Introduction to Digital Law

Course content

The impact of digitization, from a legal perspective, is pervasive, inevitable and irresistible. It continuously transforms the legal relationships of various actors, people, and entities. Such transformation mainly derives either from the inherent aspects of data: its exchange, usage, and storage, or the imminent shift that digitization creates in the interpretation of legal concepts such as liability, property, autonomy, public space, and currency. It further has an intrinsic correlation with digitalization, which has an equally pervasive and vital impact on the implementation of the law. The latter also fundamentally reshapes the way legal concepts are interpreted, the contracts are drafted, and risks and liabilities are allocated. Digitization is essentially carried out through digitalization. Thus, we now look at various legal concepts through a digital lens to be able to accurately evaluate them. This course aims to provide a holistic understanding of the way these correlated concepts of digitization and digitalization are legally implemented, what the regulatory barriers as well as legal and ethical concerns regarding their implementations are, and what the challenges pertaining to the allocation of risks and liabilities that may arise concerning their implementation are. This course is research-based and mainly includes examples and cases from industries in which digitization and digitalization are centrally integrated into the operation.


Among others, the course deals with topics such as:

  • Privacy, Data Protection and Law
  • Autonomy and Automation
  • Artificial Intelligence, Relevant Technologies and Law
  • Digitalization and Life-Cycle of Contracts
  • Digital Property
  • Blockchain and Smart Contracts
  • Digital Public Space and Platforms
  • Digital Dispute Resolution
  • Digitalization and Ethics
  • Digitalization, Autonomy and Automation in Transport Law (Autonomous ships, Remotely-Controlled Ships, Autonomous Cars)
  • Re-evaluating contract law concepts in light of digitalization
  • Digital Twins
  • Digitalization, Justice, and Law Practice in the Digital Era


Being an introductory course, the course does not require prior knowledge of the topic.

Learning outcome

The course is focused both on theoretical and practical issues, as well as possible solutions as they appear from legislation (or from the lack of it) and relevant case law. 


Students shall have knowledge of:

  • Contemporary concepts of digitization and digitalization and their correlation with the law
  • Relevant concepts of digital law as defined by law and developed by case law
  • Policy considerations underlying the various parts of digital law (i.e.: the need for regulation, for remedial action, for consumer protection)
  • Ethical and moral issues concerning various aspects of digitization and digitalization



In terms of skills, students shall be able to:

  • Understand general rules and principles of digital law
  • Identify and understand the different aspects and implications of digital environment and products, as well as the transformation of legal concepts due to digitization and digitalization
  • Explain the shift that digitization creates in the interpretation of the relevant legal concepts
  • Explain how digitization, from a legal perspective, continuously transforms the legal relationships of various actors, people and entities



In terms of competences, students shall be prepared to:

  • Evaluate legal concepts and contemporary practices from the perspective of digital law and hence, to develop a multi-layered legal evaluation of these
  • Critically reflect on current and future developments in the field of digital law
  • Present arguments for and against different available solutions in a structured and coherent manner that demonstrates a good overview of and insight into digital law, as well as the ability to make a qualified choice between these solutions
  • Evaluate the challenges pertaining to the allocation of risks and liabilities that may arise concerning the implementation of regulatory barriers and ethical concerns

The course takes the format of lectures and active class participation. Hence, whenever possible, the participation of the students is expected, encouraged and appreciated. Students are therefore required to prepare themselves by:
- deliver presentations and provide feedback to their peers,
- working on assignments (either individually or in groups, as the case may be),
- engaging in the exchange of ideas throughout the classes and other activities required.

This is a course on digitization and digitalization, and it touches upon various issues from cryptocurrencies to autonomous vehicles. New material becomes available every day as innovation and technological developments unfold. No general textbook available for the course but there are rather various sources. Accordingly, all relevant material (reports on technological developments, news articles, academic papers, cases, YouTube videos, UK Law Commission Reports, IMO Reports, Briefings on EU Commission proposals etc.) are uploaded on Absalon for students to access. Some lengthy documents are not expected to be entirely read by the students but they are rather made available should the student like to read more on relevant subjects. Accordingly, it is not possible to provide an exact number of pages for students to read but rather this will depend on how detailed research they would like to conduct while they are preparing their assignments and the exam. The material is constantly updated for the new teaching period.

