The course is dedicated to cultural foundations of Legal Design methodology and its applications to legal protection of fundamental rights. In recent decades, design theory and practice has increasingly come to be understood as a resource to improve various fields of public, private and civil society. Since the early 2000s the attention has been drawn to what design can do for human rights and law in action, examining the potential of visual communication in the legal sphere, exploring how legal services might be made more accessible and engaging.
Nowadays, Legal Design is a design-based methodology applied to legal practice and embedded across the world in leading law firms and in-house legal departments of private companies and public organizations. Design mindsets, processes and strategies aim at prompting and facilitating people (including students, publics and clients) to work effectively with law and human rights, being practical, critical and imaginative: practical, in the sense of knowing how the law is likely to be interpreted; critical, in the sense of keeping an eye on what is wrong with law; imaginative, in the sense of being able to envisage how whatever is wrong with law might be made right.
Conceived this way, Legal Design could be functional in nurturing and promoting legal defence of fundamental rights (e.g. life, freedom, health, security, privacy) as a practical and communal value.
Specific contents of the course are:
• origins, history and cultural backgrounds of Legal Design, especially in philosophy, literature and art (weeks 1-3);
• Legal Design practices and methodologies, with specific regard to dispute resolution, legal services and legal writing (weeks 4-6);
• nature, functions and aims of Legal Design as art/technique of legal protection of human rights (weeks 7-9);
• design thinking as a core aspect of mindsets, processes and strategies to defend fundamental rights in our digital society (weeks 10-12).
Learning outcomes of the course
As a result of attending the course, students will be able to describe origins, history and cultural backgrounds of Legal Design. They will also be able to explain how it is shaping satisfaction, standards and substance in contemporary legal practice of human rights.
As another result, they will be able to demonstrate a critical, practical and imaginative way of thinking on law and related ethical issues, with respect to digitalization as a core event of contemporary industrialized societies.
Teaching and evaluation methods
The course will present fundamental principles of Legal Design and digital society, in lecture format (12 hours), seminar format (12 hours) and practical activities/exercises (12 hours). Finally, 4 hours will be dedicated to guest lectures as co-curricular activities.
Papers, discussions, presentations will be adopted as interactive forms of tuition, in order to stimulate critical, practical and imaginative thinking on law and related ethical issues, with respect to digitalization as a core event of contemporary industrialized societies. Small-group activities will also be organized, in order to enhance discussion and collaboration among students.
The exam will consist of a written test (quiz) taken at mid-term and an oral final discussion regarding the project works/case studies completed during the course, individually and/or in groups (depending on the composition of the class).
The mid-term evaluation will cover 50% of the of the overall grade.
Students will be evaluated on the basis of the acquired knowledge in relation to their ability to use and present the concepts and topics learned during the course. Students are expected to gain experience in legislation data analysis and to deal with ethical questions concerning digitalization, demonstrating a critical, practical and imaginative thinking on legal issues.
- Michael Doherty, Marcelo Corrales Compagnucci, Helena Haapio and Margaret Hagan, A new attitude to law’s empire: the potentialities of legal design – Introduction to Legal Design. Integrating Business, Design and Legal Thinking with Technology, Elgar, 2021
- Margaret Hagan, Participatory Design for Innovation in Access to Justice, 148, 2019
- Emily Allbon and Amanda Perry-Kessaris, What can design do for legal education, in Design in Legal Education, Routledge, 2023
- Giuseppe Lorini and Stefano Moroni, How to make norms with drawings. An investigation of normativity beyond the realm of words, in Semiotica, 2020
- Arianna Rossi, Rossana Ducato, Helena Haapio, Stefania Passera, Monica Palmirani, Legal design patterns: towards a new language for legal information design, in Erich Schweighofer, Franz Kummer & Ahti Saarenpää (Eds.): Internet of Things. Proceedings of the 22nd International Legal Infomatics Symposium IRIS 2019. Editions Weblaw, Bern 2019
Last updated: July 3, 2023