I studied Theory of Science, Logic, Theoretical Linguistics, Philosophy and Law at the Universities of Mainz, Munich, Florence and Lancaster. My main field of interest is the interaction between law, science and computer technology, especially computer linguistics. How can law, understood as a system, communicate with systems external to it, be it the law of other countries (comparative law and its methodology) or science (evidence, proof and trial process).
As a co-founder and co-director of the Joseph Bell Centre for Legal Reasoning and Forensic Statistics, I help to develop new approaches to assist lawyers in evaluating scientific evidence and develop computer models which embody these techniques. A special interest here is the development of computer systems that help law enforcement agencies to co-operate more efficiently across jurisdictions, assisting them in the interpretation of the legal environment within which evidence in other jurisdictions is collected. This research is linked to my wider interest in comparative law and its methodology, the idea of a "Chomsky turn in comparative law", and the project of a "computational legal theory"
I'm currenty the Director of the SCRIPT Centre for IT and IP law, working mainly on issues such as privacy compliant software achitecture and more generally the scope and limits of representing legal concepts directly in the internet infrastructure.
Evidence: Interpretation and Evaluation
(Honours) (Course Organiser)
Information Technology and the Law
Jurisprudence of Legal Concepts
(Honours) (Course Organiser)
Law and New Technologies: Artificial Intelligence, Risk and the Law 1
(LLM) (Course Organiser)
Law and New Technologies: Artificial Intelligence, Risk and the Law 2
(LLM) (Course Organiser)
Law of E-commerce
Legal Challenges of Information Technologies
Burkhard SchaferLegal Knowledge and Information Systems - JURIX 2012: The Twenty-Fifth Annual Conference (IOS Press, 2012)
Burkhard Schafer, Yianna Danidou 'Legal Environments for Digital Trust: Trustmarks, Trusted Computing and the Issue of Legal Liability' (2012) Journal of International Commercial Law and Technology 212 - 222
Trusted Computing and Trustmarks are two approaches developed to enhance internet security and trust and we claim that they are structurally similar and an exercise in mutual learning would be of great benefit for both. We argue that TC philosophy could possibly supplement TMOs so that TMs become to TMOs more than just a mere link while we address critical questions regarding reliance liability. With our present study we propose that the model for adequate TMO liability could possibly be an example of how to deal with the issue of TC’s reliance liability.
Burkhard Schafer, Wardlaw JM, O'Connell G, Shuler K, Dewilde J, Haley J, Escobar O, Murray S, Rae R, Jarvie D, Sandercock P, '“Can It Read My Mind?” – What Do the Public and Experts Think of the Current (Mis)Uses of Neuroimaging?' (2011) Public Library of Science One http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Ado
This paper argues that commercial service providers and software vendors enjoy the biggest commercial benefits of the internet and therefore giving them the onus to create a secure internet seems an equitable suggestion, keenly taken on by some governments. Trusted Computing (TC) can be seen as a first response to this insight where software companies take on the responsibility for the internet infrastructure. The question remains whether the focus on cybercrime is potentially misleading, with some of the most serious legal issues for the new technology arising in the field of cyberterrorism and cyberwarfare where ‘too secure’ structures can hinder the efforts of the very same governments that otherwise promote online security. Anomalies and problems like these are expressions of a more fundamental paradigmatic shift of power and responsibility away from governments to the private sector, a shift that needs a much more fundamental adjustment of legal rules and regulations than commonly anticipated.
Two and a half years after a House of Lords report warned of the danger that the UK might sleepwalk into a surveillance society, two years after the European Commission issued a letter of formal notice that the UK had failed to properly implement the E-Privacy and the Data Protection Directive, and one year after the Labour government was replaced by the first coalition government in the UK since 1940, how has the attitude to privacy and data protection law in the UK changed?
