Legal Design VIRTUALtable 2020

Dear all,

after much thought over the last few days, we have decided to confirm our event online. Authors of the selected papers have invested a lot of time and effort to participate and we are lucky enough to have the technological means to give online conferencing a try.

We are aware that we cannot maintain the program as originally planned and with the same level of interaction. Therefore we have adopted some changes that you will find below.

This VIRTUALtable is going to be an experiment, at least for the organisers of this event. So, we thank you in advance for your patience and understanding. Let's experience it as a "prototype" and see what we can learn from it.

The positive aspect is that everyone with an Internet connection can participate! You can register at this link. We will provide you the details for joining the event in due course.

Stay safe and stay home!

All the best,

the Legal Design VIRTUALtable organisers




Legal Design RoundVirtualtable 2020

Legal Design Methodology: A pre-Blueprint

1 and 2 of April 2020

CEST Timezone


Official hashtag of the event #LDV2020


Program - April 1

10.00-10.30: Waiting room

All participants are free to enter the Meeting to test the audio and video.


10.30 - 10.40: e-welcoming of participants by Rossana Ducato and Alain Strowel


Session 1
Discussing the notion of Legal Design


Chair: Rossana Ducato (UCLouvain and Université Saint-Louis – Bruxelles)



10.40-10.50 I Apolline Le Gall (Où sont les Dragons ; Centre de Recherche en Design, ENSCI-Les Ateliers, ENS Paris-Saclay) and Sumi Saint-Auguste (Open Law * Le Droit Ouvert ; Prospective Lab, Lefebvre Sarrut), The four spaces of design practice: drawing from design theory to enhance legal design practice

10.50-11.00 : Q&A


Session 2
Design for Legal Education and Legal Culture

11.00 – 11.40

Chair: Alain Strowel (UCLouvain, Université Saint-Louis – Bruxelles and KULeuven)



11.00-11.10 I Emily Allbon (City, University London) and Rae Digby-Morgan, Is law really that ‘special’?

11.10-11.20: Q&A

11.20 – 11.30 I Michael Doherty (Lancaster University), Using service design methods in the redesign of a law degree curriculum

11.30-11.40 : Q&A



Session 3
Legal Design in the Data Protection Field

11.40 – 12.00

Chair: Arianna Rossi (Snt, University of Luxembourg)



11.40-11.50 I Zohar Efroni and Marie Schirmbeck (Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society in Berlin; Humboldt University Law Faculty), Data Protection and Privacy Icons: A Risk-Based Approach to Visualization of Data Processing Aspects

11.50-12.00: Q&A



12.00 - 14.00: Lunch time (at least in the European timezone)


Session 4
Legal Design and Access to Justice

14.00- 16.05

Chair: Margaret Hagan (Stanford University) (video message?)



14.00-14.10 I Petra Hietanen-Kunwald (University of Helsinki) and Maria Claudia Solarte-Vasquez (Aalto University and Taltech), Operationalizing access to justice and empowerment in transaction design

14.10-14.20: Q&A

14.20-14.30 I Chiara Fioravanti and Francesco Romano (IGSG, CNR), Legal design projects in a specific domain: lessons learned and contributions from different disciplines

14.30-14.40: Q&A

14.40-14.50 I Florence Cols (Droits Quotidiens), A methodology to rewrite the Belgian letter of rights

14.50-15.00: Q&A

15.00-15.25: e-break

15.25-15.35 I Santiago Pardo Rodriguez (Universidad de los Andes), Access to Justice through Legal Design: the experience of the Legal Design Lab of the Universidad de los Andes and the Colombian Constitutional Court

15.35-15.45: Q&A

15.45-15.55 I Lois Lupica (University of Maine School of Law) and Genevieve Grant (Monash University), Will legal design improve civil justice systems? And how will we ever know?

 15.55-16.05: Q&A

Session 5
Technologies for Testing in Legal Design projects


Chair: Stefania Passera (University of Helsinki and Passera Design)



16.10-16.20 I Joaquín Santuber (Hasso-Plattner-Institute; This is Legal Design GBR), Lina Krawietz (This is Legal Design GBR), Babajide Owoyele (Hasso-Plattner-Institute) and Jonathan Antonio Edelman (Hasso-Plattner-Institute), Feasible and accessible psycho-physiological methods for Legal Design

16.20-16.30: Q&A

16.30-16.40 I  Jesper Clement, Frederikke Hjort Arentz, Maria José Schmidt-Kessen (Copenhagen Business School), Testing the effectiveness of online legal warnings with the help of eye-tracking experiments

16.40-16.50: Q&A

16.50-17.15: virtual cin cin


Program - April 2

09.30-10.00: e-welcoming of participants

  • Test of the connection
  • Test of audio/video
  • Instruction about the netiquette of the virtual roundtable


Session 1
Legal Design and Dispute Resolution

10.00 – 10.40

Chair: Rossana Ducato



10.00 – 10.10 I Marco Imperiale (LCA), How a mediator’s mindset could improve legal design thinking

