The Lab For New Justice Log: Radboud University and the Lab explores new ways to manage business relations, thanks to smart contracts and blockchain
All you need to know about the testing phase of the new dispute resolution system provided by the Jur Beta Platform
DISCLAIMER // This is a fairly long post as it narrates all the lab meetings with Radboud. Find below, for each title, the specific story about each of the meetings.
The Lab For New Justice is ready to start.
Over the last month, with the help of professors Andre Jannsen and Pietro Ortolani, we were able to gather more than 19 students for the testing phase of the Jur Beta Platform.
I’m interested in the Lab to try and combine my passion for IT with my growing knowledge in the legal field. I have a professional background in IT (including having done extensive research into blockchain) and am currently studying law. My ultimate goal is to combine my expertises to explore the intersection between these fields and I would love to embark on this journey with likeminded people and knowledgeable experts. — A Lab For New Justice applicant
They will focus on the Open Layer, the mechanism embedded in the Jur Beta Platform (beta.jur.io). This is a completely online solution to disputes arising from smart legal contracts or other business agreements.
In particular, it’s the voting system of the Open Layer that will be put under the magnifying glass by Professor Andre Jannsen and the Jur team. The system is designed to give the two parties in the dispute a chance to propose a solution. Voters, i.e. whoever own JUR tokens, vote for one of the two proposals and get rewards in token for having selected the winning proposal. The testing phase will be done on the testnet, so the students will be incentivized to vote honestly by the prospects of a paid internship.
The Open Layer and its reward mechanism are designed so that the choices of the voters are guided by the principles of game theory in a way that causes voters to choose the fairest solution. The tests conducted in the Lab serve the purpose of verifying the behaviour of voters, and to understand if what Jur theorized can be confirmed in the real world.
Thanks to this technology, it could be possible for anyone to have fast and easy access to online dispute resolution (ODR) systems. At the moment, these systems are impractical due to high costs and slow resolution times. As a consequence, under the current structure, ODR platforms are only utilized in extremely complex use cases, and are not suitable for the form of ‘micro-justice’ that the Jur platform intends to address.
The roadmap has been co-created along with Radboud University. The lab will host classes over the next four Mondays, starting today, 18th November.
The experimentation sees the following schedule:
- DAY 1 — (November 18th) — Introduction to the Jur Beta Platform and defining the key criteria for creating a contract on the JBP
- DAY 2 — (November 25th) — Smart legal contracts workshop — Paper-based phase. How to draft a contract that fits within the scope of the Jur Beta Platform
- DAY 3 — (December 2nd) — Smart legal contracts workshop — Digital phase. How to create a wallet, and perform actions on the JBP according to the contracts created in the previous lesson
- DAY 4 —(December 9th) — Creation of a dispute plus ways to vote and resolve it.
During the month of December, it will be possible to follow the progress of the disputes on the testnet.
In January, there will be a final meeting, where one of the students will be rewarded with JUR token prizes and an internship with Jur.
Link to the last articles about the Lab:
The Lab For New Justice is Born: Radboud University & Jur To Open The First Set of Tests on the…
Radboud University and Jur have strengthened their roles as pioneers in the LegalTech industry with the partnership now…
Law Faculty Radboud University to joins as Academic Partner for the Lab For New Justice program
We are pleased to confirm the Faculty of Law of Radboud University Nijmegen as first Academic Partner
In addition, we are glad to announce that Jur and ELSA Nijmegen (European Law Students Association) has established a special partnership to promote the importance of the Lab and extend the number of participants. ELSA Nijmegen will support the Lab and assist with recruiting new members.
_> UPDATE 18/11/2019: The log of the first day of Lab For New Justice at Radboud University
This is the first update on the Lab For New Justice medium post log.
The first gathering of the Lab for New Justice saw our legal engineer Luigi Cantisani introduce the concept of Jur and the Jur Beta Platform to the attentive Radboud students. Aided by Assistant Professor Pietro Ortolani, we introduced the Lab with a brief summary about the freedom of the parties as the basis of the contracts and touched on important concepts such as traditional arbitration/ADR mechanisms.
Pietro then illustrated certain issues stemming from flaws in currently used contractual models, and used the freelance contract scenario as an example. The professor then presented information regarding blockchain technology and how Bitcoin was able to successfully “cut out the middleman” in monetary transactions.
Jur was then introduced as a way to cut out the middle man in the legal system (especially domestic civil courts) by using blockchain and smart contracts.
Cantisani then showed off the Jur Platform as a dApp developed by Jur. The foremost goal of Jur is to make the legal industry more accessible and sustainable, with the Jur Beta Platform being the first step towards that.
