monograph explores the ways that regulators have responded to new digital products, new inputs and processes, new markets, and new business models and commercial arrangements. It provides a comparative analyse of regulatory responses in common law countries and considers the implications for commercial and professional accountability. This book explores, from a legal perspective, the way that regulation and accountability have been shaped by the digital age. 

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Dr Philippa Ryan; scholars from ANU College of Law and Singapore Management University Law School

Chapter: ‘Third party liability for the misuse of personal data and digital assets’ in [title TBC] (Edward Elgar, 2020)

This collaborative work brings together new perspectives on the way that the law is developing in response to novel challenges presented by the proliferation of new technologies in social and economic contexts.

Study with us

Graduate Certificate of New Technologies Law

Taught entirely online, the ANU Graduate Certificate of New Technologies Law gives you the skills and knowledge to accelerate your career. Understand the application - and evolution - of the law in the digital era.

This program is ideal for those who have completed a Bachelor’s degree in another discipline and wish to develop their knowledge of Australian and international legal systems and how laws are created, interpreted and applied to new technologies.

The Graduate Certificate of New Technologies Law also provides a pathway to the ANU Master of Laws (LLM) for graduates from non-cognate disciplines upon completion of Law and Legal Institutions (LAWS8586).

Graduate Certificate of Law

We offer a range of short-term professional development courses with a focus on law and technology. This allows you to study a single subject without having to apply for a full postgraduate degree.

Short-term professional development courses can enable you to update or refresh your knowledge, expand your skillset, focus on a specialised area of law relating to your current role or gain new knowledge and skills to prepare you for a new role.

All these courses are currently delivered online due to COVID-19 restrictions. Some of our courses include:

  • Artificial Intelligence, Law & Society
  • Cyber Warfare Law
  • Legal App Development


Annie Haggar

Annie Haggar (BA/LLB ’06, GDLP ’07) has never been a tech whiz. She does not code and aside from Information Technology Law, she steered clear of most tech-oriented subjects at school and university. However, her curiosity in figuring out how things worked and playing with different gadgets led her towards a successful career working in technology law. 

Reclaiming a place for the law in the AI age

From data privacy to accountability of algorithms, there are a myriad of new challenges posed by the rapid reliance on artificial intelligence (AI) and big data.

While data-based technologies provide us with a world of possibilities, they also present a range of associated risks, ethical concerns and biases.  

This begs the question: what role can the law play in the regulation and governance of AI to ensure justice, social inclusivity and trust in administrative and contractual processes?


By Aiden Hookey (student ambassador)

A scholar at The Australian National University (ANU) College of Law and two of his stand-out students have been awarded significant funding to develop legal technology.

In the media

Turkish police detain 40 people over Twitch streamer money laundering scheme

Anton Moiseienko quoted in The Washington Post

The Australian Government Has Declared a War on Trolls

Faith Gordon interviewed by Vice Australia/NZ