Burkhard Schafer, Garret O'Connell, Janet De Wilde, Jane Haley, Kirsten Shuler, Peter Sandercock, Joanna M Wardlaw 'The brain, the science and the media The legal, corporate, social and security implications of neuroimaging and the impact of media coverage' (2011) EMBO Reports 630-636
Burkhard Schafer, Omair Uthmani, William Buchanan, Alistair Lawson, Russell Scott, Lu Fan, Sohaib Uthmani 'Crime risk evaluation within information sharing between the police and community partners' (2011) Information and Communications Technology Law pp 57-81
Burkhard Schafer, Bill Buchanan, Lu Fan, Alistair Lawson, Russel Scott, Cristopher Tuemmler, Omair Uthmani 'Interagency data exchange protocols as computational data protection law' (2010) Legal Knowledge and Information Systems 243-147 (Vol 223)
Burkhard Schafer 'ZombAIs: Legal Expert Systems as Representatives “Beyond the Grave' (2010) SCRIPTed 384-393
As methods in legal information retrieval (IR) evolve to meet the demands of rapidly increasing stores of electronic information, there is the intuitive appeal of capturing detail in legal queries with natural language processing (NLP). One difficulty with this approach is that incorporation of word dependencies in IR has not been shown to consistently and reliably improve results over a unigram bag-of-words approach. We consider challenges faced when incorporating NLP in IR and briefly review three proposals in this vein, highlighting how these might have responded better to requirements in legal search. We then present our novel response based on split query expansion that accounts for the way lawyers seek to apply search results whilst meeting the challenges identified in a unique and flexible manner.
Burkhard Schafer, Wiebke Abel 'La decisione della Corte Costituzionale tedesca sul diritto alla riservatezza ed integrità dei sistemi tecnologici d’informazione – un rapporto sul caso BVerfGE' (2009) Jus e Internet
The paper analyses an approach to computer assisted reasoning with evidence that was developed by Bart Verheij, and used by him in an educational setting. Drawing from work on multi-modal teaching of reasoning, an explanation for some of the observed problems is developed
This paper describes the development of a new approach to the use of ICT for the teaching of courses in the interpretation and evaluation of evidence. It is based on ideas developed for the teaching of science to school children, in particular the importance of models and qualitative reasoning skills. In the first part, we make an analysis of the basis of current research into “evidence scholarship” and the demands such a system would have to meet. In the second part, we introduce the details of such a system that we developed initially to assist police in the interpretation of evidence.
Legalism seen as blind rule following (often embodied inthe metaphor of the "computer judge") is often confused with legality, an altogether more reflexive and rational concept. But legality to work properly needs to be related to and articulated withthe narrower concept of legalism. Only in their complex interaction can we begin to see legality as a mode of organisation appropriateto a free and democratic society. This is discussed here in the context of the computational implementation of legal concepts, an emergingissue in the regulation of cyberspace and other technology enhanced forms of human interaction
Burkhard Schafer, Qiang Shen, Jeroen Keppens, Colin Aitken, Mark Lee 'A scenario-driven decision support system for serious crime investigation' (2006) Law, Probability and Risk Vol 5 pp 87-117
Consideration of a wide range of plausible crime scenarios during any crime investigation is important to seek convincing evidence and hence to minimize the likelihood of miscarriages of justice. It is equally important for crime investigators to be able to employ effective and efficient evidence-collection strategies that are likely to produce the most conclusive information under limited available resources. An intelligent decision support system that can assist human investigators by automatically constructing plausible scenarios, and reasoning with the likely best investigating actions will clearly be very helpful in addressing these challenging problems. This paper presents a system for creating scenario spaces from given evidence, based on an integrated application of techniques for compositional modelling and Bayesian network-based evidence evaluation. Methods of analysis are also provided by the use of entropy to exploit the synthesized scenario spaces in order to prioritize investigating actions and hypotheses. These theoretical developments are illustrated by realistic examples of serious crime investigation.
Burkhard Schafer, Doug Walton 'Arthur, George and the Mystery of the Missing Motive: Towards a Theory of Evidentiary Reasoning about Motives' (2006) International Commentary on Evidence Vol 4 (2)
Reasoning about motives is a prominent part of the investigative process in Julian Barnes’ Arthur and George and in Conan Doyle’s novels themselves. In Arthur & George, it is the lack of motive that originally convinces Arthur of George’s innocence, a conclusion that a subsequent evaluation of George’s character supports. In many of the Sherlock Holmes novels, it is the discovery of a hidden motive that puts Holmes on the right track. On closer inspection though, the evidentiary value and logical structure of arguments from motive turn out to be problematic. In this paper, we use concepts from argumentation theory and computational models of agent behavior from artificial intelligence research to analyze the structure of motive-based reasoning in fictional and factual crime investigations and trials. This analysis is used to develop a theory that (a) accounts for the rationality of motive- based reasoning, (b) helps to distinguish plausible and implausible arguments from motive, and (c) to distinguish arguments based on motive from arguments based on intention and character, as well as from other, legally more problematic forms of evidentiary reasoning.
