Computational legalism and the affordance of delay in law



Affordance, efficiency, legality, computational legalism, artificial intelligence


Delay is a central element of law-as-we-know-it: the ability to interpret legal norms and contest their requirements is contingent on the temporal spaces that text affords citizens. As more computational systems are introduced into the legal system, these spaces are threatened with collapse, as the immediacy of ‘computational legalism’ dispenses with the natural ‘slowness’ of text. In order to preserve the nature of legal protection, we need to be clear about where in the legal process such delays play a normative role and to ensure that they are reflected in the affordances of the computational systems that are so introduced. This entails a focus on the design and production of such systems, and the resistance of the ideology of ‘efficiency’ that pervades contemporary development practices.

Reply by Ewa Luger, Chancellor's Fellow, University of Edinburgh.

Author Biography

Laurence Diver, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Postdoctoral Researcher
Counting as a Human Being in the Era of Computational Law (COHUBICOL) project (ERC 2019-2024)



18 December 2020
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How to Cite

Diver, Laurence. 2020. “Computational Legalism and the Affordance of Delay in Law”. Journal of Cross-Disciplinary Research in Computational Law 1 (1).