Information Law: From Discipline to Method

9 Pages Posted: 2 Mar 2014 Last revised: 17 Mar 2014

See all articles by Herbert Burkert

Herbert Burkert

University of St. Gallen, Research Center for Information Law

Date Written: February 28, 2014


In the European debate "Information Law" has so far mainly been discussed as a discipline or a sub-discipline of law. Three such disciplinary concepts are identified: Information Law as information technology law, information law as an exercise in self-reflection on the function and performance of law in the age of computing, and information law proper looking at the way in which law deals with information as such regardless of the technology applied. These discussions are supplemented by a new approach this paper describes in broad sketches: information law as a method rather than as a discipline. Borrowing from elements of information law proper this method perceives law as a set of mechanisms addressing social information flows. The method assesses these mechanisms by first evaluating their performance using models of functionally optimal information flows and then by testing these insights against inherent legal assumptions on the proper handling of information. After presenting two examples to clarify this approach the paper concludes with some critical comments on the future of information law as a method.

Suggested Citation

Burkert, Herbert, Information Law: From Discipline to Method (February 28, 2014). Berkman Center Research Publication No. 2014-5, U. of St. Gallen Law & Economics Working Paper No. 2014-02, Available at SSRN: or

Herbert Burkert (Contact Author)

University of St. Gallen, Research Center for Information Law ( email )

Varnbuelstr. 14
Saint Gallen, St. Gallen CH-9000

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