Law and Legal Science in the Age of Big Data
The paper aims to contribute to the understanding of the connection of law and legal science, on the one hand, and the Big Data phenomenon, on the other. The connection of Big Data and law can be thematised in several ways. This article makes a distinction whereby there are two levels of interplay between Big Data and the law (and legal science). Big Data on the one hand can be the subject of legal regulation and legal science, but it also can be a tool for better, ‘predictive’ law making and lawyering. This latter is also true for legal science: Big Data opens a whole range of possibilities as a new tool.Thus, this article discusses three fields and questions in three sections: 1. Big Data as the subject of legal regulation. What kind of moral questions does Big Data, and the predictive potential it has, raise? How does law recently frame, define and regulate the Big Data phenomenon? How does Big Data affect existing legal framework rules regarding privacy, data protection, competition, business regulatory, etc.? What will the new rules, regulating Big Data look like? 2. Big Data as a tool in the regulator’s and the lawyer’s hand. How can we exploit the new possibilities provided by Big Data in law making, policy creation and the application of law? How can we design new ways of ‘Big Data-based social engineering’? How can we create predictive tools and inferencing techniques based on Big Data in policing, law enforcement and litigation? Finally in part 3. I discuss the impact of Big Data on legal science. How can Big Data, as a research tool help legal science? How do we use legal data-sets and textual corpuses as BD? How will these ‘super-empirical’ research methods affect legal scholarship? What is the relationship between traditional doctrinal scholarship and the new types of BD-based research? How can we use statistical analysis, natural language processing, content analysis, machine learning, behavioural prediction, etc. in legal science?
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