LLM in Innovation, Technology and the Law
The LLM in Innovation, Technology and Law offers advanced study of a range of law and law-related subjects, which address the opportunities and risks posed by innovation and new technology.
The programme also offers an opportunity to develop more detailed knowledge, understanding and research skills in a chosen dissertation topic.
This unique degree programme explores the role of the law in regulating and promoting new and emerging technologies. The courses on offer will enable you to examine the legal, ethical and regulatory issues in fields such as:
- information technology
- data protection
- online media and social media platforms
- artificial intelligence
- intellectual property
- medical sciences
The core subjects of the degree provide in-depth knowledge of domains where law engages with technology, laying the foundations for a specialised dissertation.
By the end of your studies will have acquired a sophisticated awareness of the problems that arise in the field of law and technology and the differing approaches to their solution.
As one of few prominent law schools offering a technology-related program, it provides an uncontested platform to gain a better understanding of the legal aspects of technology applications ...
Digital technologies are increasingly becoming a ubiquitous part of the world we live in. Technological development brings about change at a pace that was unfathomable just a few years ago, and this involves every aspect of our daily lives and our societies:
- the way we communicate;
- the way business transactions are concluded;
- the way the media operate;
- the way artificial intelligence replaces human beings in the workplace and beyond;
- the way personal data is shared, and much more.
As law-makers and regulators around the world strive to grapple with on-going changes, this programme offers a unique opportunity to engage with contemporary questions surrounding the law and policy that govern innovation processes, combining together diverse perspectives from a range of cutting-edge courses.
By the end of your studies for this degree, you will have acquired a sophisticated awareness of the problems that arise in the field of law and technology and the differing approaches to their solution. The degree will also enhance career prospects in the legal profession, in regulatory bodies at the international and domestic level, third sector organisations and within media, IT and creative industries.
Teaching staff affiliated with the programme actively engage in research, participate in conferences and workshops at the international level, and often contribute their expertise to policy-making institutions and the press. The Programme is home to an active research hub such as the SCRIPT Centre, an internationally renowned law and technology research centre.
Throughout each academic year, a number of prominent experts from both academic and professional backgrounds come and deliver talks and seminars, and generally engage with our student and research community. Speakers invited over the last few years included prominent scholars from the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Leuven, Penn State and Queensland among others.
If you have any questions about the LLM in Innovation, Technology and the Law please don't hesitate to contact us.
This programme can be taken full-time over one year, or part-time over two years (due to current UKVI regulations, the part-time programme is only available to UK and EU students). It offers a range of courses from the fields of technology, communications, IP and medical law with an international perspective, giving you the option to tailor the programme to suit your needs and interests.
The programme consists of 180 credits, comprising taught courses worth 120 credits (60 credits per semester) and a 10,000 word dissertation worth 60 credits. Full programme details are available on the University Degree Regulations and Programmes of Study website.
Courses shown below are for the 2020/21 academic year and are for illustrative purposes. Courses for the 2021/22 academic year will be confirmed in May 2021.
You must select between 80 and 120 credits of the following courses:
- The legal challenges of information technologies (20 credits)
This course aims to deliver a challenging perspective on the wide range of legal questions posed by information technologies as they continue to develop; and to provide students with a fresh perspective on law and technologies and an appreciation of the extent to which legal questions must be viewed broadly. After exploring different approaches to regulation and to the protection of rights in software, the course will then consider the ongoing relevance of intellectual property in cyberspace, including peer generated content illegal file sharing and enforcement, and liability for online content in the digital economy.The use of personal data for commercial purposes in the content of social media and other Web 2.0 services will be considered, together with other issues, like cybercrime and cloud computing.
- Data Protection and Information Privacy (20 credits)
The purpose of this course is to consider the law relating to data protection and privacy within the UK and EU context. Recent years have seen a heightened awareness of data protection and privacy issues, largely dominated by the introduction of the new EU data protection framework under the GDPR. We are also operating in a world where phrases such as 'Big data', 'Smart cities', AI and 'the Internet of Things' are becoming commonplace and the course will consider whether or not data protection laws are appropriate to cope with the pressures which developments in technology are bringing. The course will focus on the principles at the heart of data protection and examine their application to specific settings. It will also consider how the new EU laws are likely to change the current data protection landscape.