A revised version of the UK report on E-governance for the XVIIth International Congress of Comparative Law. It argues that e-government initiatives have at least the potential to weaken rather then strengthen democratic structures, and highlights the consequences this dual potential has for a functionalist comparative legal analysis of e-governance.
The paper analyses legal issues arising from the use of autonomous agents in crime investigations, in particular the question of evidentiary constraints on undercover operations and their applicability to computer programs. The paper is divided into three parts. First, we give a short introduction to agent technology. In the second part, some existing projects of agent technology for crime investigations are discussed, and one particular legal problem, the law on entrapment, is exemplarily introduced. In the final part, we very briefly indicate how agent communication languages would have to be extended to address some of these concerns.
Burkhard Schafer, Kingston, John; Vandenberghe, Wim 'Towards a Financial Fraud Ontology: A Legal Modelling Approach' (2006) Artificial Intelligence and Law Vol 12 pp. 419-446
A crucial concern in the evaluation of evidence related to a major crime is the formulation of sufficient alternative plausible scenarios that can explain the available evidence. However, software aimed at assisting human crime investigators by automatically constructing crime
scenarios from evidence is difficult to develop because of the almost infinite variation of plausible crime scenarios. This paper introduces a
novel knowledge driven methodology for crime scenario construction and it presents a decision support system based on it. The approach
works by storing the component events of the scenarios instead of entire scenarios and by providing an algorithm that can instantiate and
compose these component events into useful scenarios. The scenario composition approach is highly adaptable to unanticipated cases
because it allows component events to match the case under investigation in many different ways. Given a description of the available
evidence, it generates a network of plausible scenarios that can then be analysed to devise effective evidence collection strategies. The
applicability of the ideas presented here are demonstrated by means of a realistic example and prototype decision support software
Burkhard Schafer, Wiegand, Olav 'Tiesu demokratija: cela uz tiesas procesa fenomenologisko teoriju' (2005) Kentaurs Vol 37 pp 163-180
The paper attempts a case study to show how jurisprudence can profit from ideas taken from the general theory of science to develop the conceptual vocabulary to engage in meaningful discussions with comparative law. It analyses the concept of "legal system" as used in comparative law and legal theory against the framework of Sneed and Stegmuellers non-statement voew of scientific theories.
Burkhard Schafer 'Intellectual Property Rights Issues of Digital Publishing - Presence and Perspectives' (2005) SCRIPT-ed Vol 2 pp. 59-71
the paper analyses the argumentation theoretical, epistemological and evidentiary aspects of Agatha Christie's novel "And then there was none" to identify user requirements for an expert system to teach evidence evaluation. One such system based on ATMS technology is proposed and a worked out example analysed
Theoretcial reflections on the development of ontology based software for fraud prevention, detection and prosecution in a multi-jurisdiction context, using the example of VAT fraud. Comparisin with methodological assumptions underlying ontology based approaches in medicince
Burkhard Schafer 'Form and Substance in Online Legal Education - a look over the border' (2002) Law Teacher pp 333-346 Vol 6
Analyses the possibility of a research project in " cross-jursdictional legal universals" based on Reinach's legal philosophy
Smita Kheria, Daithi Mac Sithigh, Judith Rauhofer, Burkhard Schafer '(Mis)appropriation Art? Copyright and Data Protection implications of "CCTV Sniffing" as Art' in E. Schweighofer, F. Kummer, W. Hötzendorfer (eds) Abstraktion und Applikation (OCG, 2013) 489-498
Burkhard Schafer, Panagia Voyatzis 'The Battle of the Precedents: Reforming Legal Education in Mexico Using Computer-Assisted Visualisation' in Zenon Bankowski, Paul Maharg, Maks Del Mar (eds) The Arts and the Legal Academy Beyond Text in Legal Education (Ashgate, 2013) 149-168
