Digitalised Legal Information: Towards a New Publication Model

C. Öhman and D. Watson (eds.), The 2018 Yearbook of the Digital Ethics Lab (Springer 2019) 149-65

12 Pages Posted: 27 Nov 2018 Last revised: 15 Oct 2019

See all articles by Václav Janeček

Václav Janeček

University of Bristol Law School; University of Oxford - Faculty of Law

Date Written: March 12, 2018


This chapter outlines some of the key developments regarding publication and communication of legal rules and standards (i.e. legal information) to show that dissemination of legal information is reliant on how we design the entire model of its publication. In doing so, it analyses paradigmatic models of publication as they appeared in the prehistorical, historical, and hyperhistorical stages of human evolution. These models demonstrate how legal information was delivered to its intended addressees, i.e. to those who were expected to obey the published laws. It also demonstrates that the progress regarding these publication models was driven by efficiency and sustainability considerations. The currently prevailing model of publication is, however, inefficient and unsustainable due to an unnecessary multiplication of intermediaries facilitating communication of legal information. This problem is even more apparent in the context of increasing digitalisation of legal information and emerging information and communication technologies (ICTs). The chapter argues that, in this light, it is appropriate to consider revising the entire publication model and not only some aspects of it. An addressee-centric publication model is outlined as a potential solution to the problem. The proposed model requires active delivery of a relevant subset of digitalised legal information to its intended addressee in a similar way as targeted online advertising. Unlike the existing research that promotes personalisation of law (personalised legal information), this chapter advocates personalisation of the publication model.

Keywords: legal information, digitalised legal information, digital law, publication models, prehistory, history, hyperhistory, hyperlaw, dissemination, access, internet, printing press, search engines, digital ethics

Suggested Citation

Janeček, Václav, Digitalised Legal Information: Towards a New Publication Model (March 12, 2018). C. Öhman and D. Watson (eds.), The 2018 Yearbook of the Digital Ethics Lab (Springer 2019) 149-65 , Available at SSRN: or

Václav Janeček (Contact Author)

University of Bristol Law School ( email )

University of Bristol
Senate House, Tyndall Avenue
Bristol, BS8 ITH
United Kingdom

University of Oxford - Faculty of Law ( email )

St Cross Building
St Cross Road
Oxford, OX1 3UL
United Kingdom

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