LawTech.Asia

Southeast Asia's foremost Law & Technology Review

Category: Events

The Power and Pitfalls of Smart Contracts: A Recap

Written by Chelsea Chan | Edited by Amelia Chew & Irene Ng

LawTech.Asia had the privilege of being a media partner for TechLaw.Fest 2018. The inaugural TechLaw.Fest held from 4 to 6 April 2018 saw the convergence of legal professionals, technologists, entrepreneurs and policy makers, conversant and passionate about Technology Law and Legal Technology, coming together to discuss the future of Singapore’s technology scene. This article summarises one of the panel discussions held on 5 April 2018 titled “The Power and Pitfalls of Smart Contracts”.

The discussion was chaired by Joyce A. Tan (Joyce A. Tan & Partners); and the panel comprised of Ashton Addison (CEO and Founder, Eventchain.io), Sopnendu Mohanty (Chief Fintech Officer, Monetary Authority of Singapore), Hirofumi Aihara (General Manager of Digital Innovation, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group), Tomasz Kurcyzk (Digital Transformation Director, AXA Singapore) and Stella Cramer (APAC Head of Technology & Innovation, Norton Rose Fulbright).

After the introduction by Joyce Tan, Ashton Addison elaborated on the basics of a smart contract and potential technological pitfalls. A Smart Contract is an agreement converted into a small piece of software, which stores the rules and terms of the agreement and when met automatically executes exactly how it was coded. The appeal of a Smart Contract lies in its automation and that it is fully transparent, so the code reflecting contractual terms can be seen by anyone regardless of privity to contract. However, bugs in the code may lead to loss of funds. Further, large transactions are currently not possible since Ethereum can only handle 13 transactions per second, potentially creating a significant backlog if applied to current business transactions.

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UNCITRAL E-Commerce Law 2.0: Blockchain and Smart Contracts

Guest Post by Irene Ng

Irene Ng is a Fellow at the Stanford-Vienna Transatlantic Technology Law Forum and a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Vienna. On March 17, 2018, Irene shared about how UNCITRAL e-commerce texts can interact with blockchain and smart contracts at the Computational Law & Blockchain Festival, Singapore Node. The following post is a summary of her presentation and answer to some queries that were asked.

1. What is UNCITRAL?

UNCITRAL stands for the United Nations Commission for International Trade Law. It is the main body of the United Nations that aims to promote trade amongst states through modernizing and harmonizing rules for international commerce. UNCITRAL has undertaken work in a wide range of commercial law issues, such as micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), arbitration and conciliation, investor-state dispute settlement reform, electronic commerce, insolvency law, security interests and international sale of goods.

2. What are UNCITRAL E-Commerce Texts and how are they related to Singapore’s e-commerce laws?

In the field of e-commerce, UNCITRAL has released four texts in the last two decades or so. The first legislative text was the Model Law on Electronic Commerce (1996). Subsequently, UNCITRAL released the Model Law on Electronic Signatures (2001), the Electronic Communications Convention (2005), and, more recently, the Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records (2017). These texts intend to facilitate e-commerce transactions by establishing rules to allow the electronic equivalent of paper-based documents to be legally recognised, thereby removing obstacles encountered by the use of electronic means.

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TechLaw.Fest Quick Chats: Serena Lim, Bizibody

Interview by Audrey Koo and Eugene Tham | Edited by Jennifer Lim Wei Zhen

TechLaw.Fest 2018 will take place from 4 to 6 April 2018 in Singapore, bringing together the movers and shakers in the space of Technology Law and Legal Technology. In the lead-up to TechLaw.Fest, the LawTech.Asia team will be bringing to you regular interviews and shout-outs covering prominent speakers and the topics they will be speaking at TechLaw.Fest.

LawTech.Asia sat down for a chat with Serena Lim, Director at Bizibody Technology, Opus 2 International (Singapore) and Litigation Edge. Prior to founding Bizibody, she was the managing director of Khattar Wong & Partner’s Hong Kong Office. She is, inter alia, a specialist in practice management technologies, and is a consultant for discovery, litigation and court technologies.

At TechLaw.Fest 2018, Serena will be a panellist at the “Legal Tech Primer Session” at the Tech of Law Exchange. She will be introducing current legal research, document review and knowledge management tools.

What are some examples of legal secretarial work that are repetitive, and which your company has helped automated?