Burkhard Schafer, William Buchanan, Lu Fan, Alistair Lawson, Russell Scott, Christoph Thuemmler, Omair Uthmani 'Computational Data Protection Law: Trusting each other Offline and Online.' in Burkhard Schafer Legal Knowledge and Information Systems - JURIX 2012: The Twenty-Fifth Annual Conference (IOS Press, 2012) 31-40
Burkhard Schafer, Stephen Mason 'The characteristics of electronic evidence in digital fomat' in Stephen Mason (eds) Electronic Evidence (LexisNexis, 2012) 23-70
Burkhard Schafer, Stephanie Schorre 'Ich weiß was du letzten Sommer gelesen hast - E-Reader und die Implikationen für den Datenschutz' in E. Schweighofer, F. Kummer (eds) Europäische Projektkultur als Beitrag zur Rationalisierung des Rechts, (Österreichische Computer Gesellschaft, 2011) pp 35-44
Burkhard Schafer 'Say "Cheese": Natural Kinds, Deontic Logic and EU Regulation 1829/2002' in Geist A, Brunschwig C.R, Lachmayer F., Schefbeck G. (eds) Strukturierung der Juristischen Semantik - Festschrift fuer Erich Schweighofer (Weblaw AG, Bern, 2011) 543-554
Burkhard Schafer, Stephen Mason 'The Characteristics of Electronic Evidence' in Stephen Mason (eds) Electronic Evidence (Butterworth, 2010) 21-50
Burkhard Schafer, Wiebke Abel 'The German Constitutional Court on the Right in Confidentiality and Integrity of Information Technology Systems' in Madhuri V (eds) Hacking - A legal quandary (ICFAI University Press, 2010) 167-191
Burkhard Schafer 'Uber das Grab hinaus - juristische Expertensysteme als persönliche Stellvertreter' in Erich Schweighofer, Anton Geist, Ines Staufer (eds) Globale Sicherheit und proaktiver Staat - die Rolle der Rechtsinformatik (OCG, 2010) 253-258
Burkhard Schafer, Tamsin Maxwell 'Die Verteidigung hat keine weiteren Fragen - Information Retrieval und Question Answering' in Erich Schweighofer (eds) Semantisches Web und Soziale Netzwerke im Recht (OCG, 2009) 207-214
: Dieser Aufsatz diskutiert das Potential von Internet-basierten Informations Retrieval (IR) Ansätzen für das Recht. Wir entwickeln ein neues Argument für den Einsatz von Natural Language Processing (NLP) anstelle von Knowledge Engineering (KE). Wir argumentieren des Weiteren, dass NLP-basierte Ansätze enger mit der juristischen Begriffswelt im Einklang sind als dies oft angenommen wird. Insbesondere zeigen wir, dass juristische Informationssuche eng dem Begriff des “question answering” (QA) in außerjuristischen Kontexten verwandt ist.
Burkhard Schafer, Yianna Danidou 'In Law We Trust? Trusted Computing and Legal Responsibility for Internet Security' in Gritzalis, Dimitris; Lopez, Javier (eds) Emerging Challenges for Security, Privacy and Trust (Springer, 2009) pp 399-409
This paper analyses potential legal responses and consequences to the
anticipated roll out of Trusted Computing (TC). It is argued that TC constitutes
such a dramatic shift in power away from users to the software providers, that it
is necessary for the legal system to respond. A possible response is to mirror the
shift in power by a shift in legal responsibility, creating new legal liabilities and
duties for software companies as the new guardians of internet security.
Burkhard Schafer 'Twelve Angry Men or One Good Woman? Asymmetric Relations in Evidentiary Reasoning' in Hendrik Kaptein, Henry Prakken, Bart Verheij (eds) Legal Evidence and Proof: Statistics, Stories, Logic (Ashgate, 2009) 255-283
There exist two broad approaches to information retrieval (IR) in the legal domain: those based on manual knowledge engineering (KE) and those based on natural language processing (NLP). The KE approach is grounded in artificial intelligence (AI) and case-based reasoning (CBR), whilst the NLP approach is associated with open domain statistical retrieval. We provide some original arguments regarding the focus on KE-based retrieval in the past and why this is not sustainable in the long term. Legal approaches to questioning (NLP), rather than arguing (CBR), are proposed as the appropriate jurisprudential and cognitive underpinning for legal IR. Recall within the context of precision is proposed as a better fit to law than the ‘total recall’ model of the past, wherein conceptual and contextual search are combined to improve retrieval performance for both parties in a dispute.
