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76106 Technology Law, Policy and Ethics (Capstone 1)

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2018 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Law
Credit points: 6 cp
Result type: Grade and marks

Requisite(s): ((120 credit points of completed study in spk(s): C10124 Bachelor of Laws AND 108 credit points of completed study in spk(s): STM90832 LLB Core Subjects) OR 108 credit points of completed study in spk(s): STM90691 144cp Law Stream )


This subject explores the policy and ethical issues that arise in light of the impact that technology is having on the type of work that lawyers do and the way that they do it. There are three main types of change impacting the law at this time.

  1. Legal and discovery processes are all being automated. Automation is delivering cheaper legal services and managing vast quantities of data that need to be analysed and produced in court. As a result of this automation, the level of human review and oversight is being eroded.
  2. Law firms are changing their structure and modes of operation. Many are creating applications for the clients to assist in the way that they deal with their customers. Others are giving legal advice remotely and/or virtually. Both of these innovations are creating a distance between the lawyer and client; as well as denying lawyers a centralised collegiate and supportive workplace.
  3. Technology is changing the nature of transactions and ways of conducting business. These changes include less cash, digital signatures, and decentralised peer-to-peer economies. These innovations create challenges and opportunities for regulators and governments who want to ensure compliance with 'know your customer' and 'anti-money laundering' legislation and principles of good governance.

Lawyers need to be adaptive and technically capable. This subject explores the ethical and policy issues arising from these new social and business platforms enabled by innovative technologies.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:

1. Identify policy and ethical issues considerations arising from the government’s increasing access to more sophisticated means of surveillance and the legal tensions between secrecy vs privacy; .and public safety vs civil liberty.
2. Evaluate new riskobligations and ethical issues for the courts and practitioners arising from the use of technology in the delivery of justice and legal services.
3. Collaborate in groups and online to generate ideas and possible solutions to the challenges arising from new technologies.
4. Prepare and present lightning talks and case studies to the rest of the seminar, based on each topic in the subject.
5. Explore and reflect on the way that disruptive technologies challenge regulators across global jurisdictions, in particular the UN Declaration of Human Rights and the right to privacy.
6. Investigate how existing statutory instruments can regulate new business and payments models enabled by disruptive technologies.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes specifically to the development of the following graduate attributes which reflect the course intended learning outcomes:

  • Ethics and Professional Responsibility
    A capacity to value and promote honesty, integrity, accountability, public service and ethical standards including an understanding of approaches to ethical decision making, the rules of professional responsibility and, an ability to reflect upon and respond to ethical challenges in practice. (2.0)
  • Critical Analysis and Evaluation
    A capacity to think critically, strategically and creatively including an ability to identify and articulate legal issues, apply reasoning and research, engage in critical analysis and make reasoned choices. (3.0)
  • Communication and Collaboration
    Effective and appropriate communication skills including highly effective use of the English language, an ability to inform, analyse, report and persuade using an appropriate medium and message and an ability to respond appropriately. (5.0)

Teaching and learning strategies

Strategy 1: Students’ Preparation for Learning

Students read cases, legislation and articles and listen to TedTalks and similar online resources before attending seminars to prepare for tutorial activities.

Strategy 2: Learning though Seminar Discussion and Lightning talks

Each week, students will engage in discussion and oral presentations (including lightning talks) on various aspects of ethical and policy issues arising from disruptive technologies, with immediate feedback.

Strategy 3: Online learning

UTS Online is where students access material for self-directed learning and engage in student-led discussion on key topics. Students to share their questions and ideas on the open discussion forum (UTS Online), with prompt guidance and feedback from the Subject Coordinator.

Strategy 4: Collaborative Problem Solving

All students will collaborate in problem solving exercises in the legal technology context, often considering problems from different points of view, including regulators, legal practitioners and disruptors developing new technologies. Feedback will respond to students’ problem-solving strategies and modes of expression.

Strategy 5: Ongoing Feedback

Structured feedback is provided individually and to teams within the seminar group. There will also be formative assessment tasks, self-assessment tasks and oral presentations, as well as formal assessments. Detailed guidance as to the assessment criteria and the provision of timely feedback will form an important part of the learning process.

Content (topics)

  • The law’s obligation to keep pace with technology
  • Innovation in the age of statutes
  • Surveillance, smart phones, and sensors: drawing a line on what’s legal
  • Defending the automation of evidentiary processes
  • The end of financial privacy in cashless societies
  • Regulation and policy in a jurisdictional vacuum
  • Trust and distrust in decentralised economies
  • Technology’s solutions to wicked problems
  • iAdvocate versus Rumpole


Assessment task 1: Seminar Preparation


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

3, 4 and 5

This task contributes specifically to the development of the following graduate attributes:

2.0, 3.0 and 5.0

Weight: 20%

Preparation, Attendance and Participation:

  • Regular and active participation in tutorials
  • Collaborative engagement in discussions and problem solving exercises; generating ideas, making decisions, resolving conflicts, adopting various roles and undertaking core leadership functions within a group discussion
  • Logical, succinct and persuasive oral presentation of findings and arguments to the class, often on behalf of their discussion group
  • Identification of relevant issues in the context of the subject themes.

Assessment task 2: Online Reflective Journal (Blog)


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

1, 2 and 5

This task contributes specifically to the development of the following graduate attributes:

2.0, 3.0 and 5.0

Weight: 40%

2,500 words


The assessment criteria feedback sheet will be provided in the Learning Guide.

The criteria are as follows:

  • Clear statement of a particular
  • Identification of relevant issues in the context of the subject themes.
  • Correct and persuasive identification of legal and ethical issues arising from the particular technological innovation under discussion
  • Engagement with scholarship in relation to the policy or ethical concerns arising from the use of a particular technological innovation or platform
  • Reflection on what is understood from research, discussion, presentations, and in class collaboration
  • Critical analysis, evaluation and original insight
  • Succinct plain English academic expression
  • Footnoting and bibliography in accordance with AGLC (3rd edn)

Assessment task 3: Take home exam


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

3 and 5

This task contributes specifically to the development of the following graduate attributes:

2.0, 3.0 and 5.0

Weight: 40%
  • Identification of relevant issues in the context of the subject themes;
  • Application of rules and case law;
  • Critical analysis, evaluation and original insight; and
  • Academic writing and plain English expression.