Two examples are (1) billings and (2) document preparation. These are areas of legal practice in which automation is possible and useful.

Let me illustrate what a law firm has to do without the aid of automation when issuing  bills or doing substantive legal work such as conveyancing, personal injury, debt collection and corporate secretarial work.

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TechLaw.Fest Quick Chats: Hugh Mason, JFDI.Asia

Interview by Amelia Chew

TechLaw.Fest 2018 will bring together leading Technology Law thinkers and Legal Technology vendors from 4 to 6 April 2018 at Suntec Convention Centre, Singapore. Within it, the TechLaw.Fest Hackathon will be an intense, fast-paced 48-hour event challenging legal professionals, software developers and designers to come up with out-of-the-box solutions to problems faced by lawyers, in-house counsels and users of legal services. The event has a particular focus on personal data protection and the challenges faced by data protection officers (DPOs) in Singapore. The top three teams will receive prize vouchers worth up to $12,000 and the opportunity to develop their solutions further under SAL’s Future Law Innovation Programme (FLIP) Accelerator Programme.

Hugh Mason, CEO of JFDI.Asia, is partnering with the Singapore Academy of Law (SAL) to operate the FLIP Accelerator and will also serve as a judge in the TechLaw.Fest Hackathon. Here, the LawTech.Asia team asked him how he saw teams from the hackathon following through to make their ideas real.

We understand that you will be running the accelerator programme under SAL’s Future Law Innovation Programme (FLIP). How does this fit into SAL’s Legal Tech Vision?

One way of thinking about innovation is to see it on three ‘Horizons’.

Horizon 1 is the known world of work we see today: the core business of lawyers and their clients as we know it. Here we are looking for efficiency savings by using off-the-shelf productivity tools. The LIFTED programme at SAL addresses this aspect of the SAL Legal Tech Vision, as does the incubator at Collision 8.

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TechLaw.Fest Quick Chats: Associate Professor Warren Chik, Singapore Management University School of Law

Interview by Josh Lee | Edited by Jennifer Lim Wei Zhen

TechLaw.Fest 2018 will take place from 4 to 6 April 2018 in Singapore, bringing together the movers and shakers in the space of Technology Law and Legal Technology. In the lead-up to TechLaw.Fest, the LawTech.Asia team will be bringing to you regular interviews and shout-outs covering prominent speakers and the topics they will be speaking at TechLaw.Fest.

This week, LawTech.Asia sat down for a chat with Professor Warren Chik, Associate Professor of Law at the Singapore Management University (SMU) School of Law. Among other things, Prof Chik specialises in topics such as Innovation, Technology and the Law.

At TechLaw.Fest 2018, Prof Chik will be moderating a discussion titled, “Smart Regulation for a Smart Nation”, which features a diverse panel of representatives from the private sector, lawyers, regulators and the finance industry. He will also be a participating in a panel on “Wising-up to the Mass Distribution of False Information”.

Image credit: SMU School of Law

Smart technology is the bedrock of the Smart Nation initiative. What are the regulatory approaches available for the regulation of smart technology?

Preliminarily, it’s important to remember that the kinds of  regulation needed in one field may be different from the type of regulation needed in another field. So, for instance, the regulation of data may be different from the regulation of the finance industry.

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TechLaw.Fest Quick Chats: Matt Pollins, CMS Singapore

Interview by Utsav Rakshit | Edited by Amelia Chew

TechLaw.Fest 2018 will take place from 4 to 6 April 2018 in Singapore, bringing together leading thinkers in the space of Technology Law and leading makers in the space of Legal Technology. In the lead-up to TechLaw.Fest, the LawTech.Asia team will bring you regular interviews and shout-outs covering prominent speakers and the topics they will be speaking at TechLaw.Fest.

This week, LawTech.Asia sat down for a chat with Matt Pollins, Partner at CMS Singapore and CMS “Innovation Champion”. He leads the Commercial and Technology, Media and Communications team. Matt will be speaking at the Tech of Law Exchange on the panel titled Deliberate Disruption: A Tale of Three Law Firm Tech Journeys.

What steps has CMS taken to embrace new technologies?

CMS has been investing in legal technology for the past 20 years. If you rewind to the 90s, CMS first started using platforms like document automation in our Real Estate and Finance practice groups.

