Digital Law Journal

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The purpose of the Digital Law Journal is to provide a theoretical understanding of the laws that arise in Law and Economics in the digital environment, as well as to create a platform for finding the most suitable version of their legal regulation.

This aim is especially vital for the Russian legal community, following the development of the digital economy in our country. The rest of the world has faced the same challenge, more or less successfully; an extensive practice of digital economy regulation has been developed, which provides good material for conducting comparative research on this issue.

Theoretically, "Digital Law" is based on "Internet Law", formed in English-language scientific literature, which a number of researchers consider as a separate branch of Law.

The journal establishes the following objectives:

– Publication of research in the field of digital law and digital economy in order to intensify international scientific interaction and cooperation within the scientific community of experts.

– Meeting the information needs of professional specialists, government officials, representatives of public associations, and other citizens and organizations; this concerns assessment (scientific and legal) of modern approaches to the legal regulation of the digital economy.

– Dissemination of the achievements of current legal and economic science, and the improvement of professional relationships and scientific cooperative interaction between researchers and research groups in both Russia and foreign countries.

The journal publishes articles in the following fields of developments and challenges facing legal regulation of the digital economy:

1. Legal provision of information security, and the formation of a unified digital environment of trust (identification of subjects in the digital space, legally significant information exchange, etc.).

2. Regulatory support for electronic civil turnover; comprehensive legal research of data in the context of digital technology development, including personal data, public data, and "Big Data".

3. Legal support for data collection, storage, and processing.

4. Regulatory support for the introduction and use of innovative technologies in the financial market (cryptocurrencies, blockchain, etc.).

5. Regulatory incentives for the improvement of the digital economy; legal regulation of contractual relations arising in connection with the development of digital technologies; network contracts (smart contracts); legal regulation of E-Commerce.

6. The formation of legal conditions in the field of legal proceedings and notaries according to the development of the digital economy.

7. Legal provision of digital interaction between the private sector and the state; a definition of the "digital objects" of taxation and legal regime development for the taxation of business activities in the field of digital technologies; a digital budget; a comprehensive study of the legal conditions for using the results of intellectual activity in the digital economy; and digital economy and antitrust regulation.

8. Legal regulation of the digital economy in the context of integration processes.

9. Comprehensive research of legal and ethical aspects related to the development and application of artificial intelligence and robotics systems.

10. Changing approaches to training and retraining of legal personnel in the context of digital technology development; new requirements for the skills of lawyers.

The subject of the journal corresponds to the group of specialties "Legal Sciences" 12.00.00 and "Economic Sciences" 08.00.00 according to the HAC nomenclature.

The journal publishes articles in Russian and English.

The journal will publish quarterly, thereby releasing 4 issues per year.

Current issue

Vol 1, No 4 (2020)
View or download the full issue PDF (Russian)


8-24 669
This essay examines whether smart contract innovation is capable of displacing the orthodox adherence to traditional contracts. This examination is underpinned by an analysis of the legality of smart contracts, through which it is exemplified that smart contracts ought to be considered legally binding instruments. The essay proceeds to explore the superiority of smart contracting on a technical and theoretical basis. The advantages generated through smart contract automaticity and enforceability present a concrete basis for undermining reliance on traditional contracts. Blockchain Technology also enhances the benefits of smart contracts by acting as a smart contract enabler through guaranteed performance and enforceability. Nevertheless, such novel technologies inevitably suffer from several shortcomings. This essay considers examples which illustrate the inflexibility of smart contracting. Apart from being susceptible to hacking and code exploitation, smart contracting is unable to deal with ambiguities and potential modifications. Overall, this suggests that the advantages of smart contract practice are currently confined to some specified limited scenarios. Smart contracts perform a different function to traditional contracting by merely guaranteeing technical enforceability as opposed to legal enforceability. This essay thus concludes that, for the time being, it is best to regard smart contracting as a supplement to traditional contracts rather than an outright displacement.