Burkhard Schafer, Jeroen Keppens, Qiang Shen 'Thinking with and outside the box: developing computer support for evidence teaching' in Paul Roberts, Mike Redmayne (eds) Innovations in Evidence and Proof (Hart, 2007) pp. 139-158
The paper analyses Solomon's judgement from the perspective of theory of science, more specificially particularist theories such as Nancy Cartwright's" Dabbled world". It analyses the consequences such a particularist account has for evidence scholarship, and a rational account of deciding issues of fact in a court room setting
The paper explores the leverage that a comparative and transdisciplinary perspective can bring to a normative theory of the trial process. In particular, it analyses recent attempts for jury reform, the right of jurors to ask questions, from the perspective of phenomenological theories of learning and interpretation.
An important cause of miscarriages of justice is the failure of crime investigators and lawyers to consider plausible explanations for the available evidence. Building on work by the authors to develop software support to adress this issue, this paper describes an important class of scenarios, containing "alternative suspects" and "hidden objects" which cannot be generated robustly using conventional abductive inference mechanisms. The work is extended by proposing a novel inference mechanism, based on peg unification theories developed in dynamic logic, to generate these scenarios
Burkhard Schafer, Keppens, Jeroen 'Der Hund der nicht gebellt hat - hypothetisches Schliessen in juristischen Expertensystemen' in Scheighofer, Liebwald, Augeneder, Menzel (eds) Effizienz von e-Lösungen in Staat und Gesellschaft (Boorberg, 2005) pp. 51-57
the paper analyses how the POIROT project, an ontology based system to prevent VAT fraud in the EU, could be used within the NAFTA faremwork, and how comparative law woud have to guide this re-use
Burkhard Schafer, Gervassis, Nicholas 'How to Derive an "Ought" from a "Can't": Virtual Laws, Artificial Societes and the Idea of Designing out Crime in Cyberspace' in Polcak, Radim (eds) Cyberspace 2004: Normative Framework (Masarykova Univerzita v Brnì, 2005) pp 15-22
The paper brings together Lessig's idea of code as law with ideas from situational crime prevention to shed new light on Hume's fallacy, and draws soem normative and theoretical conclusion for the regulation of cyberspace.
Burkhard Schafer, Keppens, Jeroen; Shen, Quian 'Probabilistic abductive computation of evidence collection strategies in crime investigations' in ICAIL (eds) Proceedings of the Tenth International Conference on AI and Law (ACM, 2005) pp. 215-225
the paper present a methodology for integrating two approaches to building a decision support system for crime investigation: symbolic scenario abduction and Bayesian forensic evidence evaluation
Burkhard Schafer, Bromby, Michael 'Wie Tajomaru seine NemeSys fand: Expertensysteme zum Augenzeugenbeweis' in Bernard Schuenemann, Marie Tinnefeld, Roland Wittmann (eds) Gerechtigkeitswissenschaft (Berliner Wissenschafsverlag, 2005) pp. 259-278
The paper reports results from a larger EU fifth framework project, FF POIROT, that developd ontology based approaches for the detection and prevention of cross border financial fraud in the EU, in particular VAT and investment fraud. It analyses more specifically the tension betwen the modelling of legal and factual aspects of a case, using Wigmore charts for knowledge extraction
proposes an extension of the formalism the authors developed earlier to model abductive evidentiary reasoning in an ATMS. The original approach was based on possible world semantics. Using the doctrine of incrimination as a starting point, we propose an extension using "pegs" as introduced in dynamic logic by Landman and Veltman
Burkhard Schafer, Rodriguez-Rico, Monica; Vandenberghe, Wim 'Undercover agents and agents provocateur - evidence collection by autonomous agents and the law' in Claudia Cevenini (eds) The Law of Electronic Agents - LEA04 (Gedit Edizioni, 2004) pp. 155-170
Reconnects current debates on legal issues of computer mediated contract formation to the roots of agent technology in robotics. Can agent technologu developed for team sports help us understand good faith and fair dealing requirements in contract laws?
