The trends of the legal world in the era of IR 4.0

Online shopping? Fake-news? Live streaming of court cases? Online examinations? Where are we?

“Law does not remain stagnant but changes and develops from time to time” – Albert Venn Dicey

A statement inspired by one of the principles of the Rule of Law expounded by Albert Venn Dicey, a jurist and constitutional theorist in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Albert Venn Dicey’s statement, in paraphrase, is still very much true today where we see the evolvement and modernization of legal practices and legal education all over the world, including Malaysia. Here are a few examples:

Example one, we see the revolution of the law of contract to govern modern contractual benefits and obligations on all parties to any paperless online transaction. Thus, a contract could even be created via emails so long as there are other elements present, such as the intention to create legal relations, which are necessary to form a validly enforceable contract, as decided by the Court in a recent case of Athena Brands v Superdrug Stores [2019] EWHC 3503 (Comm).

Example two, while freedom of expressions is made easier at our fingertips, multimedia law has been developed and revised to ensure that the statement makers do not wantonly exploit or abuse such freedom at the expense of other people’s integrity, privacy or reputation. You will be surprised that, based on a reported case of Monroe v Hopkins [2017] 4 W.L.R. 68, the scope of the seriousness of harm to the victim’s reputation includes the number of ‘likes’, ‘replies’ or ‘retweets’ of any online post that jeopardises the victim’s good image, which are the relevant factors for courts to determine the appropriate amount of compensation to be meted out against the statement maker responsible for his or her own virtual deeds, for example, defamation.

And of course, criminal law is ever evolving to provide mechanism for the authorities to combat cybercrimes such as fake-news, fraudulent scams, and piracy, among others. In terms of fake-news, for instance, even if a person is not the creator of fake-news, he or she will be criminally responsible for ‘sharing’ the contents of any fake-news without taking reasonable measures to verify the truth of the news, and will be subjected to punishments of fine or imprisonment or both upon conviction, under Section 8A of the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, Sections 233(1) and (3) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998, or if there is a pending police investigation on fake-news shared between 11th April 2018 to 30th January 2020, under the now-repealed Anti Fake-News Act 2018, among others.

Legal professionals are expected to be tech-savvy, as international parties or stakeholders are no longer strangers to any transaction, legal situation, or any forum for dispute resolutions, including live streaming of court proceedings and filing of cause papers.

In legal studies, law students are expected to be tech-savvy, as they need those skills to read updated versions of the laws and legal materials, complete assignments, do mooting, attend online classes, attempt online examinations and alternative assessments.

Bearing all these trends in mind, we at SEGi College Sarawak are committed to provide quality legal education with emphasis on the necessary technology skills that meet the expectations of the employers and stakeholders in modern legal industry. This is where our law school requires the students, with guidance, to familiarise themselves with the various uses of technology so that they will not be caught off guard when they step into the legal industry one day. As part of the globalization of the Industrial Revolution 4.0 (“IR 4.0”), SEGi College Sarawak avers the importance for our law students to hone fundamental technology skills to learn lessons, do legal research in online law library and attempt any assessment task provided by our law school with the aim to help them progress to the next level or graduate to meet the qualifications set by the bar examination board or fulfill the pre-requisite for legal careers or further studies ahead.

Be inspired to read law at SEGi College Sarawak, an ideal law school that heads toward IR 4.0..

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