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Centre for Commercial Law Studies

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Information Technology, Media and Communications Law

The Institute of Computer and Communications Law (ICCL) includes the activities of Queen Mary academics that teach and research in the areas of law concerned with information and communication technologies. The ICCL was established within the Centre for Commercial Law Studies at Queen Mary, University of London in 1989, with the appointment of Professor Brian Napier to the Digital Equipment Corporation Chair.

Academic members

The ICCL currently comprises eight full-time academics and a number of visiting fellows. 

Professor John Angel is a graduate of the LLM programme at the Centre and a judge in the Administrative Appeals Chamber of the Upper Tribunal. He is also the Principal Judge of the Information Rights jurisdiction in the First-tier Tribunal, which hears appeals from notices issued by the Information Commissioner under the Data Protection Act 1998, the Freedom of Information Act 2000, and related legislation. He teaches on our Privacy and Information Law LLM module.

In 2009-10 the ICCL recruited two new staff members. Noam Shemtov joined the ICCL as the Leverhulme Lecturer in Computer and Communications Law. The lectureship is funded by the Leverhulme Trust to provide cover for Professor Chris Reed while he is engaged on his Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship project. Kuan Hon joined CCLS in October 2010 as the Research Assistant to the Cloud Computing Legal Research Project. Kuan Hon obtained an MSc in Computing Science with merit from Imperial College, London in 2009 and an LLM in Computer and Communications Law with merit from Queen Mary, University of London in 2010.

Other visiting fellows who work closely with the ICCL are David Goldberg and Professor Patrick Van Eecke. David Goldberg created the teaching of media law (in 1983) at the School of Law, University of Glasgow having founded the Journal of Media Law and Practice in 1979. He is a Senior Visiting Fellow with the ICCL. Goldberg is an Associate Fellow, Centre for Socio-Legal Studies, Faculty of Law, University of Oxford and a founding member of the International Media Lawyers Association, as well as sitting on the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Free Expression Panel.

Patrick Van Eecke is a Professor at the University of Antwerp and Partner and Head of the Internet Law Group in the Brussels office of the law firm DLA Piper LLP. He has published widely in the area and has recently completed a major study for the Information Society Directorate-General of the European Commission on a ‘Legal analysis of a Single Market for the Information Society’, to which Ian Walden was a contributor.

Teaching

LLM Programme

The academic members of the ICCL are responsible for six modules on the LLM programme:

  • Electronic Commerce Law
  • Privacy and Information Law
  • Media Law, Communications Law
  • Privacy and Information Law
  • Cyberspace Law
  • Computer Law

Distance Learning LLM

Undergraduate Teaching

Two modules on the LLB undergraduate degree - Media Law and Cyberspace Law.

Queen Mary and Beijing University of Post and Telecommunications

Since 2006 the ICCL has provided teaching input on five course modules to support the undergraduate joint programme between Queen Mary and Beijing University of Post and Telecommunications (BUPT). The programme is led by the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science and we contribute to the BSc in Electronic Engineering and the Law. For the ICCL, the programme director is Gavin Sutter.

We were also involved in teaching on courses for the summer programmes of US universities, specifically the University of Pacific McGeorge School of Law (2007-8) and the Southwestern Law School in California (2009-2011).

Research

DG Trade of the European Commission Contract - De Jure Rules 2008

In 2008, the ICCL was also awarded a contract by DG Trade of the European Commission, to examine the de jure rules in five major service sectors (maritime transport, construction, distribution, postal and courier services and telecommunications) in twelve major trading countries. The objective of the study is to analyse such rules against liberalisation commitments made in bilateral, regional and multilateral trade agreements, with a view to assisting Commission trade officials in their future negotiations (€54,600).

Cloud Computing Legal Research - Microsoft Funded 2009-2012

In 2009, we were awarded three-year funding from Microsoft to examine the legal implications of Cloud Computing. The purpose of this project is to reduce the uncertainty of the legal and regulatory status of several essential aspects of cloud computing through publishing a series of scholarly yet practical research papers addressing various legal and regulatory issues fundamental to the successful development of cloud computing. The following papers have already been published:

  • ‘Personal Data’ in Cloud Computing - What Information is Regulated? The Cloud of Unknowing, Part 1
  • Who is Responsible for ‘Personal Data’ in Cloud Computing? The Cloud of Unknowing, Part 2;
  • Law Enforcement Access in a Cloud Environment;
  • Information Ownership in the Cloud; and
  • Terms of Service Analysis for Cloud Providers

View full information about the project on the Cloud Legal Project website. The principal investigator is Christopher Millard, with support from all the other members of the ICCL.

