Jur News: blockchain
2 min read
Jur is pleased to be part of Tech Law Clinics 2021 edition, an annual moot court hosted by the prestigious Radboud University in The Netherlands. Tech Law Clinics is an international project, bringing law students in touch with cutting-edge technologies. The event is an occasion for law students to test their learnings on real-case scenarios, by acting as lawyers and judges in a case at the crossroads between private law and new technologies. Judges, law firms, and tech companies coach the teams and prepare them for the oral hearings. Jur’s dispute resolution platform, the Court Layer, was part of the environment used by Radboud and other universities to run fictional procedural orders of the moots. The Court Layer is an online dispute resolution platform whose basic flow and mechanics host the Open Justice Platform that Jur is presently developing. About 80 students from four different universities have already been instructed in January on the dispute resolution procedures available in the Court Layer. Apart from Radboud, the universities involved are UCLy (Lyon, FR), Jagiellonian University (Krakow, PL), University of Lodz (Lodz, PL). The sessions provided Jur with useful feedback on the dispute resolution flow engineered in the Court Layer and expanded its university network in France and Poland. The moot itself will take place in March. A true elite of experts from the fields of legal tech and dispute resolution are participating in Tech Law Clinic. Radboud University will be represented by legal tech experts starting with Professor André Janssen, Assistant Professor Pietro Ortolani, and PhD candidate Tom J. Vennmanns will be present. On the other hand, Poland will have private law experts such as Monika Namyslowska, Director of the Department of European Private Law of the University of Lodz, and Piotr Tereszkiewicz, Associate Professor in Private Law of Jagiellonski University. Topping it all off, the President of Chamber at the Administrative Court of Lyon, Marc Clément, will also be present representing France. The sessions conducted by Jur’s experts Luigi Cantisani, Legal Engineer, Shuchi Tyagi, Blockchain Developer and Michele D’Asaro, R&D covered: How and Why the Court Layer WorksPhase 1 - Appointment of ArbitratorPhase 2 - Conduction of ArbitrationPhase 3 - Peer Review SystemQuick showcase of the prototypeQ&A with students According to Michele D’Asaro, “it is thrilling to share details and technicalities of our ODR with interested students.” For Luigi Cantisani, “years after participating as a student in moot courts, it was really exciting to be on the other side and be able to talk about digitising arbitration and implementing blockchain to students from different universities in Europe, based on a prototype that currently exists.” For Shuchi Tyagi, “it is a must to help law students experience the advancements offered by existing tech in the legal industry.” Jur’s participation in Tech Law Clinic is part of a long-lasting fortunate relationship with universities that tested a series of assumptions on its ODR platform. After Tech Law Clinic, a Spring School will follow, in order to raise students’ awareness about the challenging legal implications posed by digital technologies. Jur’s CEO, Alessandro Palombo will deliver a speech in the Spring School on decentralisation and justice and decentralised dispute resolution types. The event will happen on the morning of March 15, 2021, from 9:30 am to 11:50 am. Other than digitisation of dispute resolution, the event will cover topics on automation of government decision-making and competition law in digital markets, among others from speakers all around the world. We are developing the first multi-jurisdiction online dispute resolution platform, the Open Justice Platform. Learn more.