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TechLaw.Fest Quick Chats: Edmund Koh, INTELLLEX

Interview by Jennifer Lim Wei Zhen | Edited by Amelia Chew

TechLaw.Fest 2018 will take place from 4-6 April 2018 in Singapore, bringing together leading thinkers in the space of Technology Law and leading makers in the space of Legal Technology. In the lead-up to TechLaw.Fest, the LawTech.Asia team will bring you regular interviews and shout-outs covering prominent speakers and the topics they will be speaking at TechLaw.Fest.

This week, LawTech.Asia sat down for a chat with Edmund Koh, Chief of Staff & General Counsel at INTELLLEX. Edmund will be speaking at the Law of Tech Conference on the panel titled Legal Issues in Legal Tech.

Edmund Koh (far right) with the INTELLLEX team

What do you think of Singapore’s Legal Tech Vision released by the Singapore Academy of Law (SAL)?

It is a very ambitious and timely roadmap for law firms in Singapore. It’s a call for law firms to start embracing technology and innovation. In other industries, there has been more of an impetus to adopt technology already as it clearly makes a person’s work more efficient. In contrast, for the longest time, lawyers have thought that our work is so different and unique that it is not susceptible to disruption by technology. I think that is changing. The Legal Tech Vision is really telling the legal landscape that everyone should sit up and take note of what’s going on.

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LawTech.Asia: Media Partner for TechLaw.Fest 2018!

We are proud to be recognised an official media partner for TechLaw.Fest 2018!

Organised by the Singapore Academy of Law, the inaugural TechLaw.Fest 2018 (held from 4 to 6 April 2018) is a convention that will be the focal point of leading thinkers in technology law and legal technology.

Key highlights of TechLaw.Fest 2018 include:

  • A main conference themed “Smart Regulations for a Digital Economy”, which will dive deep into novel regulatory approaches tested to help societies and businesses navigate the world of rapid technology growth and the accompanying legal issues.
  • Over 50 prominent speakers, who will speak about and lead panel discussions on smart regulations and technologies and the impact of technology on legal practice.
  • Sessions, panels, dialogues, exhibitions, hackathons, masterclasses and workshops on all things law and technology (and in-between), with a target audience of 3,000 visitors and 500 delegates comprising of lawyers, policymakers, technologists and business vendors.

From now to April 2016, the LawTech.Asia team will bring you regular interviews and shout-outs covering prominent speakers and the topics they will be speaking at TechLaw.Fest. These speakers include key leaders from:

  • Intelllex
  • Law Society of Singapore
  • Microsoft Singapore
  • ROSS Intelligence
  • Singapore Management University
  • Uber Asia Pacific
  • And more!

LawTech.Asia readers will also receive special perks, including a promo code that gives you a discount off full-price passes for TechLaw.Fest. To stay updated, please like the LawTech.Asia Facebook page and join the Legal Hackers SG Facebook group.   

We’re raring to have you join us in exploring the constantly-moving intersection of law and technology. Check back on our site regularly to ensure that you get the latest coverage, updates and news about TechLaw.Fest 2018!

We also wish to take this opportunity to wish all our readers a happy and prosperous Lunar New Year!

The LawTech.Asia Team

The Future of Law Conference 2017: Charting the Converging Paths of Law and Technology

Written by Amelia Chew & Jerrold Soh

Editor’s note: This article was originally published on Singapore Law Blog. We would like to thank Singapore Law Blog for graciously allowing us to reproduce this article on this site for our readers.

Jointly organised by the Centre for Cross-Border Commercial Law in Asia at the Singapore Management University (SMU) School of Law and Osborne Clarke, the inaugural Future of Law Conference that took place from 26 to 27 October 2017 brought together leading academics and practitioners from around the world to tackle issues at the intersection of law and technology. This article provides but a snippet of the insights discussed at the conference.

The Relationship Between Humans & Artificial Intelligence

In his opening keynote speech, Professor Ian Kerr (University of Ottawa) spoke about the ethical and legal concerns surrounding delegating previously exclusively-human decisions to machines. Given that we are only at the stage of artificial narrow intelligence (ANI) at the moment, the concern is less about a dystopian future where robots may potentially overthrow humans and more about how we can manage the relationship between artificial intelligence (AI) and humans. As an increase in machine autonomy correlates with a decrease in human control, it is crucial to establish safeguards to deal with a situation where a machine demonstrates emergent behaviour.

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