Brunschwig on Visual Law and Legal Design: Questions and Tentative Answers

Colette R. Brunschwig, University of Zurich, Department of Law, Centre for Legal History, Legal Visualization Unit, has published Visual Law and Legal Design: Questions and Tentative Answers in Proceedings of the 24th International Legal Informatics Symposium IRIS 2021 179-230 (Erich Schweighofer, Franz Kummer, Ahti Saarenpää, Stefan Eder, and Philip Hanke, Bern: Editions Weblaw, 2021). Here is the abstract.

This paper rests on three premises: First, ongoing digitalization is unleashing visualization (still or moving images) and audio visualization (videos, audiovisual animations, etc.). This massive technological development is also initiating multi sensorization (humanoid robots, virtual realities, etc). Second, visual law and legal design are still largely unknown as fi elds of scholarly inquiry to many legal and non-legal actors. My paper therefore uses “visual law” and “legal design” as working terms to delineate these fi elds. Third, I take an etymological approach to the word “responsible” featuring in the conference title of the International Symposion on Legal Informatics 2020 as it implies a quality that is required of digitalization. The English adjective “responsible” comes from the Latin verb respondēre, whose meanings include answering (responding) and corresponding to something. Based on these premises, this paper explores four key questions: How does current legal research respond to visualization? What are visual law and legal design? How are visual law and legal design similar or diff erent? What should visual lawyers or legal designers do to act responsibly in the face of ongoing digitalization? Tackling these questions yields new insights for the debate on legal visualization. The answers given in this paper reveal how various basic legal disciplines and law-and areas gravitate around this topic. The answers also demonstrate that the insights of the basic legal disciplines and law-and areas are or should be interconnected. Taking such steps will promote not only visualization itself but also interdisciplinary legal research on this important topic.

Download the essay from SSRN at the link.