Law Professor Richard Susskind is advocating for lawyers and businesses in the UK to invest in a new national institute for legal innovation to address the challenges associated with artificial intelligence (AI), following the lead of other jurisdictions. Susskind, a director of LegalUK, an organization promoting English common law as the preferred governing law for international business.
Digital changes, including AI, are transforming the law profession in a way that is producing new issues around ethics, law jobs, legal management and a range of other key issues.
Susskind, a law ‘futurologist’ who has lectured and written widely on the future of law and law practice, emphasizes that relying on tradition is no longer sustainable in the face of rapid technological advancements.
To maintain leadership in the UK justice and legal systems, he believes innovation and the adoption of technology are essential.
Susskind argues that the UK’s legal and common law heritage alone cannot effectively tackle AI-related issues. Instead, he proposes bringing together the best legal and technology experts to harness the full potential of AI, which can offer both economic opportunities and challenges to the legal profession.
English common law has proven successful in addressing the complexities of globalized financial markets, particularly in areas like fintech, crypto, digital ledger technology, NFTs, and AI.
Recently, the Law Commission released a report on digital assets suggesting that these technologies should be categorized as a new class of “digital objects” outside traditional definitions of personal property under English law.
This report lays the groundwork for the UK government’s ambition to establish the country as a global hub for technological innovation and development, including AI.
Susskind highlights China’s plans to implement an AI system to support its civil law by 2025, as well as the European Commission’s efforts to lead AI regulation from an EU law perspective.
In contrast, he characterizes the UK’s response to technological advancements as fragmented and lacking coordination. Currently, there is no centralized body responsible for the development of national law and legal services.
Susskind is calling for the establishment of a new national institute for legal innovation that can systematically bring together the best legal minds, enabling the UK to position itself as a global leader.
He emphasizes that until now, the dominant voices have been those viewing AI and technology as problems rather than recognizing the clear opportunities they present. Meanwhile, the pace of technological change continues to accelerate.
The proposed institute would serve as a focal point in the UK for generating fresh ideas on improving access to justice, preserving the country’s global standing, and responding to the rapid development of technology.
Susskind also believes there is an excellent opportunity for UK courts to embrace technological change—for instance, by assisting self-represented litigants in understanding and enforcing their rights.
Susskind urges lawyers and businesses to invest in a new national institute for legal innovation, emphasizing the importance of embracing technology and AI as a positive force while addressing associated challenges.