Associate Professor Harry Surden organized a first-of-its-kind workshop on computable contracts last month. Held Sept. 8-9 at Stanford Law School, the two-day workshop focused on designing and implementing a system of contractual obligations that computers can automatically process, understand, and assess compliance. This concept is based on a 2012 law review article by Surden.
The workshop, "Legal Specification Protocol Development Initial Working Session: Computable Contracts Focus," aimed to bring stakeholders together to form a Legal Specification Protocol—"a coordinated, interoperable standard for embodying contracts and other legal formulations as executable computer code." The event's purpose and goals appear below.
Purpose: The goal of this working meeting is to gather a number of stakeholders ranging from entrepreneurial business leaders to legal service providers, technology companies, academics, and government agencies to begin a process that will lead to the promulgation of a coordinated, interoperable standard for embodying contracts and other legal formulations as executable computer code: a Legal Specification Protocol (LSP).
Surden’s scholarly work revolves around legal informatics, artificial intelligence, and law such as machine and learning law, legal automation, and self-driving/autonomous vehicle issues. He also studies intellectual property law, and in particular patents and copyright as well as information privacy law. He teaches Torts, Patent Law, and Introduction to Intellectual Property Law.