10.10-10.20: Q&A

10.20 – 10.30 I Hietanen-Kunwald Petra and Helena Haapio (Univeristy of Vaasa, Lexpert), Applying legal design in dispute prevention and resolution

10.30 – 10.40 : Q&A

10.40-11.00: e-break


Session 2
Notable examples of Legal Design in the private sector

11.00 – 12.20

Chair: Helena Haapio (University of Vaasa and Lexpert)



11.00-11.10 I Angela Tang (Slaughter and May), Unpacking Legal Design - Using the Double Diamond Framework in a Corporate Law Firm

11.10 – 11.20: Q&A

11.20 – 11.30 I Cynthia Charlier and Jeoffrey Vigneron (Lawgitech), Understanding digital platform regulations with interactive design & learning tools

11.30 – 11.40: Q&A

11.40 – 11.50 I Marie Potel (Amurabi), How to design compliance to restore its function, and reveal its underlying value?

11.50 – 12.00: Q&A

12.00 – 12.10 I Andres Polania, Jorge Garcia and Angelica Flechas, Legal Service Design for a bank, beyond the re-design of contracts

12.10-12.20: Q&A


12.20 -12.30: Greetings and farewell

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Second special issue on “Visual Law” on JOAL

The Journal of Open Access to Law (JOAL) hosts the second special issue dedicated to visual law.


Check the contributions by:



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Seminar “Icons, Transparency, and Data Protection – how might we translate legal provisions into tiny visual elements?”

EITLab Series of Seminar – 28 February, h. 9.30-10.20 


Seminar with Arianna Rossi on Icons, Transparency, and Data Protection – how might we translate legal provisions into tiny visual elements?


In data protection regulations, informing users about the practices of personal data collection and processing is a central tenet for lawfulness and a crucial means to implement the principle of transparency. Although this information is usually disclosed through privacy policies, Article 12(7) of the General Data Protection Regulation provides for standardised icons as an admissible way to communicate to users what happens to their data.
But what kind of communication can pictograms enable? And what is the current state of the research on data protection icons and can their efficacy be investigated? Several organizations are currently creating icon sets – however, these emerging initiatives follow different methodologies and have different goals: icons can prominently display risks deriving from data processing to enable informed consent, they can support the navigation of textual privacy policies, or they can be used in privacy dashboards as data subjects’ gateways to the exercise of their rights.

In this seminar, we will explore several questions:

• What is the function of the icons enshrined by the GDPR?
• To which extent can the GDPR icons implement the principle of transparency?
• What is the current state of research on icons amongst other transparency-enhancing measures and which results can be expected?
• How can privacy icons be designed and tested?

Arianna Rossi is an academic researcher in Socio-Technical Cybersecurity within the Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT) of the University of Luxembourg. Her research activity mainly develops in the domains of Legal Design and human-centred privacy, with a focus on choice architecture and transparency-enhancing technologies. In 2019, she received a joint international Doctoral Degree in Law, Science and Technology from the University of Bologna and a PhD degree in Computer Science from the University of Luxembourg.

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“Make Websites Privacy Friendly Again! Overview of Systemic Issues and Tooling”, Seminar by Robert Riemann

We are pleased to invite you to the seminar “Make Websites Privacy Friendly Again! Overview of Systemic Issues and Tooling”, by Robert Riemann (IT Policy Unit of the European Data Protection Supervisor).

The seminar will be held on Friday 21, h. 10.30-11.30, at the Faculté de Droit, room MORE 66-67.

During the session, Robert Riemann will quickly lead us through the development of websites and the Internet economy over the last 20 years.After a primer on browser technologies for tracking, a hands-on exercise follows to show how such tracking can be made visible. For this, we use Firefox and Chrome. Eventually, the free software from the European Data Protection Supervisor (the Website Evidence Collector) is shown, which can automatically detect, record and document tracking of personal data.

Bring your laptop! We are going to understand what personal data is transferred and stored when we visit a website in practice!


Robert Riemann holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Physics from the University of Berlin. In 2017, he received the degree of a doctor in computer science from the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Lyon for his research on the subject of distributed communication systems for e.g. online voting. Since then, he works at the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) in Brussels in the IT Policy unit. He covers mainly web technologies and P2P and follows up on recent technological developments.

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Legal Design Roundtable – call for papers and project outlines

Over the last few years, the term “Legal Design” has been widely popularised. From its first steps rooted in information design, the concept has been applied in a variety of sectors, from contract drafting to access to justice, online dispute resolution, development of privacy indicators, prototyping for policy, etc. In its evolution, the field of legal design has grown borrowing from the practice, different disciplines and methodologies.
The time is now ripe to bring together all these experiences, understand, study and discuss them.
With the Legal Design Manifesto, a first working definition of Legal Design has been formulated: Legal Design is “an interdisciplinary approach to apply human-centred design to prevent or solve legal problems”. It is a purpose-oriented discipline that identifies the gaps of protection created by emerging technologies, social phenomena or legal rules and proposes (aka: design) innovative solutions to empower citizens operating in a given legal system. Legal Design Studies can contribute to create new legal services, test existing legal categories and theories, propose innovative methods and approaches in legal studies.
The Roundtable aims precisely to critically explore convergences and divergences among the experiences emerged so far and draft a blueprint for the Legal Design methodology.