Law 2.0 Effective Lawmaking for Cyberspace - Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship 2009-2011

In 2009, Chris Reed was awarded a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship. The Fellowships are aimed at senior scholars who intend to pursue a substantial and important project. They are awarded on a competitive basis and around 90% of applications are unsuccessful. Chris Reed's award for 2009-11 was one of only two awards made in Law for the entire UK during that application round. His project is entitled ‘Law 2.0 - effective lawmaking for cyberspace’. It will investigate how lawmaking for cyberspace can be effective, by identifying and analysing the fundamental principles and techniques which produce successful cyberspace law, and by explaining the application of those principles and techniques to cyberspace lawmaking and the limitations on their use. It aims to produce two books, one a detailed legal analysis of the results and the other aimed at policymakers and the general public. Academic papers on different aspects of lawmaking principle and technique will be published during the term of the project.

Enforcement of Consumer Laws over the Internet 2010

In 2010, we were awarded a contract by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills to carry out a comparative study of enforcement of consumer laws over the Internet. The project is being led by Dr Julia Hörnle.

Open Source Licences Survey 2010

In 2010, we received a generous gift from Microsoft to conduct a survey of Open Source licenses (£46,000). The survey examines licenses that are considered to be Open Source. Licenses are classified according to broad categories such as strong copyleft, weak copyleft, no copyleft, as well as licenses that do not comply with the Open Source Definition, although often mistaken to be so. Each of these individual licenses is then examined and analysed in detail, with a view to identify its core aspects in relation to a number of factors. We are also categorizing the licenses by reference to the business model or operational environment that is stated or perceived to underpin each type of license. Academic papers mapping the legal analysis of Open Source licenses will be published at the end of the project. Due to an increasing proliferation of Open Source software into industries across the spectrum, the project may extend to a second stage where it will focus on Open Standards.

EU Data Protection Directive - Which? Contract 2011

In 2011, the ICCL was awarded a contract by Which? to consider reforms of the EU Data Protection Directive and its impact on consumer protection.

Publications

We continue to publish widely in journals, book contributions and books. 

  • Media Law and Practice, eds. David Goldberg, Gavin Sutter & Ian Walden Oxford University Press, October 2009
  • Telecommunications Law and Regulation, ed. Ian Walden (3rd edition), Oxford University Press, March 2009 (Christopher Millard and John Angel are contributing authors) (4th edition is due in early 2012)
  • Cross-border Internet Dispute Resolution, Julia Hörnle, Cambridge University Press, 2009
  • Computer Crimes and Digital Investigations, Ian Walden, Oxford University Press, 2007.
  • Computer Law, eds. Chris Reed and John Angel, Oxford University Press, 2007 (Millard, Sutter and Walden are contributing authors)
  • Online Gambling and International Law, Julia Hörnle, Brigitte Zammit, Elgar Publishing, 2010
  • Intellectual Property Law: Economic and Social Justice Perspectives, Anne Flanagan, Maria Lilla Montagnani, Elgar Publishing, 2010

Members of the ICCL are also involved in the production of journals in our area of specialism. Julia Hörnle (Managing Editor) and Christopher Millard (General Editor) are involved with the International Journal and Law and Information Technology (OUP); while David Goldberg, Gavin Sutter and Ian Walden are on the Advisory Panel for Communications Law (Bloomsbury Professional).

External impact

Members of the ICCL has also been involved in law reform initiatives in a number of individual states, i.e. Cambodia (Walden), Lao PDR (Walden), Bahrain (Walden) and China (Flanagan, Hörnle).

Julia Hörnle has been invited by the EU-China Information Society Project to act as expert advising the Chinese government on the UK/EU approach to Internet law & regulation (managed four projects in 2007-2009: online arbitration, spam, virtual worlds & virtual law and consumer protection in e-commerce). She was also invited as expert to the ‘Internet Summit’ Round Table organised by Minister Gareth Thomas MP (January 2008) to advise on consumer protection and e-commerce policy.

Gavin Sutter is a member of the executive board of BILETA (British & Irish Law, Education & Technology Association) and is currently vice-chair.

Ian Walden was appointed to the Press Complaints Commission in December 2009, having previously served as an independent non-executive board member and trustee of the Internet Watch Foundation, from 2004-2009.

In January 2010, Ian Walden was appointed by the Government to the Executive Board of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety and Board Champion for Self-regulation.

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