The class was intrigued by the main features that will be included in the Jur Platform (The Jur Editor, Jur Marketplace, Open Layer, Community Layer, and Court Layer).
Students had many questions about the Jur Editor and they were curious to know how it is possible to create drag-and-drop contractual clauses in natural language while including appropriate code language for each provision.
We finally got to talk about the Jur Beta Platform (JBP), a Beta version of the dApp (beta.jur.io) and gave the students a glimpse of the user interface:
Luigi explained that the JBP implements a basic version of the Jur Editor and the Open Layer.
Pietro pointed out that the Open Layer resembles “baseball” arbitration, also known as final-offer arbitration, a mechanism of adjudication where the arbitrator can only choose between two proposals submitted by the parties. However, within the Open Layer there is no arbitrator: the whole Jur community plays that role by voting and choosing the best proposal according to their own perception of fairness.
“I’d like to thank the University of Radboud, and professors Andre Janssen and Pietro Ortolani for hosting the Lab and giving the Jur Team the opportunity to work with students to test and improve the Jur Beta Platform. I’m sure we will all have a chance to learn something from each other. After all, we are all eternal students.”
The first meet wrapped up after we illustrated the concept of smart legal contracts, and provided definitions of:
- “contract” according to the Dutch Civil code and common law
- “smart contract” according to Nick Szabo
- “smart legal contract” according to the “Ricardian contract” model introduced by Ian Gregg in 1995 and the UK Jurisdiction Taskforce
Special thanks to ELSA, Radboud University and students, Professor Ortolani and Michele D’Asaro from the Jur team.
The first meet up of the Lab For New Justice was a ground-breaking activity that will eventually lead to the full use of the dispute-resolution features of beta.jur.io.
See you soon for more!
_> UPDATE 25/11/2019 DAY 2 — (November 25th) — Smart legal contracts workshop — How to draft a contract for the Jur Beta Platform, Pt. I
The second meeting of the Lab was an all-around success. After Luigi and Pietro introduced the basics of the Jur Beta Platform, we moved on to the contract creation phase.
- All the students from the first meeting were present
- 4 teams were created out of the participants
- 4 drafts of contracts were created from the 4 teams (Team A, B, C, and D)
- All the contracts were structured as freelancer contracts governing the provision of a service by the freelancer against payment of a consideration which means: you do something for me, I pay you an agreed sum
- The 4 use cases will be: 1) crafting and delivering benches made of wood (“Benches Case”); 2) cleaning the interiors of customer buildings (the “Cleaning Case”); 3) establishing the customer organization’s presence on certain social media platforms (the “Social Media Marketing Case”); 4) illustrating a children’s book (the “Book Case”).
There are very few rules dictating how to create contracts on the JBP, but Luigi immediately stressed the importance of providing clear definitions within the contract. It is more than a nuance to define “wallet” (instead of escrow account), “Jur” (meaning the company), “Jur Beta Platform” or its abbreviation “JBP”, and “Open Layer” (the dispute resolution method provided by Jur).
The serious environment of Radboud’s University didn’t stop the students from being assertive. One student suggested that it is better if JBP is described as a “mechanism” instead of a service.
This is exactly the type of attitude we want from the Lab From New Justice.
From the meeting notes taken by Luigi (who conducted the lab) and Michele (who observed the activity carried out by the students), we can learn that having a digital component in the provision of service works well with the JBP. That’s mainly because they can be tracked more easily using electronic means. In this regard, the Social Media Marketing Case was a great match for the JBP, proving the wide range of uses that the platform could be applied to.
With this in mind, you should read about the Jur Defender, as it is the first car to be sold on the blockchain thanks to a DIY smart legal contract built on the JBP.
The students were paying attention during the analysis of other’s contracts, taking notes on their own drafts in order to improve them. Competition across teams was noticeable in the form of veiled criticisms when Luigi was asking the class for their opinion on some nodes.
A student (Xander) stayed after class, so we decided to interview him:
The Lab For New Justice has already gathered a handful of talented fresh minds to work on the concept of smart legal contracts, giving the students the chance to grasp what it really means to deal with a decentralized legal ecosystem. Upcoming phases will be related to uploading the contracts on the platform and running the dispute resolution portion of the platform.
In the words of Pietro Ortolani, assistant professor at Radboud,
I am delighted to be part of the Lab for New Justice. Too often, smart contracts and online dispute resolution are perceived to be theoretical topics, with a relatively limited impact on the current reality of law. Initiatives like the Lab for New Justice are pivotal in triggering a change in mentality. By involving students in a learning-by-doing activity, we can bridge the gap between legal education and legal tech.
We are looking forward to seeing where the testing will bring us next!