- Selected Issues in Communications Law (10 credits)
This course covers the regulation of communications networks and services, and aims to discuss the most relevant provisions that govern the sector against the background of the different rationales and policy concerns that are relevant to the sector. The focus of the course is mainly European, although comparative and international perspectives will be explored as well.
The course explores a range of legal and policy questions, including price control, social and universal service obligation, separation and new entry, technological neutrality (e.g. between wired and wireless), and consumer protection. The interaction between communications law and other forms of regulation (e.g. competition, media, trade) is explored, as are perspectives on the communications industries from other disciplines, particularly the relationship between law and innovation.
- International and European Media Law (20 credits)
This course will examine the impact of International and European law on, firstly, the structure of media markets and, secondly, the content of media services. The course will start with a discussion of the nature of the media, the media 'value chain', and the relationship between media freedom, freedom of expression and other human rights. It will examine the various international organisations competent in the media field and the regulatory strategies that are being adopted to deal with media convergence and globalisation. In relation to structural matters, consideration will be given to consolidation of media ownership and state funding of the media, in particular public service broadcasting. In relation to content controls, the course will examine attempts to create a more equitable flow of media content and concerns over 'media imperialism', the regulatory problems posed by pornography and hate speech and the balance to be struck between freedom of the media and privacy.
- Robotics, AI and the Law (20 credits)
The course introduces you to the legal and wider regulatory issues raised by the increasing use of automated and autonomous devices. As we increasingly allow machines to make decisions for us, this raises significant problems for our legal concepts of liability, responsibility legal personhood.
In addition to gaining a deeper understanding of the specific legal issues that are created by a number of particularly important applications of robotics and autonomous agent technology, you will also acquire a generic understanding of the types of problems that are raised by autonomous technologies for the theory of regulation. You will gain an understanding of the limits of regulation by law and the ability to evaluate comparatively other modes of regulation for a given problem.
Information: Control and Power (20 credits)
This course will investigate, through a range of legal disciplines and perspectives, the growing focus placed on, and value attached to, information by society, governments, businesses and individuals; concerns as to its control and misuse; and the impact of this on all stakeholder, particularly in the light of the opportunities and challenges of evolving ¿ and converging - technologies.
The Law of Advertising and Commercial Speech (20 credits)
In substantive terms, students will be introduced to the role of law and regulation relating to advertising and commercial speech. They will be encouraged to think critically about the social, political and economic impact of advertising and the role of law in shaping this field. They will explore the human rights dimension and the public and private interests that underpin advertising law and regulation. The course will consider the interplay of self-regulation and statutory regulation and the role of EU law in shaping domestic rules. Students will also be encouraged to think about how rules are enforced and jurisdiction in an increasingly integrated international marketplace.
E-Governance, Digital Change and Democratisation (10 credits)
Digital technologies are already affecting virtually any aspect of public life: from the way local authorities deliver public services, to how political decisions are made; from supporting business-to-government purchases to harnessing the potential of technological and mobile innovation to bridge the digital divide and aid economic development.
The course focuses on five selected case-studies to discuss the impact of digital technologies on today's societies from a specific public law angle, including constitutional theory (right to vote, equality before the law, democratic decision-making processes), administrative law (delivery of public services, urban governance, public sector procurement) and international public law (right to development) perspectives.
Human-Computer Interaction and Governance (10 credits)
Technology law students increasingly need higher levels of literacy in computing topics, and this course explores a domain of computer science called human-computer interaction (HCI) and questions what lessons we can learn from this field for technology law and governance.
This short 10-credit course presents a range of methodological and substantive topics to broaden law students' skill-sets beyond traditional legal modes of inquiry. This is complemented by utilising novel use cases of cutting edge technologies to ground class discussions in emerging real life governance problems. We will also reflect on practices of designers and what opportunities there are for addressing legal, cultural and social harms in their work.
Legal and Ethical Issues in Digital Journalism (10 credits)
Digital technologies are changing the shape of the journalism ecosystem and raising a whole range of challenges and opportunities, from declining trust in the media to changing practices in newsrooms.
