Computational legalism and the affordance of delay in law

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Delay is a central element of law-as-we-know-it: the ability to interpret legal norms and contest their requirements is contingent on the temporal spaces that text affords citizens. As more computational systems are introduced into the legal system, these spaces are threatened with collapse, as the immediacy of ‘computational legalism’ dispenses with the natural ‘slowness’ of text. In order to preserve the nature of legal protection, we need to be clear about where in the legal process such delays play a normative role and to ensure that they are reflected in the affordances of the computational systems that are so introduced. This entails a focus on the design and production of such systems, and the resistance of the ideology of ‘efficiency’ that pervades contemporary development practices.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Cross-Disciplinary Research in Computational Law
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Affordance
  • Efficiency
  • Legality
  • computational legalism
  • Artificial Intelligence (incl. Robotics)


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