The Legal Design Roundtable accepts contributions in two forms:
1. Input methodological papers
2. Legal Design project outlines

Input methodological papers are short contributions (max 4.000 words) where the authors can address specific issues as how a method or an approach from a certain discipline can contribute to Legal Design Studies. Such papers can take a theoretical perspective and do not necessarily need to be related to an ongoing project. Contributions are welcome in – but not limited to – the following domains:
– Law (legal informatics, empirical legal studies, proactive/preventive law, intellectual property, comparative law, etc.);
– Arts;
– Information design;
– UX design;
– Human-computer interaction;
– Behavioural and Cognitive sciences;
– Ethnography;
– Linguistics;
– Rhetoric and argumentation techniques;
– Sociology.

Legal Design project outline must provide i) an overview of a finalized research (or, at least, close to a conclusion) and ii) a way to implement a legal design methodology.

The outline has to emphasise the methodological aspects followed in the study, clearly describing the research design and the method used in each single phase of the project. To favour the discussion and the comparability of the approaches, authors will be asked to follow the templates included in Annex I.

While preparing your contribution, please ensure to follow the OSCOLA style.


The Legal Design Roundtable is a 2-days forum for discussion.
Papers will be shared among the participants (speakers and attendants) before the event. All participants are expected to read and be prepared to discuss the contributions.

DAY 1 (Wednesday, April 1) will be dedicated to the presentation of the accepted contributions. The roundtable is meant to be highly dynamic and the discussion will be facilitated by one or more moderators per session. This event is going to be open to the public.
DAY 2 (Thursday, April 2) will be devoted to the discussion of the draft paper “Legal Design Methodology: A Blueprint” (see below, section “Outcome”). The participation to this event is reserved to the accepted contributors only.


The expected outcome of the Legal Design Roundtable is a collective paper on the methodological foundations of legal design that will summarise the results of the discussion. The paper will be published in an international peer-reviewed journal and available in open access.
A draft of the paper, prepared by the scientific committee, will be shared among the selected participants before the event. Such a draft will contain a first elaboration of the main inputs coming from the accepted contributions. Authors will be invited to comment and make suggestions to the draft on April 2, 2020.
Authors are free to re-publish their input methodological papers and legal design project outlines after the roundtable.


31 December 2019: Expression of interest. An abstract of max 1000 words should be submitted through Easychair:

– The abstract should specify for which track the author intends to send her contribution (1. input methodological paper; or 2. legal design project outline).
– Please remember that the roundtable is dedicated to the methodological aspects: make sure to emphasise this perspective in your abstract.

14 January 2020: Notification of acceptance

14 February 2020: Deadline for sending the input methodological paper/legal design project outline. For the legal design project outline, authors are kindly invited to follow the format provided in Annex I.


There are no participation fees.

Participants are responsible for organising and paying their own travel and accommodation costs.


Rossana Ducato (UCLouvain, Université Saint-Louis – Bruxelles) and Alain Strowel (UCLouvain, Université Saint-Louis – Bruxelles, KULeuven, IP Munich Centre).


For any question or query about the roundtable, you can write at the following address:


The Legal Design Roundtable is an event promoted within the Jean Monnet Module “European IT Law by Design”, co-funded by the Erasmus+ Program of the European Union.

Download the Legal Design Roundtable Call for papers

Download the Annex I

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JOAL – Special Issue on “Visual Law”

NEWS! The first special issue on Visual law has been published on the Journal of Open Access to Law

Access the special issue here


Editorial – by Rossana Ducato

De iurisprudentia picturata: brief notes on law and visualisation

Law is usually considered a textual phenomenon (Katsh, 1995). For example, from their first steps into a faculty of law students know they will have to prepare for exams on codes and text-books. In their practice lawyers have to formulate opinions, claims or defences in a document or in oral statements. Judges are called on to write decisions which will be read aloud in court and published. Notaries prepare (and confer authenticity on) legal documents and contracts for their clients. Legislators enact laws, decrees and regulations that consist of a series of rules expressed in verbal statements. Legal scholars write books, commentaries, essays and scientific articles starting from the literature review.

The “verbocentrism” or “logocentrism” of law has been explained by Boehme-Neßler (2011, pp. 106-107) as a choice that over the centuries has had the role of ensuring the rationality and objectiveness of law and verbal linguistic acts have been the preferred means of communicating the complexity of legal discourse. After all, the “word”, written or spoken, is one of the most efficient technologies invented by humans to pass on knowledge (including legal knowledge) to the next generation.