However, some of the relevant material for this course in 2023/2024 can be seen here to get a general idea concerning the course literature – please note that this does not reflect all the relevant material for 2024/2025 and the material will be updated for 2024/2025:

  • Felix Bieker, The Right to Data Protection, Springer, 2022, p.143-172: ‘The Right to Data Protection: The Current Doctrinal Discourse
  • Ian Trzaskowski and Max Gersvang Sørensen, GDPR Compliance, Ex Tuto Publishing, 2022 – relevant parts.
  • Stephen Breen, Karim Ouazzane and Preeti Patel, GDPR: Is your consent valid? Business Information Review, 2020, Vol. 37(1) 19–24
  • Handbook on European data protection law (2018 edition)
  • UK Law Commission, Digital Assets Report, Law Com No 412, 27 June 2023
  • Aaron Perzanowski and Jason Schultz, The End of Ownership: PersonalProperty in Digital Economy, MIT Press 2016, Chapter 2.
  • Jason G Allen (et al), Legal and Regulatory Considerations For Digital Assets,Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance
  • Primavera De Filippi and Aaron Wright, Blockchain and the Law, Harvard University Press, 2019.
  • Angela Walch, In Code(rs) We Trust: Software Developers as Fiduciaries in Public Blockchains Chapter in Regulating Blockchain. Techno-Social and Legal Challenges, edited by Philipp Hacker, Ioannis Lianos, Georgios Dimitropoulos & Stefan Eich, Oxford University Press, 2019.
  • Jan Trzaskowski et al., Introduction to EU Internet Law, Ex Tuto, 2023 – relevant parts
  • Arne Manzeschke and Alexander Brink, Ethics of Digitalization in Industry, in Walter Frenz (ed) Handbook Industry 4.0. - Law, Technology, Society, Springer, 2022
  • David Leslie, Understanding Artificial Intelligence Ethics and Safety, The Alan Turing Institute, 2019
  • Glenn Wright, Autonomy, Automation and Reasoning, in Glenn Wright (ed) Unmanned and Autonomous Ships – An Overview of MASS, Routledge, 2020.
  • Dolores Morondo Taramundi, Discrimination by Machine-Based Decisions: Inputs and Limits of Anti-discrimination Law, in Custers and Fosch-Villaronga (eds) Law and Artificial Intelligence, Information Technology and Law Series.
  • Xenophobic machines: Discrimination through unregulated use of algorithms in the Dutch childcare benefits scandal, October 2021 - Amnesty International
  • Approaches to Regulating Artificial Intelligence: A Primer, National Conference of State Legislators (updated August 2023)
  • Stefan Grundmann and Philipp Hacker, Digital Technology as a Challange to European Contract Law - From the Existing to the Future Architecture, 2017, (reviewed 2019), 13 European Review of Contract Law 255-293
  • Alexander Savelyev, Contract Law 2.0: Smart Contracts as the Beginning of the End of Classic Contract Law, National Research University - Working Paper Series: LAW WP BRP 71/LAW/2016
  • Noussia, Gocmen and Glynou, Legal and Ethical Aspects of Autonomous Vehicles, in Noussia and Channon (eds) The Regulation of Automated and Autonomous Transport, Springer 2023


It is illegal to share digital textbooks with each other without permission from the copyright holder.

Minimal research skills are needed to complete some of the assignments.

The courses It-ret and Introduction to Digital Law are mutually exclusive. In your course of study, you can only follow and be examined in one of these courses.

Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)

The course aims to make use of multiple types of feedback in order to ensure, on the one hand, the constant communication between teacher and students, and, on the other hand, that students understand what is expected of them and learn the outcome of their work througout the course

Type of assessment
Home assignment
Type of assessment details
Individual written assignment

Read about the descriptions of the individual exam forms, including formal requirements, scope and deadlines in the exam catalogue

Read about practical exam conditions at KUnet

Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Exam period

Hand-in date: January 2, 2025


Hand-in date: February 12, 2025

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Preparation
  • 356,5
  • Seminar
  • 56
  • English
  • 412,5


Course number
Programme level
Full Degree Master
Full Degree Master choice

1 semester

  1. Students enrolled at Faculty of Law or holding a pre-approval: No tuition fee
  2. Professionals: Please visit our website  
Please see schedule for teaching time
Contracting department
  • Law
Contracting faculty
  • Faculty of Law
Course Coordinator
  • Asli Arda   (9-4c7e7774394c7d6f6c4b75807d397680396f76)
Saved on the 15-05-2024

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