discusses the Canadian Hyperinfo case and the application of the Canadian Charter of the French language in cyperspace
Papers and Presentations
Burkhard Schafer '“Clod-Like Collection of Condensers” or “all licensed fools” – robots and the law of defamation”' presented at GikII, London, 2012
Burkhard Schafer 'Institutions of legal argumentation, a reply to Sperber and Mercier' presented at The Sperber/Mercier symposium on the evolution of argumentation, University of Windsor, Canada, 2012
Burkhard Schafer 'A Roadmap for research in AI and IP: Semantic ontologies' presented at First International workshop on Artificial Intelligence and IP law AIIP, Amsterdam, 2012
Burkhard Schafer 'You bet your life on it! Quantitative and qualitative assessment of the strength of forensic theories' presented at International Conference on Quantitative Aspects of Justice and Fairness, Florence, 2011
Burkhard Schafer 'Interagency data exchange protocols as computational data protection law' presented at JURIX, Liverpool, 2010
Burkhard Schafer 'Über das Grab hinaus: Juristische Expertensysteme als persönliche Stellvertreter' presented at IRIS, Salzburg, 2010
Burkhard Schafer 'Law under construction: teaching a new vision of law to Mexican legal community' presented at BILETA, Vienna, 2010
Burkhard Schafer 'Law abiding by design - what informatics can (and should) learn from the theory of law.' presented at Conference on Cybercrime and Cybersecurity, Glasgow, 2010
Burkhard Schafer 'The computer says no: hearsay and machine generated speech' presented at BILETA Annual Conference, Glasgow, 2008
the paper uses Conan Doyle's story to explain the basic design features of model based reasoning systems for crime investigation, and how they replicate falsificationist and abductive reasoning about crime. It concludes by ponting out some pertinent legal issues, in particular the inadmissibility of reasoning about alternative investigative processes ("alternative Ermittlungsverlaeufe") in German criminal procedure.
Burkhard Schafer 'The taming of the sleuth - Hohfeldian logic and crime investigation by autonomous agents' presented at 20th BILETA conference, Belfast 2005, Belfast, 2005
Burkhard Schafer 'Androids - liberation or liability' presented at Science Festival, Edinburgh 2005, Edinburgh, 2005
Burkhard Schafer 'Abductive computation of evidence collection strategies in crime investigations'' presented at ICAIL 2005, Bologna, 2005
Burkhard Schafer 'Money talks - RFID technology and the law of evidence' presented at AHRC Centre Privacy Workshop, Edinburgh, 2005
Burkhard Schafer 'Assumption based peg unification for crime scenario modelling'' presented at JURIX, Brussels, 2005
Burkhard Schafer 'Wie Rashomon seine NemeSys fand Expertensysteme zum Zeugenberweis' presented at Internationales Rechtsinformatik Symposium IRIS, Salzburg, 2004
analyses the compatibility of plea bargaining with the ECHR, arguing that a better understanding of decision making under uncertainty is required to gauge the quality and quantity of information the accused needs to know
Burkhard Schafer 'Murdered by persons unkown, Speculative reasoning in law and logic' presented at JURIX 2004, Berlin, 2004
proposes an extension to a formalism developed earlier that models abductive reasoning about evidence. Using the doctrine of "incrimination" as starting point, I explain how "pegs", a concept taken from dynamic logic and discourse represenation theory, helps to udnerstand crucial distinctions inthe law of evidence
Burkhard Schafer 'It's just not cricket - RoboCup and fair dealing in contract' presented at International Conference on AI and Law (2003), Edinburgh, 2003
Describes a model based reasoning system that allows explicit reasoning about crime scenes to suppport lawyers and police in constructing and testing alternative theories and hypothetical states of affairs
Burkhard Schafer 'Similarity between deontic systems' presented at IVR World Congress Lund 2003, Lund, 2003
Uses Sneed-Stegmueller Structuralism to analyse the notion of "legal system" and "legal family" in a strictly formal way, but without using a linguisitcally defined coherence/consistency relation between sets of sentences or rules
Burkhard Schafer 'Light Ontologies for Heavy Criminals' presented at 26th German Conference on Artificial Intelligence, Hamburg, Hamburg, 2003
Analyses the evidentiary problems posed by police expert systems like the Flint system from the perspective of statistical theory
Burkhard Schafer 'Elementary my dear Watson - expert systems in the interface between forensic science, police and the legal profession' presented at International Conference on AI and Law ICAIL, St Louis, 2001