The Law’s New Language?

Hey everyone, I hope your papers are going well. I wanted to share some fascinating research related to legal automation and linguistics that my former professor, Megan Ma, is doing, as I think has some relevance to our course. Her research specifically focuses on the code-ification of legal language, how that diverges from the current legal practices, and the advantages and challenges that code would present as the new language of law. Translating law into code would necessitate the hyper-simplification of “legalese” into machine-readable data that would leave no room for abstraction. Megan cites this code-ification as a solution to legal indeterminacies but also cautions that “[t]he law hinges on complicated sociopolitical relationships; metaphors that require latent understanding of temporal societal constructs,” making it potentially impossible to “translate such information into perfectly comprehensible instruction.”

I am attaching a teaser on her dissertation that she wrote for the Harvard International Law Journal and a podcast interview she did, both in 2020. I don’t know when it is going to be published, but also keep a lookout for her full PhD dissertation that she completed last week!