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Law, Technological Management and the Future of Agency

William Lucy, Professor, Durham University Law School

Chair: Scott Veitch, Paul K C Chung Professor in Jurisprudence, The University of Hong Kong

Date: February 20, 2024 (Tuesday)

Time: 12pm - 1pm

Venue: Academic Conference Room, 11/F Cheng Yu Tung Tower, The University of Hong Kong

Abstract: I begin with a contrast between two competing regulatory paradigms – law on the one hand, technological management on the other – and their constitutive assumptions and strategies. These two ideal types are undoubtedly rooted in the doctrines, policies and practice of the major common and civil law legal systems, but I argue that we must accept the suggestion that the current direction of regulatory travel in those jurisdictions is from legal regulation to technological management. That being so, I consider one consequence of this journey, namely, its potential impact upon agency. By agency I refer to a particular form of human being in the world and determine whether, and if so how, this form of being in the world might be affected by the transition from legal regulation to technological management. I argue, perhaps implausibly, that agency is quantifiable and that technological management, as a regulatory paradigm, is neither agency-increasing nor even agency-respecting. It might, indeed, be agency-reducing. I suggest that either of the last two possibilities has significant consequences for our related notions of autonomy and freedom. 


About the speaker: Professor Lucy’s areas of research expertise are private law and legal philosophy. He has been a Professor at Durham Law School since 2012 and previously was a Professor at the Law Schools of Manchester, Cardiff, Keele, and Hull. He holds an undergraduate degree in law and postgraduate degrees in jurisprudence and in political philosophy. His monographs include Understanding and Explaining Adjudication, Philosophy of Private Law (both with Clarendon Press, Oxford), and Law's Judgement, based in part upon work funded by the Leverhulme Trust. His recent work on law and new technologies has been published in the Cambridge Law Journal and the Modern Law Review. He is a Paul KC Chung Visiting Professor at the University of Hong Kong in February 2024.

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For inquiries, please contact Ms. Grace Chan at / 3917 4727.

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