The interplay between the current industry dynamics and the existing ethical and legal frameworks is twofold: on the one hand, it is uncertain whether these frameworks are suitable to address newly emerging concerns in an effective manner (e.g.: is automated journalism content as reliable as traditional news stories, and who bears the responsibility if it is not? What can be done to address emerging safety threats to journalists linked to digital developments?). On the other hand, regulators are also responsible for providing better opportunities for the news media industry to harness unprecedented opportunities (e.g., should journalists be exempted from GDPR compliance?).
Space Law (10 credits)
The course will explore the five main UN treaties relating to space (Outer Space 1967, Rescue Agreement 1968, Liability Convention 1972, Registration Agreement 1975 and Moon Agreement 1979) and their continuing relevance to recent developments in the field of space exploration and use. In addition, each seminar will address a specific development or challenge in regulating space such as the regulation of small satellites, space debris, human space flight and remote sensing.
You can select between 0 and 20 credits of the following courses:
- Intellectual Property Law 1: Copyright and Related Rights (20 credits)
The purpose of this course is to consider the law relating to copyright, design rights, database right, and performers' rights within their institutional setting at international, European and national level.
Recent years have witnessed an expansion in the scope of intellectual property rights, and having examined the institutional setting in which policy is formed, the reach and impact of these rights within the UK will be analysed.
The teaching sessions will also highlight areas of particular topicality.
- Intellectual Property Law 2: Industrial Property (20 credits)
The purpose of this course is to consider the laws relating to patents, trade marks, passing off, and breach of confidence. Noting the international framework and context, the focus will be on European and UK law.
Recent years have witnessed an expansion in the scope of these intellectual property rights. This course will examine in detail the law on subsistence/entitlement to protection, infringement and defences for all of the relevant rights, alongside discussion of wider policy, economic and other considerations.
The sessions will also highlight areas of particular topicality.
You can select between 0 and 40 credits from the following courses:
- Fundamental Issues in Medical Jurisprudence (20 credits)
This course serves as a foundation for critical analytical engagement with the core features of the discipline of medical jurisprudence, being the relationship between law and ethics in the provision of healthcare, the influence of human rights on medical practice, the importance of consent, confidentiality and medical negligence in shaping the contours of the doctor/patient relationship, as well as issues at the start and end of life, such as assisted reproduction and assisted dying. Where appropriate, comparative legal analysis will further inform discussion and debate.
- Contemporary Issues in Medical Jurisprudence (20 credits)
This course is designed to engage students with current live issues arising in the field of medical jurisprudence, being a disciplines which sits at the cross-roads between law, medicine and ethics and is concerned primarily with legal and social responses to advanced in medicine, healthcare and related technologies. The course is deliberately designed to be open and responsive to issues that are current at the time of delivery in any given year.
- Medical Negligence (10 credits)
This course provides a detailed exploration of the law of medical negligence. It is designed to equip students with an in-depth knowledge and understanding of relevant case law. It also aims to develop skills in using the case law effectively by formulating reasoned and persuasive arguments for or against particular legal propositions. Whilst focussing on the law in the UK, the course will have a strong comparative dimension. The medical negligence action will be viewed in its social, economic and political context and students will be encouraged to reflect critically on the various factors driving law and policy in this area.
- Biotechnology, Bioethics and Society (10 credits)
This course considers the ethics of biotechnology and the life sciences. It begins by giving the student an ethics toolbox with which to approach, analyse and assess current bioethical controversies and discourses. It then addresses specific topics to further explore ethical issues arising from biotechnology and its uses, as well as an exercise to explore crucial ethical concepts and arguments. Finally, in an age of moral pluralism, it can be difficult for stakeholders to secure social consensus on how new biotechnologies should be controlled and exploited. As a result, the regulation of biotechnology has often been a site of sharp disagreement. This module will also examine how the bioethical discussion feeds into the regulatory and governance considerations of biotechnology.
- Risk and Regulation: Theories and Practices (20 credits)
This course provides a detailed exploration of risk and its regulation, examining how regulatory frameworks are shaped and/or respond to new and emerging human activities, many of which rely on or prompt new modes of action, new technologies, new relationships, and, importantly, new risks. Focusing on biomedical case studies in the second half of the course, it explores different regulatory theories, instruments and institutions - legal and non-legal, domestic, regional and international - that govern and shape individual and organisational conduct.
Please note that courses 'Medical Negligence' and 'Biotechnology, Bioethics and Society' are co-requisites and must both be taken in the semester in which they run.
You will have the option to take between 0 and 40 credits of courses from different subject areas offered by the Law School, depending on availability and with the express permission of the Programme Director. Depending on demand, space on courses outside the core courses may be limited.
Full programme details, including core and optional courses is available on the University Degree Regulations and Programmes of Study website.
Having successfully completed 120 credit points of courses within the LLM, you will be ready to move onto a single piece of independent and in-depth research. The 10,000 word dissertation allows you to focus on a preferred topic from within the field of innovation, technology and the law, normally based on a subject you have studied in one of your courses during the programme.
You will be assigned an academic dissertation supervisor who will provide you with support and guidance while you prepare and write your dissertation.
The dissertation is a challenging but rewarding endeavour, asking you to demonstrate a comprehensive grasp of the relevant literature and an ability to engage critically with a range of sources, drawing on the skills and knowledge you have developed during the course of the programme. Students are encouraged to show originality and evidence of independent thinking, whether in terms of the material used, or the manner in which it is presented.
The dissertation is written in the summer months (April to August) after the taught courses are successfully completed.
Please note that due to unforeseen circumstances or lack of demand for particular courses, we may not be able to run all courses as advertised come the start of the academic year.
If you have any questions about the LLM in Innovation, Technology and the Law please don't hesitate to contact us.
Staff teaching on the core courses for the LLM in Innovation, Technology and the Law for 2020/21 are experts in their field and are actively involved in cutting-edge research in various legal fields including media law, regulation of new technologies, IT law, IP law, and medical law and ethics.
Dr Rachael Craufurd Smith - Programme Director 2020/21
Rachael Craufurd Smith is a Reader in Media and EU Law specialising in international and European media law and regulation, with a particular interest in the future of public service media, free speech and media responsibility, and the protection of cultural heritage. She completed her doctorate at the European University Institute, Florence, and previously worked as a solicitor at the London law firm Payne Hicks Beech, at the International and Policy and Planning Departments of the BBC, and as a Fellow for a number of years at Trinity and Corpus Christi Colleges and a University Lecturer at the University of Oxford.
Paolo Cavaliere joined the Law School from September 2014 as a lecturer in Digital Media and IT Law. Prior to joining the School, Paolo has been a researcher at the Programme in Comparative Media Law and Policies of the Centre for Socio-Legal Studies of the University of Oxford where he has also helped to coordinate the Monroe Price Media Law Moot Court Competition. His main interests in research include the discipline of pluralism and diversity in the media, e-democracy and the relationship between new media and politics, regulation of audiovisual industries and digital media. He has written about different aspects of Media law, including “mediacracy” and the democratic deficit of the EU; media pluralism in the European sphere; digital technologies and the political debate in the public sphere.
Jane Cornwell joined the Law School as a lecturer in intellectual property law in October 2010. After graduating from the University of Cambridge, she qualified and practised as a solicitor in the intellectual property team at Linklaters LLP in London. Thereafter she spent several years practising at McGrigors LLP in Scotland, latterly as Director in the Edinburgh litigation team specialising in contentious intellectual property. Jane's expertise covers a wide range of IP rights, including trade marks, designs, patents and breach of confidence. Her present teaching and research interests focus on trade marks, designs and remedies for infringement, with a particular interest in the effect of European harmonisation within these areas. Jane is also a member of CREATe (Centre for Creativity, Regulation, Enterprise & Technology), leading a work package on copyright and civil enforcement.
Edward (Ted) Dove is Lecturer in Risk and Regulation at the School of Law, University of Edinburgh, and Deputy Director of the J Kenyon Mason Institute for Medicine, Life Sciences and Law.
From 2011 until 2014, Ted was an Academic Associate at the Centre of Genomics and Policy at McGill University in Montreal. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree (BA) in Political Science and Civil Law and Common Law degrees (BCL, LLB) from McGill University, a Master of Laws degree (LLM) from Columbia University in New York City and a PhD from the University of Edinburgh.
Ted’s primary research interests are in the areas of regulation of biomedical research, research ethics oversight, health-related data access and sharing, and governance of international research collaboration.
Dr. Agomoni Ganguli-Mitra is Chancellor’s Fellow in the Legal and Ethical Aspects of Biomedicine, and Co-director of the JK Mason Institute for Medicine, Life Sciences and the Law. She is also a member of the Wellcome Trust-funded Centre for Biomedicine, Self and Society. Dr. Ganguli-Mitra’s background is in bioethics, with a special interest in global bioethics, structural and gender justice. She has written on ethical issues related to global surrogacy, sex-selection, biomedical research in low-income countries, social value in research governance and the concepts of exploitation and vulnerability in bioethics.
Gerard is a lecturer in medical law and ethics in the School of Law. His research interests include medical law, patent law and the regulation of the life sciences. He speaks Japanese and also conducts comparative research in Japanese law within these subject areas. He has held visiting fellowships at the Centre for Studies in Ethics and Rights (Mumbai, India), the Centre for Biomedical Ethics, National University of Singapore and with the Program on Science, Technology and Society at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.
Burkhard is Professor of Computational Legal Theory and Director of the SCRIPT Centre for IT and IP law. His 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). He is currently working mainly on issues such as privacy compliant software architecture and more generally the scope and limits of representing legal concepts directly in the internet infrastructure.
Smita joined the Law School as a Lecturer in Intellectual Property Law in September 2008. She is also an associate of the SCRIPT Centre for Studies in Intellectual Property and Technology Law and member of CREATe (Centre for Creativity, Regulation, Enterprise & Technology), serving as Lead Investigator on two CREATe projects. Her research interests include applicability of empirical research, particularly socio-legal methodologies in addressing questions on copyright law and policy as to new types of creative content and exploring connections between Intellectual property law and new forms of property and culture through perspectives of creators and users.
Judith Rauhofer is a Lecturer in IT Law and an Associate Director of the Centre for Studies of Intellectual Property and Technology Law (SCRIPT). Her research interests include the commercial and fundamental rights aspects of online privacy and electronic surveillance, data protection, information security and all areas of e-commerce and internet law and policy. Judith is particularly interested in exploring the tensions between privacy as an individual right and as a common good.
Emmanuel is a Lecturer in International Intellectual Property Law. His teaching and research focuses on international and comparative aspects of intellectual property law, and an examination of the relationship between intellectual property and human rights. He is also interested in analysing intellectual property rights in the context of business and human rights.
The staff teaching on this programme are subject to change for 2021/22. Staff listed as on sabbatical will not be available to teach for the duration of their sabbatical.
If you have any questions about the LLM in Innovation, Technology and the Law please don't hesitate to contact us.
Find out what it's like to study for an LLM in Innovation, Technology and the Law at Edinburgh Law School from our current and former students.
Niovi, a student from Greece, studied the LLM in Innovation Technology and the Law at Edinburgh Law School in the 2019/20 academic year. In this video she talks about her experiences on the LLM and living in Edinburgh.
"The Law School has allowed me to pursue my academic interests in Innovation, Technology and the Law while helping me grow personally and technically.
The small classes encouraged in-depth discussions, the interesting but nonetheless extensive reading lists stimulated the overall teaching outcome and the possibility to choose classes and essay topics oneself facilitated every student to make the programme her/his Masters of Law."
"As one of few prominent law schools offering a technology-related program, it provides an uncontested platform to gain a better understanding of the legal aspects of technology applications – including E-commerce, artificial intelligence, and big data – many of which are unregulated or under-regulated. The valuable insights on how to take legal approaches to it, is a forte of this program.
We recommend that you apply as early as possible; this is particularly important for students holding conditional offers (for example, you may need to allow sufficient time to take an English language test) and for overseas students who may need time to satisfy necessary visa requirements (for further, country-specific information, please consult the website of the University's Edinburgh Global) and/or to apply for University accommodation.
Postgraduate study in the field of law requires a thorough, complex and demanding knowledge of English, so we ask that the communication skills of all students are at the same minimum standard.
Students whose first language is not English must therefore show evidence of one of the following qualifications below:
- IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 7.0 in the writing component and 6.5 in each other module)
- TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition): total 100 (at least 25 in writing and 23 in each other module)
- CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 185 in writing and 176 in each other module)
- Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components
Your English language certificate must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.
We also accept an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). The UK Government's website provides a list of majority English speaking countries.
We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree, or equivalent, that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.
If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.
Your application may not be successful if you do not currently satisfy any of these requirements; alternatively, you may be offered a place conditional on your reaching the satisfactory standard by the time you start the degree.
English language support
The University runs a series of programmes for English Language Education, including a pre-sessional English Language Programme intended to strengthen your English Language skills before you start your programme of study.
Due to high demand, the school operates a number of selection deadlines. We will make a small number of offers to the most outstanding candidates on an ongoing basis, but hold the majority of applications until the next published selection deadline when we will offer a proportion of the places available to applicants selected through a competitive process.
Deadlines for applicants applying to study the LLM in Innovation, Technology and the Law in 2021/22 are provided in the table below.
|Round||Application deadline||Decisions by|
|1||11 December 2020||09 February 2021|
|2||05 March 2021||09 April 2021|
|3||14 May 2021||29 June 2021|
|4||30 June 2021||30 July 2021|
We monitor application numbers carefully to ensure we are able to accommodate all those who receive offers. It may therefore be necessary to close a programme earlier than the published deadline and if this is the case we will place a four-week warning notice on the relevant programme page.
Please note that the deadline for meeting the conditions of an offer is 31 August 2021.
Applications are made online via the University Application Service, EUCLID.
Please follow the instructions carefully and make sure that you have included the following documentation with your application:
- Degree certificates showing award of degree.
- Previous academic transcripts for all past degree programmes (please upload the full transcript showing results from all years of study).
- A reference in support or your application. The reference should be academic and dated no earlier than one year from the start of study on the LLM programme.
- Evidence of English language proficiency, if required.
If you are currently studying for your degree or you are not in a possession of an English test result you may still apply to the programme. Please note that it is your responsibility to submit the necessary documents.
Students at this University must not undertake any other concurrent credit bearing studies in this (or in any other) institution, unless the College has granted permission. The College must be satisfied that any additional credit-bearing studies will not restrict the student’s ability to complete their existing programme of study. Students will not be permitted to undertake concurrent degree programmes in any circumstances.
If you are studying at this or another institution just prior to the start of your postgraduate studies you must have finished these studies before the start of the programme to which you have an offer.
After your application has been submitted you will be able to track its progress through the University's applicant hub.
Application processing times will vary however the admissions team will endeavour to process your application within four to six weeks of submission. Please note that missing documentation will delay the application process.
You will be informed as soon as possible of the decision taken. Three outcomes are possible:
- You may be offered a place unconditionally
- You may be offered a conditional place, which means that you must fulfil certain conditions that will be specified in the offer letter. Where a conditional offer is made, it is your responsibility to inform the College Postgraduate Office when you have fulfilled the requirements set out.
- Your application may be unsuccessful. If your application has not been successful, you can request feedback from us or refer to our guidance for unsuccessful applicants, which explains some of the common reasons we why we reach this decision.
View the University's guidance for unsuccessful applicants
Please note that if you receive an offer of a place to study the LLM in Innovation, Technology and the Law and later decide that you do not want to accept your place, we do not allow deferrals. In this case you would have to reapply for the following academic year
You can find full and detailed application guidance on the University's website.
If you receive an offer of admission, either unconditional or conditional, you will be asked to pay a tuition fee deposit of £1,500 (within 28 days of receiving your offer) to secure your place on the programme.
The University’s terms and conditions form part of your contract with the University, and you should read them, and our data protection policy, carefully before applying.
If you have any questions about applying to the LLM in Innovation, Technology and the Law please don't hesitate to contact us.