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A fast-forward story on how the law was born and how it is becoming increasingly digital and accessible, also thanks to the Hub of the Open Justice Platform. In this article, we are going to show you that digital courts are not only possible but desirable, and more importantly, that internet-based private courthouses will soon be available to the public thanks to Jur’s Open Justice Platform for resolving disputes online. Follow along in the journey that led to the digitalisation of traditional laws and systems. The Birth of Law and Society Before we dive into what a Hub or a digital court is, let us first understand what courts are. When society was born, Law was created to manage the relationships among its community members. If you are a legal professional you will be aware of the old Latin saying: ubi societas, ibi ius Which means, “where there is a society, there is the Rule of Law”. The Rule of Law is actually effective when there is a “judge” who acts as controller/enforcer. The absence of this figure could lead someone to disregard and disrespect the Rule of Law, causing frictions within society, or as we now legally call them, jurisdictions.Jurisdiction originates from two Latin words “Jus - dicere”, which means “to say/proclaim what is right or wrong in a specific case”. As you may guess by now, from this name (iurisdictio, in Latin) comes also the name of our project: Jur, as in the first three letters of Jurisdiction. Digital Courts Before They Were Digital Let us fast forward from ancient societies to the middle-ages. During this time, private tribunals were created by commercial guilds to judge who was right and who was wrong on commercial matters. At that time, cCourts - the place where law was exercised - were not as public as they are today. With the age of democratic republics, constitutional charts started proclaiming the importance of an independent, impartial Jurisdiction entity in any country. You might have heard of Montesquieu’s work on the “three powers” of a State: legislative, executive and judiciary. The last is what we are focusing on in this article. In a democratic society, every citizen should know that the courts are managed in a fully impartial way. The judiciary power is separated from politics and other external influences. The most important aspect is that being a “public” court is what guarantees impartiality, the professionalism for ensuring “true, authentic judgments”. Society needs impartiality and quality judgements as they impact on the private autonomy of citizens. Let’s add another specification. There are normally (and beware, this is a huge simplification) three sectors of “Jurisdiction”: Criminal Law, Public Law, and Civil & Commercial Law. In Criminal Law, it is evident to everyone how it is crucial that only publicly selected judges can decide if someone has to suffer a punishment which implies a limitation of his freedom. The limitation to the freedom of a citizen requires a high level of control from the State. Let’s look at this from the other angle. As a citizen, you are part of an “original consensual social agreement” according to which you delegate the State, and you give it part of your freedom so that the State can exercise its power to ensure that everyone has a serene, safe social life in the community. This means, for example, that you authorized the State to put you in prison if your behaviour goes against the safety of another citizen. The specific course of this type of court proceeding is different from the Civil one. Public Law, on the other hand, concerns itself with matters such as public procurements issued by a public authority. This does not concern generally private individuals in most cases. Lastly, there is the Civil Law, which is essentially everything that does not pertain to the previous two Laws. Why the Need for Digital Courts Why this long introduction to explain the concept of a Hub? It is because a Hub represents something new built on old legal foundations. Without context, a Hub will be difficult to understand. In the Civil and Commercial areas, the “original consensual agreement” has been interpreted in a lighter way because consequences of judgment do not impact the freedom of the individual as in the criminal field. For the past century, in order to reduce a public court’s backlog to give a more efficient service to its community, new “private methods of dispute resolution” have been recognized in every State. Every national law espouses several alternative dispute resolution methods (ADR) and this trend is only growing. The State firmly exercises its power and authority over Criminal and Public Law for matters that involve individuals and companies. However, the State has also noticed that certain private bodies could follow a similar level of due process as a public court while ensuring impartial and professional judgments. This has led to the question: why not allow these private bodies to enforce the law on Civil Law matters? Among all ADRs, arbitration in the last decade has been recognized in most of the States as equivalent to the judgment of a public court. In a nutshell, if arbitration is properly held, the arbitration award (i.e. the judgment) is equivalent to the judgment of a public court. After receiving an arbitral award one just has to obtain a rubber stamp from a court testifying that due process was followed but does not enter into the merit of the dispute. This is where our Open Justice Platform comes into the picture and why we believe it is the “future of justice”. We have taken an international standard for arbitration of the United Nations (UNCITRAL 1985) and completely digitized its flow. With some minor amendments, this standard is legally-binding in 166 jurisdictions. What we did is take this efficient standard and try to make it accessible to everyone. In today’s world, almost no one uses arbitration because its costs are prohibitive. It generally delivers high-quality judgments in a very efficient way but it works well only for big agreements. It has a great untapped potential, which is why we want to make UNCITRAL work for professionals, small and medium businesses. Hubs: The Digital Courts of Today Now that we’re all on the same page, it’s time to answer the original question: What is a Hub? A Hub is a digital courthouse (or more technically a “digital” Arbitration Chamber) made on the Open Justice Platform. In the platform, a Hub plays the role of a private body that administers online justice procedures through means of a legally-binding arbitration. Simply put, a Hub is a new form of the private courthouse, completely digital, efficient, and extremely fast. How will you have access to this new efficient system? In the future, when you do any kind of business or civil agreement, be sure to put a clause in the agreement where you say that in case of a dispute you want to use a Hub on Jur over public courts. Join the Future of Justice. Join Jur. We are developing the first multi-jurisdiction online dispute resolution platform, the Open Justice Platform. Learn more.
