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LAW8577 : Law and Emerging Technologies

  • Offered for Year: 2024/25
  • Module Leader(s): Professor Ben Farrand
  • Lecturer: Dr Ilke Turkmendag
  • Owning School: Newcastle Law School
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus

Your programme is made up of credits, the total differs on programme to programme.

Semester 1 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0
European Credit Transfer System


This core module for the Emerging Technologies and the Law LLM is intended to provide students with a comprehensive and holistic understanding of the complexities of regulating new and emerging technologies, as well as considering emerging approaches to existing technological issues. It serves as a foundation for the consideration of specific technological areas/sectors in other modules such as Digital Taxation and Law, Governance & AI, and as such touches upon a wide variety of different areas of law and technology, using interdisciplinary methods. The module also features the use of case studies as a way of demonstrating the complexities and challenges when faced with regulating technologies, which can change and adapt each academic year based on current trends, issues of legal controversy or emerging research issues in a way that ensures the continued relevance of the modules and interest of students. It is intended to be responsive to student interests, allowing for a student-centred adaptation of the curriculum year-on-year, without losing sight of the underlying objective of furnishing students with the understanding of law and governance as applied to technological issues.

Outline Of Syllabus

The proposed outline of the syllabus is as follows, with the proviso that case studies will change each year dependent upon current issues, controversies and developments.

1.       An introduction to Law, Science, Technology and Society:
2.       Science, Technology and Society: Insights from Science and Technology Studies I
3.       Technological innovation and society: societies and technological innovation, responsible innovation and ethics
4.       Multistakeholderism in policy development
5.       Risk society and risk regulation
6.       Case Study I (indicative subject: Law and intellectual property)
7.       Case Study II (indicative subject: Law and robotics)
8.       Case Study III (indicative subject: Law and cybersecurity)
9.       Case Study IV (indicative subject: Law and biomedicine/bioengineering)
10.       Drawing the threads together: a conclusion on technology governance

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion150:0050:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading120:0020:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching102:0020:00FLEX: can be moved online
Structured Guided LearningStructured research and reading activities42:008:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery41:004:00FLEX: can be moved online
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study198:0098:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Students’ main form of teaching contact will be in the form of small-group teaching sessions, which will combine elements of interactive lecture, teacher-directed dialogue, and student-led discussions. These will be facilitated by the structured research and reading activities, where in advance of each case study session, students will be expected to read and take notes on one of the pieces provided on that particular technology and its legal challenges, reflect on the main arguments of that piece, and then search legal databases or other available resources for academic articles providing contrasting opinions or other perspectives to the assigned paper. Students will be expected to use this structured research activity to present a position in the workshop, allowing for a dedicated student-led approach to the classes.

In addition to these formal classes, there will be a number of drop-in/surgery hours, where students can ask questions regarding course content, specific readings, or to prepare for the assessment for the module. Directed research and reading will be prepared for each session, which allows students to develop greater insight into the areas of technology governance discussed in each workshop, with an additional reading list provided on Canvas as further readings or a library list, which can then be used by students drafting their research proposal during their assessment preparation and completion.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Research paper1M753000 words
Written exercise1M251000 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The first assessment for the module provided in the form of a 1,000 word writing activity. Set at the beginning of semester and drawing from the content of the first four weeks of the module content, this activity both familiarises students with the expectations and conventions of writing at LLM level, as well as allowing for students to be assessed on their understanding of the concepts of law, regulation and governance, and their application to technology. The feedback provided in this assessment will directly prepare students for their final assessed essay for the module, and has been designed as a summative with a clear formative dimension in order to ensure effective student engagement with the task.

The final summative component is a 3,000-word assessed research essay. Students will be expected to answer one of five assigned questions that each covers a range of issues covered in the module, or alternatively, propose their own research essay that is subject to module leader approval. This assessed essay will test their ability to think critically and reflect upon both module content and the substance of the interdisciplinary course content, so that they are able to then apply their law and governance knowledge to questions concerning a number of complex real-world scenario situations, be they related to topics such as the interaction between formal and informal governance over robotics research, or the interactions between economic and social objectives and biomedical research. Students will be expected to go beyond ‘traditional’ doctrinal assessment, engaging with a wider body of materials (as discussed throughout the course), to provide a more holistic understanding of the challenges in governing emerging technologies.

Reading Lists