However, a closer look at legal history demonstrates that textual form is not the only way in which legal concepts and knowledge can be expressed (Sacco, 2015).

First, as the scholars of law and literature have extensively argued, symbols (Costantini and Morra, 2014), emblems (Goodrich, 2014; Heritier, 2014), graphs (e.g. the tree of human knowledge by Diderot and d’Alembert)[1] and rituals (Miller, 2005) are examples of the manifestation of the law and its normativity through visual representation. Therefore, the use of visual communication in law is not something completely unknown or new to the legal tradition.

Second, the convergence of digitalisation, the visual media culture, insights from information design and behavioural sciences, and the advent of legal design[2] have contributed to opening new perspectives on the relationship between law and visual studies.

How, though, is this relationship structured? Trying to offer a bird’s eye view of the phenomenon, it seems to me that the interplay between law and visualisation is essentially threefold.

First of all, visualisation can be the object of the law. Intellectual property is a paradigmatic example of regulation of human creativity and forms of visual communication. For example, copyright/droit d’auteur recognises an exclusive right – limited in time – to authors of original works (e.g., paintings, photographs, pictures, etc.). Design protects the appearance of the whole or part of a product (either three-dimensional or two-dimensional). A trademark is a sign (not only a word mark, but also a figurative one, a shape, a pattern, a sound, a colour) used to identify products and distinguish the right holder from competitors.

Hence, the law can intervene to establish and verify the requirements of protection for certain forms of visualisation. However, it can also prohibit some graphical presentations of information in order to guarantee other legal interests and values. This is the case, for example, with pre-ticked boxes for obtaining consent, something explicitly forbidden in different areas of law, notably consumer protection and data protection.[3] This policy measure evidently embeds some behavioural insights: the legislator has banned such pre-checked boxes to effectively protect the weak party against those forms of visualisation which can unduly influence the decision-making process of the user.[4] Indeed, by exploiting the inertia and status quo bias the choice architecture at the core of pre-ticked boxes is likely to lead consumers and data subjects to stick with the default option that is offered to them (van Ooijen and Vrabec, 2019).[5]

The other two strands of the relationship between law and visualisation are what Colette Brunschwig has labelled as “visual law”, meaning the “law as visual phenomenon both within and outside the legal context” (Brunschwig, 2014, p. 902).

According to Brunschwig, visualisation in the extra-legal domain refers essentially to visual legal culture, i.e. the representation of the law (legal concepts, topoi, professionals, courts) in art, literature, architecture, films, novels, TV series, etc. This area has been the object of investigation by legal iconography, legal iconology, visual legal semiotics, and the art and law movement.[6]

With regard to visual law as instances of visualisation in the legal framework, Brunschwig distinguishes between 1) legal visualisation in legislation and in legal sources in a strict sense, 2) legal visualisation in court judgements, 3) visual jurisprudence (legal education and research), and 4) legal visualizations in state legal practice in a wide sense and in private legal practice.

1) Legal visualisation in legislation and in legal sources in a strict sense refers to norm visualisation established in a legal provision and having legal value. The paradigmatic example is represented by the traffic signals of road codes, which express warnings, prohibitions, orders or information.

In this section I would also include other forms of visualisations, such as the provision of Article 12(7) GDPR, where machine-readable icons (to be adopted with a delegated act) are suggested for use in liaison with the textual information that data controllers must give to data subjects (according to the information obligations provided at Arts. 13-14 GDPR).[7] The rationale behind this provision is to implement the principle of transparency in practice, proposing “accompanying icons” as a way to provide a more meaningful and intelligible overview of processing.[8]

Along the same lines, the field of intellectual property offers a few examples. For instance, drawings are a key element of a patent application and can be used to interpret claims, while certification seals and geographical indications in food law (Ferrari and Izzo, 2012) play a pivotal role in informing consumers about product quality and safety.

2) Legal visualisation in court judgements. This is probably the least developed area of the Brunschwig categorisation because graphical and other visual elements are not usually part of the body of the judgement (if we do not consider court emblems and stamps). However, Haapio and Passera (2013) have identified two first interesting examples that, even if episodic, could serve as a preliminary case study. The US example is probably the most famous. In 2011 Judge Posner, acute and prolific legal scholar, inserted into his opinion two pictures: the first one representing an ostrich and the second one showing a man in a suit, both occupied in burying their heads in the sand. The goal was to literally illustrate the attitude of the two lawyers that, in a tyre case pending before Posner, ignored a relevant precedent (not favourable to them).[9] In that case the use of pictures was not directly functional for representing the holding of the decision (but eventually to give more rhetorical force to an obiter dictum). Nevertheless, it is interesting from a comparative perspective since it confirms the peculiar style of US opinions, a “literary genre” well-studied by comparative lawyers (Wells, 1994; Mattei, 2004) and Posner (1995) himself.[10] However, it is also possible to find an example of the use of visual elements in the body of a judicial decision in Europe. In a case of financial fraud in 2009 the Court of Appeal for Western Sweden used two pictures (specifically, timelines and graphs) to integrate the narratioof the facts of the case (in particular, to represent the timing of the creation of false invoices by the defendant in relation to its financial situation). [11]

