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UK Law Commission Researches Legal Framework for Blockchain

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The UK’s law commission have published their annual report, detailing upcoming projects and recommendations for legal reform within the United Kingdom. The independent body, which was set up by the UK parliament in 1965, was put in place to carry out ongoing reviews to existing laws and suggest amendments. Part of the document, published today (20th July), outlined a project for researching blockchain and smart contract laws, which will begin this summer.

This most recent mention of blockchain technology follows the commission’s December paper, which flagged smart contracts as being one of the 14 areas that were in need of reform. News of this project is therefore not a surprise, and the wording of the reform suggests that the commission is focused on trust, retaining fair competition for local businesses, and ensuring that the law is all-encompassing enough that there are no – or at least fewer – grey areas when it comes to B2B smart contracts. From the report:

The use of smart contracts to execute legal contracts
is expected to increase efficiency in business
transactions and it is suggested that the use of
blockchain technology will increase trust and certainty.
It is important to ensure that English courts and law
remain a competitive choice for business. Therefore,
there is a compelling case for a Law Commission
scoping study to review the current English legal
framework as it applies to smart contracts.
The purpose of this project would be to ensure that
the law is sufficiently certain and flexible to apply in
a global, digital context and to highlight any topics
which lack clarity or certainty.

As yet, there is no clear deadline for the project, but it is likely that the annual December report will shed further light on the ongoing work that the commission have been doing.

Image Credit: Deposit Photos

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