25-37 449
The article examines 2020 post-crisis results and 2021 trends in FinTech regulation development. FinTech, being a relatively new term, has become a completely new industry, which combines rapidly developing technologies and financial products (including digital assets) or services. The year 2020, despite the pandemic and localization (and maybe even more so), seems as significant, if not more so, for market change and further development. The world has changed, and new technologies are vital for successful competition among financial players and even for their survival. Most of the leading international financial centers have focused on regulating FinTech and the use of innovations in classic highly regulated areas. In the article we address the pros and cons of technology regulation and make a comparative analysis of the leading revolutionary trends.
The most revolutionary developments have appeared in smaller European countries, which the leaders are forced to follow. Law harmonization has become a natural step forward for Europe to regulate blockchain businesses and to agree on terminology and risk prevention measures for innovation support. The research examines the development and regulation of FinTech in such jurisdictions as Switzerland, Malta, Liechtenstein, Gibraltar and the United States. The approach is interdisciplinary, linking Russian legal norms, applicable rules, and expected results. The main methods used in the research are analysis, comparative-legal, and formal-legal methods.
38-55 270
The article includes a comprehensive analysis of changes that have been taking place in Russian antitrust enforcement in response to the digitalization of the economy. Digitalization has led to increase of the role of information and digital platforms in day-to-day business activities of the market players. Digitalization vanished geographical boundaries of the digital markets and modified market structures in general. Innovative technologies, big data, and intellectual property have become the key drivers of economic growth.
The authors analyze new violations of antimonopoly legislation in the digital era (in particular collusive tendering using auction robots), the anticompetitive effects resulting from the use of pricing algorithms, and the first approaches of the antitrust authority to regulations of the algorithmic pricing. In addition, within the framework of this article, the first legal positions of the antitrust authority regarding the use of pricing algorithms, as well as the new approaches of the regulator to the analysis of digital markets in merger control are considered, taking into account such factors as network effects, big data and technologies. Moreover, the authors analyze the first practice of using the technology transfer as a remedy in merger control by the antitrust authority to mitigate anti-competitive effects of the transactions planned in the Russian market. Finally, the authors conduct an overview of the new legal provisions governing the mandatory pre-installation of applications by Russian developers, and also describe the background for this initiative. When considering the above topics, the authors deeply analyze the relevant Russian and foreign legislation, draft laws, and the law enforcement practice of the Federal Antimonopoly Service.
New approaches of the regulator to the analysis of digital markets in the framework of antitrust investigations and merger control, as well as automation of the processes of detecting antitrust violations, demand more attention from market players. Companies are encouraged to take these trends into account in their business activities, reflect them in antitrust compliance programs, as well as implement additional measures to prevent potential antitrust violations in digital markets, in particular, committed with the use of pricing algorithms.
56-73 228
In recent years, scholars have focused increased attention on the idea of personalized law. It suggests the creation and enforcement of individualized legal norms based on the algorithmic processing of data in the similar manner companies personalize their services using Big Data tools. The article aims to define the role and position of personalized law and to evaluate the risks and consequences of personalization in the context of the emerging digital economy. The research analyses the theoretical grounds of personalized law and justifies its interpretation from the perspective of Hart’s legal positivism striking a balance between the sociological facticity of law and normativism. The study reveals the content, essential features of personalized law and defines its concept. The author analyses the correlation of personalized law with fundamental rights, thus evaluating the risks and consequences of personalization. Particularly, the errors of the approximation of a person’s actual will could occur as part of algorithmic decision-making thereby resulting in discrimination. It appears reasonable that at the beginning, algorithmic personalization should cover only those domains which have the minimal risk of the violation of fundamental norms and of intrusion into the field of social debates. The study underscores, that the transparency of the public sector and of the data-based algorithmic decision-making process is crucial in the context of personalized law, but nevertheless could debase its idea due to opportunistic practices. The issues identified during the research lead one to suggest that professionals who have both legal education and expertise in computer sciences would be in demand in the future. Such professionals could perform the role of independent experts and neutral authority monitoring compliance with data subject’s rights.
74-83 214
The development of artificial intelligence necessitates the legal regulation of social relations associated with the use of new technologies. Today, fragmented regulatory regulation is noted in Russian law, expressed, as the rule, in strategic documents in which artificial intelligence technologies are reflected as cross-cutting technologies that contribute to the development of the digital economy.
The purpose of this work is to determine the place of artificial intelligence among the elements of legal relations, which is seen as necessary for building the model of legal regulation of artificial intelligence.
The research methodology is based on the set of methods of scientific knowledge, including abstract logical, formal legal and the method of correlation analysis.
The article analyzes approaches to determining the place of artificial intelligence in the structure of legal relations. The scientific discussion is that some authors attribute artificial intelligence to the variety of objects of legal regulation; other authors admit that it is possible to consider artificial intelligence as the specific subject of law.
As the result of research, the authors come to the conclusion that today artificial intelligence should be classified as the type of objects of legal regulation.
In conclusion, the work also evaluates the possibilities and measures of the participation of artificial intelligence in legal activities. The authors come to the conclusion that today the cognitive potential of artificial intelligence has not yet reached the level of development that allowed it to repeat the thought processes of the lawyer in resolving the legal dispute. At the same time, artificial intelligence has tremendous potential to become the irreplaceable technological “assistant” for the lawyer, contributing to the improvement of the quality and efficiency of legal services.

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