This is a far as we have gone with the direct use of pictures and images by judges in their decisions. However, graphical elements have long been utilised in judicial proceedings.[12] Photographs, drawings, maps and models can be introduced as evidence by lawyers or used by court-appointed experts in their reports. While a graph illustrating the chronological order of transactions or a cadastral map can indeed be a useful element for better understanding factual dynamics, other forms of visualisation are more problematic. Without needing to recall the shrewd John Travolta at the beginning of A civil action, several studies have underlined the “persuasive” power of images and pictures in judicial decision-making, especially when a jury is involved (Mnookin, 1998; Feigenson, 2010).

3) Despite not being widely used, visual elements have also made their way into legal education and research. Tables, flowcharts, diagrams and cartoons can be found in textbooks to guide students in the learning process (Pascuzzi, 2008) and, taking up a noble tradition, illustrations may enrich a handbook (Zeno-Zencovich, 2019). Several courses are emerging worldwide that introduce design, visual and imaginative skills into the law curriculum in order to enhance students’ critical thinking and the acquisition of soft skills. This is the case for the courses and student-run projects at the Stanford Open Law Lab directed by Margaret Hagan,[13] the teaching activity developed by Colette Brunschwig in 2011 at the Department of Law at the University of Basel (where students were called to visualise and evaluate the visualisation of the Swiss Code of Obligation), [14] the legal visualisation project of Michael Doherty and Chelsea Cully on tenants’ rights,[15] the Jean Monnet Module “European IT Law by Design” at UCLouvain,[16] and the innovative teaching and learning tools developed by Emily Allbon at City, University of London.[17] This list is not exhaustive and the teaching initiatives in this area are growing since visualisation has proven to be a successful “constructionist technique for learning the law in an authentic context” (Colbran and Guilding, 2018).

With regard to research, scholars are not new to the utilisation of visual elements in their presentations and papers. Using graphs and mind maps to present data and research results is standard in empirical legal studies but other forms of knowledge visualisation, including cartoons,[18] are being adopted to present research outcomes and disseminate them not only among the research community but also to society at large.[19]

4) Legal visualizations in state legal practice in a wide sense and in private legal practice is the most heterogeneous and widely populated category. Legal visualisations in state legal practice include e-government open data initiatives for visualising online legal information (Brunschwig, 2014, p. 911) as well as infographics realised by the same governmental institution. Infographics are information design tools that combine both graphical and textual elements and are used to explain the main points of a legislative act or initiative. Over the last few years infographics have become widely used as a dissemination instrument by legislators around Europe.[20]

Interestingly, the visual representation of law can also contribute to improving the legislative process and drafting. While preparing the White Paper “Toward a new format for Canadian Legislation. Using graphics design principles and methods to improve public access to law” (2000)[21], Berman and his team discovered some inconsistencies in the legislation thanks to the preparation of flow chart diagrams of some of the laws.[22] Therefore, the authors suggested introducing graphical representation and schematisation of law in the earliest stages of legislative drafting.[23]

On the other hand, legal visualisations in private legal practice can cover several areas. These include contract visualisation (Haapio, 2013; Passera, 2017), legal design patterns libraries (Haapio and Hagan, 2016; Rossi et al, 2019), lawyer-client communication (McCloskey, 1998), online arbitration (Kaufmann-Kohler and Schultz, 2004), visual litigation,[24] and visualisation of information flows for the development of new technologies and services along the lines of the principle of data protection by design.


* *** *

As this succinct excursus aims to show, the relationship between law and visualisation is complex and multifaceted but it exists. Different disciplines and sub-disciplines are investigating the law as a visual phenomenon from various angles and some scholars have argued in favour of a holistic approach toward the study of legal communication practices (Brunschwig, 2014).

The present notes do not have the ambition of responding to such a challenge. Nevertheless, a few points for exploring further lines of investigation can be traced.

Among legal scholars there is often spread, more or less unconsciously, a certain bias against the use of visual elements in their practice. This kind of scepticism – in few cases, almost an apotropaic fear of visualisation in law – is not justifiable for several reasons. First of all, this is for a historical reason: since the medieval era lawyers have made use of visual techniques for representing and passing on legal knowledge. Therefore, visualisation is not something completely alien to the western legal tradition. A second reason is an “authoritative” one: in many circumstances the law itself mandates or regulates the use of certain kinds of visual expression. Third, the so-called “visual turn” does not aim to expunge textual and verbal communication out of the legal phenomenon. The trend toward visualisation does not mean that every legal aspect can be translated into a graphic element. Neither does it intend to affirm the supremacy of images over text in legal theory and legal interpretation. In some cases, and given certain conditions, visualisation techniques can be effective (like the successful example of the Creative Commons licences)[25], while in some others they simply are not. It would clearly be absurd – and visual law does not intend – to express the provisions of any criminal code with emoticons. However, it would be equally absurd not recognise any legal value (at least as an element in investigating the contractual intent of parties) to, e.g., an acceptance expressed though a “”.[26]

The development of digital communication technologies, which has reinvigorated the debate about visual law, invites scholars (not only from the legal field) to critically engage with the opportunities that visualisation of law, in law and forlaw might provide us with but also to honestly explore its limitations. Empirical research in this field is therefore highly needed in order to continue testing the validity of legal visualisations and to provide useful insights which can later support policy measures in a given area (e.g., to contrast dark patterns or to better presentation information to consumers).

The two JOAL special issues dedicated to visual law aim to contribute to the current debate, focussing specifically on what has been labelled “visual law as instances of visualisation in the legal framework”.

The original contributions here selected show how visualisation can empower citizens by restructuring organisations and processes for facilitating access to justice (Margaret Hagan), and enhancing the understandability of administrative procedures and documents (Chiara Fioravanti and Francesco Romano). If one of the goals of visual law is to pave the way for legal empowerment and awareness, however, its main feature (the visual component) excludes by default vulnerable subjects such as people with visual impairments. Therefore, studying the principles of inclusive design can contribute to understanding whether and to what extent it is possible to guarantee access to law in such cases (Sara Frug).

A central research topic aspect in visual law is indeed information design. Graphic interfaces, such as web landing pages, can be structured in order to embed legislative intent, i.e., preventing risks arising from illegal gambling (Maria Jose Smith-Kessen, Julia Hörnle, and Alan Littler). Visualisation also plays a pivotal role in enhancing access to and retrieval of legal knowledge, as in the case of network visualisation (Neil du Toit).

A third area that will be covered in this issue concerns the use of visualisation in teaching. If digital visual media presents advantages in terms of engagement, an ability to recall facts and retain learning and the development of higher order thinking skills, its implications for legal education (Emily Allbon) and judge training (Sara Conti, Ginevra Peruginelli, and Enrico Francesconi) are promising areas for further investigation.

The second JOAL special issue on visual law, expected in the spring of 2020, will further explore the topic, with a special emphasis on visualisation in contracts and privacy indicators.



[1] Where the legal science is classified under philosophy, as the fruit of knowledge based on the human faculty of reason (philosophy> science of the man > ethics > particular). Legal science or jurisprudence is then divided into: natural, economic and political law. See, (Accessed 11 October 2019).

[2] Legal design is an emerging interdisciplinary field that applies a human-centred approach to preventing or solving legal problems (as initially defined in the Legal Design Manifesto, version 1.0, available here: More extensively, see, Hagan, 2017; on the law as proactive and preventive mechanism, Haapio, 1998 and Haapio, ed., 2008.

[3] See, for instance, Article 22 of the Consumer Rights Directive, recital 32 of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the recent decision of the Court of Justice of the EU in Planet49 (Judgement of the Court – Grand Chamber – of 1 October 2019, Bundesverband der Verbraucherzentralen und Verbraucherverbände – Verbraucherzentrale Bundesverband e.V. v Planet49 GmbH, Case C-673/17, ECLI:EU:C:2019:801).

[4] The intertwined relationship between behavioural insights and policy making is indeed much wider. For an overview, Zamir and Teichman 2018.In particular, in the field of consumer protection, cf. Helleringer, G., Sibony, A-L., 2017.

[5] Pre-ticked boxes are an example of “dark patterns”, i.e. design strategies or choice architectures that exploit heuristics and cognitive biases to “trick” users and manipulate their decision making-processes (for example, by leading them toward more privacy-intrusive choices). Scholars, consumer advocates and policy makers are now focusing on this controversial issue to investigate whether the current legal framework is able to cope with such deceptive practices and what technical measures can be implemented to recognise and fight against dark patterns (see, for instance Bösch 2016, NCC 2018, CNIL 2019, Mathur et al. 2019).

[6] For a rich set of examples in this area, see the volume edited by Wagner and Sherwin (2014).

[7] Even if not contained in a legislative act, the use of icons, tables, structured layouts and other graphical elements is encouraged in the Guidance document on the Consumer Rights Directive, in order to illustrate the content of a contract. The Guidance also contains a model for displaying consumer information about digital products (Annex I, EC Commission, DG Justice Guidance document concerning Directive 2011/83/EU, p. 69 ff.). However, the proposed model has not become standard in current practice.

[8] To this end legal ontologies, such as “PrOnto”, the Privacy Ontology for Legal Reasoning (Palmirani et al., 2018), can be used to allow visualisation – in a semi-automated or automated way – of the GDPR provisions (Rossi and Palmirani, 2018).

[9] The text of the decision of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeal (pictures included) is available at:

[10] It is not uncommon to find literary citations (from Shakespeare to Jane Austen, and from Mark Twain to Bob Dylan) in US judicial decisions but also divertissements and examples of judicial humour. An interesting and pleasant overview can be found in the collection of the Gallagher Law Library of the University of Washington: (Accessed 11 October 2019).

[11] Court of Appeal for Western Sweden (Göteborg), 15 July 2009, Case number B 1534-08. I wish to thank Helena Haapio for her immediate help in retrieving the original (Swedish) source.

[12] This field is categorised by Brunschwig (2014, p. 917 ff.) under the umbrella of “visualised legal and legally relevant facts”.

[13] (Accessed 11 October 2019).

[14] Listed in Brunschwig, 2014, p. 909, footnote 41.

[15] (Accessed 11 October 2019).

[16] (Accessed 11 October 2019).

[17] (Accessed 11 October 2019).

[18] (Accessed 11 October 2019).

[19] Ex multis, Esayas and Mahler (2015). See, also, the Visual Law Project, (Accessed 11 October 2019).

[20] In Italy, for example, for an explanation of complex laws and reforms, see: (summarising the so-called “Italicum”, the electoral law introduced in 2015); (explaining the modifications to the legislative iter proposed alongside constitutional reform in 2015 – not adopted in the end).

At the EU level using infographics has become a common practice to accompany legislative initiatives and policy measures. See, for example, the animated infographics about the GDPR: or

[21] Berman, 2000. Available at: (Accessed 11 October 2019).

[22] As reported in Haapio and Passera, 2013.

[23] Berman, 2000, p. 24.

[24] (Accessed 11 October 2019).

[25] The Creative Commons machine-readable icons embed the copyright permissions and obligations that the right-holder decides to establish for her work ( Accessed 11 October 2019).

[26] The use of emojis and emoticons is becoming object of legal attention, as demonstrated by a growing number of cases that have ended up in courts. See, (Accessed 11October 2019).

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Seminar on Law, Design and Rhetoric

10 May 2019 | h. 10.30-11.20

Faculté de droit et criminologie, UCLouvain, Louvain-la-neuve | MORE 66-67


Law, Design, Rhetoric: some Practical and Theoretical Questions

Rhetorical skills are a crucial ability for a lawyer. How can we use them in order to structure our work? and what are the convergences with design? We are going to explore this relationship with Alvise Schiavon, postdoc researcher at the Faculty of Law, University of Trento



The crisis of the philosophical positivism in the first half of the XX century involved a shift in the epistemic status of design, law and rhetoric which revealed the intimate interrelations among the three disciplines. The digital revolution in the age of fast-growing communication technologies pushed forward the convergence: rhetoric, law and design are now intended as crucial knowledges for understanding and shaping objects and processes in the digital environment.

Rhetoric can be defined as the art of producing reasonable arguments for persuading the listener. At the hearth of it lies the idea of controversy, dialogue and intersubjectivity. It recalls the need to take in consideration the peculiar features of the audience and the importance of developing our thoughts in dialogue with real or virtual contrasting motions.

Rhetoric impacts the study and practice of legal design in several ways. I will focus on two domains: the method of investigating and solving problems of legal design; the way of presenting the results of the job in a persuasive text or speech. As for the method for approaching (tackling) cases concerning legal design, ancient and contemporary rhetoric highlights the importance of mental patterns (loci, placements) helping the inventions of possible solutions; furthermore, it suggests the method of oppositions (or negation) for exploring alternatives and anticipate criticalities. As for the ways of presenting and grounding the resulting opinion in front of different audiences, the basic theories concerning the structure of a persuasive speech and models of argumentation will be sketched.



T. Viehweg, Topik und Jurisprudenz, Beck, 1953 (translation Topics and law: a contribution to basic research in law, P. Lang, 1993)

Ch. Perelman – L. Olbrechts-Tyteca, La Nouvelle Rhètorique: Traité de l’Argumentation. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 1958 (translation The New Rhetoric: Treatise on Argumentation, University of Notre Dame Press, 1969)

S. Toulmin, The Uses of Argument, Cambridge university Press, 1958 (2nd edition 2003)

D. Walton, Argument structure: a pragmatic theory, University of Toronto Press, 1996

D. Walton, Argument Schemes for Presumptive Reasoning, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1996.

F.H. van Eemeren – R. Grootendorst – F. Snoeck Henkenmans, Fundamentals of Argumentation Theory. A Handbook of Historical Backgrounds and Contemporary Developments, Erlbaum, Mahwah, NJ, 1996.

E. T. Feteris, Fundamentals of legal argumentation. A survey Theory on the Justification of Judicial Decision, Kluwer, 1999.

R. McKeon, The uses of rhetoric in a technological age: Architectonic productive arts, in Bitzer, Lloyd F. and Black, Edwin (Eds.), The prospect of rhetoric, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1971.

