Critical Legal Tech

Legal Technologies such as chatbots or automated document verification are becoming increasingly important and are able to increase accessibility and efficiency of the legal system. At the same time, “Legal Tech” became an important economic sector over the last years, fostering the interest to push digital technologies into the legal domain. This ongoing digital transformation has the potential to change the operations of the legal system through its infrastructures in ways not imagined before.

Thus, a critical investigation, exploring the potential and possible issues with these new technologies becomes equally important as the technological shift itself. Especially, as the applied technologies are not neutral, but transport specific visions of the law and the society it addresses. Legal Tech impacts the way how law is practised within its institutions and professional fields. Within the Critical Legal Tech group, we therefore investigate how the legal system and its inner logic change based on the usage of such technologies. Furthermore, we explore how the introduction of new technologies is changing the mechanisms of knowing, decoding and legitimizing within the legal domain.

The Critical Legal Tech group assembles scholars from different academic fields and institutions, such as STS, Legal Studies, Sociology, and Computer Science, to bridge discussions of legal theory with theoretical and empirical studies on digital technologies. By combining social, technological, and legal aspects in our work, we aim to create new perspectives on Digital Legal Tech and to foster reflexive forms of technology adaption within the legal system.

The Critical Legal Tech Group is led by Nikolaus Poechhacker, a Science and Technology scholar with a professional background in IT, who is currently focusing on the social dimensions of digital technologies and algorithms.