Future-Proofing Legislation for the Digital Age
S. Ranchordas and Y. Roznai (Eds), Time, Law, and Change (Hart, 2020, Forthcoming)
23 Pages Posted: 9 Oct 2019 Last revised: 16 Oct 2019
Date Written: August 8, 2019
For the past decades, scholars from varied scientific fields have insisted on the need to develop ‘future-proof solutions’. Future proofing science, design, architecture, and technology entails the creation of solutions that are forward-looking, sustainable, resilient, and can adapt to complex challenges. In the last years, lawmakers have also become intrigued by the question whether laws and policies could also be future-proof. This question has become particularly relevant considering the rapid changes that characterize the digital age. The implementation of a future-proof approach to legislation has nonetheless remained overlooked in the legal literature. This paper aims to fill this gap with an interdisciplinary analysis of future proofing and a discussion of the challenges of implementing this approach to lawmaking. We contend that future proofing law is a challenging task for legislators but a cautious forward-looking approach could ensure that legislation becomes more adaptable and flexible to innovation. Drawing on the interdisciplinary literature on future proofing, we suggest the broader employment of experimental legislation and regulatory impact assessments.
Keywords: future-proof; innovation principle; regulation; impact assessment; experimental legislation; sunset clauses
JEL Classification: K2; K23
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation