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Oxford brings together experts and students from Computer Science and Law to start a new era of interdisciplinary education


On Tuesday 15th October, the University of Oxford launched its new interdisciplinary course, Law and Computer Science.  

This course, jointly offered by the Department of Computer Science (co-convenor, Professor Tom Melham) and the Law Faculty (co-convenor, Professor Rebecca Williams), will introduce students from both backgrounds to the terrain at the boundaries of their two disciplines. The overarching theme is understanding Law and Computer Science at their interface.

Such interdisciplinary understanding requires both lawyers and computer scientists to develop an appreciation of the way in which they typically approach problems, with very different analytic tools. A key pedagogical strategy for the course is to teach Law and Computer Science students together, and in particular for them to collaborate on a group-work practical exercise. This will accelerate both groups’ acculturation to each other’s analytic perspectives through learning from each other as well as from faculty.

The opening lecture as well as the lively follow-on discussion was led by a former Oxford student, who himself has combined the two disciplines since late 1980s and is now considered one the leading figures in the field, Professor Richard Susskind OBE.

The research behind this course is part of an ongoing Oxford project titled ‘Unlocking the Potential of Artificial Intelligence for English Law’ which is run by researchers in the Oxford departments and faculties of Law, Economics, Computer Science, Education and the Said Business School, and led by  Professor John Armour  of the Oxford Law Faculty.

As a global leader in education, Oxford University is committed to sharing knowledge and insights related to the course and will release multiple open access materials as the course progresses.

Tom Melham comments, 'this innovative new course uses an interdisciplinary approach that will benefit students from both faculties, enabling them to look at the subject from different angles and learn from one another'.


Adapted from an article by Václav Janeček