Information Technology and the Law

This information is for the 2016/17 session.

Teacher responsible

Professor Andrew Murray NAB 7.11

Dr. Orla Lynskey NAB 6.23 


This course is available to LLB and Law and Anthropology students. It is also available as an outside option to students in other departments and to General Course Students. Students from other Universities should contact the course convenor regarding participation in this course.   


This course does not require an in-depth understanding of contemporary computer technology – we are primarily interested in the implications of the use of information technology, and the intended and unintended consequences of regulating that use. 

Course content

This survey course, which is divided into six modules, introduces students to a selection of fundamental legal issues in the field of Information Technology (IT) Law. It begins by examining ongoing debates regarding the appropriate theoretical framework applicable to internet regulation and governance, tackling questions such as whether the internet should be controlled and, if so, by whom. It then examines substantive legal topics, such as data protection, cybercrime, intellectual property and online freedom of expression, against this theorectical backdrop. In particular, students are encouraged to consider both how the law has responded to the challenges of information technologies, and the extent to which legal issues have shaped the development of information society policy.


The focus will be initially on English law, although the increasingly global nature of IT law means that there are already strong EU and US legal influences upon the English system, so comparative aspects will be introduced in places, and readings will include materials drawn from, amongst others, US law journals.


At the end of the course, students should be able to assess critically ongoing developments in law relating to information technologies and to evaluate the internal coherence of these developments and their doctrinal and political implications.


Indicative Content:

Michaelmas 2016

• Introduction to Internet Regulation and Governance  

• Data Protection and Online Surveillance 

• Freedom of Expression Online


Lent 2017

• Cybercrime

• E-Commerce

• Intellectual Property Rights Online 

For a more detailed outline, please visit the course Moodle page.


20 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the MT. 20 hours of lectures and 10 hours of classes in the LT. 2 hours of lectures in the ST.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 2 essays in the MT and LT.

Indicative reading

**Murray: Information Technology Law: Law and Society 3rd ed, 2016, OUP.

Reed (ed): Computer Law 7th ed., 2011, OUP.

Klang & Murray (eds) Human Rights in the Digital Age, 2006, Cavendish.

Lessig: Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace ver.2.0, 2006, Basic Books.

Edwards & Waelde (eds): Law and the Internet 3rd ed, 2009, Hart. 

** Recommended for purchase.


Exam (100%, duration: 3 hours) in the main exam period.

Key facts

Department: Law

Total students 2015/16: 46

Average class size 2015/16: 15

Capped 2015/16: Yes (45)

Lecture capture used 2015/16: Yes (MT & LT)

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

PDAM skills

  • Communication
  • Specialist skills