R. Buchanan, Rhetoric, humanism, and design, in R. Buchanan – V. Margolin, (eds.), Discovering design: explorations in design studies, University of Chicago Press, 1995, pp. 23-66.

R. Buchanan, Human dignity and human rights: thoughts on the principles of human-centered design. Design issues, Vol. 17, No. 3, 2001, pp. 35-39.

R. Buchanan, Design and the new rhetoric: Productive arts in the philosophy of culture, in Philosophy and Rhetoric, Vol. 34, No. 3, 2001, pp.183-206.

R. Buchanan, Strategies of design research: Productive science and rhetorical inquiry, in R. Michel (ed.), Design research now: essays and selected projects, Birkhäuser, Boston, 2007, pp. 55-66.

R. Buchanan, Declaration by design: Rhetoric, argument, and demonstration in design practice. Design Issues, Vol. 17, No. 3, 1985, pp. 3-23.

E. Friess, Designing from data: rhetorical appeals in support of design decisions. Journal of Business and Technical Communication, Vol. 24, No. 4, 2010, pp. 403-444


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Legal Design Seminars – NEXT EVENT

3 May 2019 | h. 11.30-12.30

Faculté de droit et criminologie, UCLouvain, Louvain-la-neuve | MORE 66-67


The role of Legal informatics for Legal Design: the example of PRONTO

Monica Palmirani

Full Professor of Legal Informatics, University of Bologna, Italy

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Legal Design Roundtable “Dark patterns in Data Protection: Law, Nudging, Design and the Role of Technology”

April 27, 2019

Dark patterns are choice architectures used by many websites and apps to maliciously nudge users towards a decision that they would not have made if properly informed. Such deceptive that exploit individuals’ heuristics and cognitive biases (e.g. interfaces designed to hide costs until the very end of the transaction, services and products added to the consumer’s basket by default, etc.) are already well-known and sanctioned in the consumer protection domain. Regrettably, dark patterns have become widespread also in the area of data protection, where users are de facto forced to accept intrusive privacy settings, because of the way the information is framed and privacy choices presented by website’s operators. When users are tricked by design not only they can be harmed but also their trust in the digital market is likely to be affected. Dark patterns are therefore posing an additional challenge to data protection law, that needs to be addressed in an interdisciplinary way.

The Legal Design Roundtable aims to foster a constructive debate on the practice of dark patterns and to involve lawyers, academics, designers, technologists, civil rights advocates, policy makers. Legal Design is an interdisciplinary field – at the crossroad of law, design, behavioural sciences, computer science – that applies human-centred design to prevent or solve legal problem. What tools and methodology can legal design offer to address the issue of dark patterns? If we know what are the biases and heuristics used for manipulating users, can we reverse engineer dark patterns into “light” patterns?



Odisee Campus, Hermes Building, 6st floor, room 6201

Rue d’Assaut/Stormstraat 2, 1000 Brussels



14.00 – 14.30 Registration

14.30 – 14.40 Welcoming remarks 

Alain Strowel (UCLouvain, Université Saint-Louis, KULeuven, IP Munich Centre) and Rossana Ducato (UCLouvain and Université Saint-Louis)



14.40 – 15.00 Invited speeches

Giovanni Buttarelli, EDPS (by remote) – video and text

Antonia Fokkema, DG JUST, Directorate E for Consumers – Slides


15.00 – 16.00 Impulse talks by

Monica Palmirani, Full Professor of Legal Informatics at the University of Bologna (by remote)

Margaret Hagan, Director of the Stanford Legal Design Lab

Estelle Hary, Designer at Technology and Innovation Department, CNIL – Slides

Stefania Passera, Designer and Fellow at the University of Helsinki – Slides

Helena Haapio, Professor at the University of Vaasa

Anne-Lise Sibony, Professor at UCLouvain

Moderator: Rossana Ducato


16.00 – 16.50 Debate

Sari Depreeuw, Professor at Université Saint-Louis – Bruxelles

Dariusz Kloza, Researcher at Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Arianna Rossi, Postdoc researcher at SnT, University of Luxembourg

Christoph Schmon, Senior Legal Officer at BEUC

Peggy Valcke, Professor at KULeuven

Chair: Alain Strowel


16.50 – 17.00 Concluding remarks by Rossana Ducato

17.00 – 18.00 The Light Patterns Cocktail


The Legal Design Roundtable is an event promoted within the Jean Monnet Module “European IT Law by Design”, co-funded by the Erasmus+ Program of the European Union.


Short Bibliography

NCC, Deceived by Design (2018)
Bösch, Christoph, et al. “Tales from the dark side: Privacy dark strategies and privacy dark patterns.” Proceedings on Privacy Enhancing Technologies 2016.4 (2016): 237-254.
Gray, Colin M., et al. “The dark (patterns) side of UX design.” Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM, 2018.
Chromik, M., et al., “Dark Patterns of Explainability, Transparency, and User Control for Intelligent Systems.” IUI Workshops’19, March 20, 2019, Los Angeles, USA
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