Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright has advised on the launch of a UK Legal Schema to provide a universal structured data format for the creation and interactivity of digital documents (including smart contracts). The team has also advised on the development of the UK “SmartCo” project to enable existing UK corporate forms to be operated and administered using Legal Schema.
The Legal Schema is an open source initiative that provides a common language for creating and managing legal documents as data. As the world moves towards a widespread digitisation of the contracting process (reflecting the digitisation of most aspects of society), the need for this common language is pressing. In the same way that schemas underpin and enable web development, the UKLS not only supports the development of individual digital contracts but, importantly, it enables them to interact with each other (and existing technologies). The result being that the emerging smart contract and digital asset industries in the UK can benefit from both strong legal and technical foundations.
The Legal Schema complements the UK Jurisdiction Taskforce’s Legal Statement on cryptoassets and smart contracts, the Law Commission’s ongoing review of the law on smart contracts, the UKJT’s recently published Digital Dispute Resolution Rules, and the UK Government’s National Data Strategy.
Victoria Birch, corporate partner who advised on the launch, commented:
“The Legal Schema offers the prospect to underpin the future of digital documents. It offers the ability to build upon and improve existing legal processes, as shown by the SmartCo project that we have been privileged to be part of the process of developing. We have deeply valued the opportunity to input on the legal and practical operation of SmartCo companies and to support innovation. Our team looks forward to working on Phase 2 of the project and supporting the Legal Schema initiative.”
Maja Mazur, an associate at Norton Rose Fulbright, was seconded to Lawtech UK.
The whitepaper can be found here.