This article explains Jur’s progressive approach to decentralisation. At Jur, we are firm believers of decentralisation and its benefits to disintermediate and bring greater transparency in centuries-old processes. This is even more true in the legal and justice sectors that have yet been disrupted by technology. We are eager to work together with the key players of the industry to bring innovation to life. Through collaboration, we believe that we can shape the future of the legal and justice sector. However, the number of stakeholders is too high to expect a change all at once. This is why we believe that the best approach for any suitable dApp is a progressive path wherein achieving decentralisation is the ultimate goal rather than as the starting point. This is why we decided to separate Jur's commercial side from that of research and development. The R&D will pertain to testing and validation of the decentralised features of any product, before they are brought into production and made available to market. This allows us to engage with stakeholders of the current legal and justice system (e.g. law firms, courts of law, etc.) and permit them appreciate the intuitive features brought by the technology without having to go technical, while still getting the core validation about the business idea and the overall mission of the company. This approach will streamline our product development to ensure that it meets customers’ demands and users’ needs. That said, our commitment to empower those who are looking forward to the benefits that blockchain and decentralisation can bring to the legal and justice sector remains untouched. For them, we will arrange a dedicated environment to showcase the decentralised components of the platform and of the entire ecosystem. This is what we call 'Road to Decentralisation': the approach of separating the core business from its decentralised features and progressively integrating the decentralized application (dApp) aspects into the main core product. Each properly validated and tested decentralised feature will be brought and deployed into the main product according to a specific roadmap. This ensures that any decentralised feature integrated into production will be fully compliant with each jurisdiction where Jur will be deploying its commercial products. It will be crucial to prevent that, for example, an arbitral award issued by the platform will be challenged on the basis of its technical components. Jur intends to follow the Road to Decentralisation to avoid these road bumps. Each core business feature on the platform will be enabled by the direct or indirect usage of the JUR token. This would mean, for example, that in order to open a Hub on the Open Justice platform, the Hub will be required to stake JUR tokens on the associated dApp. In this way, despite decentralised features progressively being integrated into the platform, token adoption will be ensured from day one of the product’s launch. This methodology comes from our experience on the launch of our micro justice solution, the Open Layer. The product will be the object of further research, test and development over the upcoming years with our partner universities in order to ensure that it can serve production cases at scale and not being confined to rare usages as what happened with the community initiatives of the Jur Defender or the book sale on the Jur Beta Platform. Further development is needed to make sure that the platform can evolve to solve micro claims across jurisdictions. For the upcoming launch of the Open Justice Platform, Jur’s first commercial product, the roadmap will include release milestones and an insight on how the decentralized aspects such as the truly randomized arbitrator appointment will be developed, tested, and validated. Priority will be given to the business side to ensure that the core platform gets adoption, while part of the team will be moving the needle for the decentralised features. To reduce the effort and scope of development activity, these attempts will be delivered in the form of proof of concept (POCs)/functional prototypes that will be used to engage with the relevant stakeholders in order to gather feedback and validation. This will allow a faster development lifecycle and make it possible for the team to work simultaneously. A more detailed roadmap will be presented in our upcoming white paper (v.3.0.0) and will be further detailed as we progress. In a nutshell, the Road to Decentralisation is our answer to tackle the urgent needs of a sector that is looking for an immediate solution, while balancing our long-term vision for a more transparent, efficient, and secure justice which we believe is achievable only through decentralisation. We would love to hear your thoughts! Feel free to reach out on our Telegram community or on Twitter and LinkedIn. We are developing the first multi-jurisdiction online dispute resolution platform, the Open Justice Platform. Learn more.