ELI Online Annual Conference 2020 Day Three: Lively Discussions on ELI Projects


The third day of this year’s Online Annual Conference saw over 30 experts discuss current and prospective ELI projects and respond to live questions and comments from ELI Members.

Although the day consisted of stand-alone webinars, many of the topics discussed were pertinent to one of the wider themes that the ELI has identified as an umbrella topic for its 2020 project strategy: law and governance for the digital age.

The first panel focused on the current ELI project 'Artificial Intelligence and Public AdministrationDeveloping Impact Assessments and Public Participation for Digital Democracy'. One of the Project Reporters, Jens-Peter Schneider, was joined by experts Jonathan Dollinger and Katarzyna Ziółkowska from the Project team and Péter Darák and Jane Reichel from the project’s Advisory Committee. Speakers discussed the use of AI in public administration, and, more specifically the importance of conducting impact assessments and ensuring public participation prior to its introduction into the realm of public administration.

The next session was devoted to 'Admissibility of Criminal Evidence in the Digital Age', the topic of an eponymous project approved by the ELI Council the day before. For this panel ELI Council Member André Klip was joined by Project Reporter, Lorena Bachmaier Winter, representative of the European Commission, Peter Csonka and Jorge Espina Ramos from Eurojust. The lively discussion focused on the ‘un-territorial’ nature of the digital evidence as well as AI and Machine Learning empowered evidence in the context of criminal justice.

Another current ELI project, 'Blockchain Technology and Smart Contracts', was also presented. Project Chair Sjef van Erp was joined by Reporters Juliette Sénéchal and Martin Hanzl as well as external experts Stephan Karpischek and Dirk Staudenmayer. Speakers addressed, among other things, the issue of smart contracts in the data economy, the German and French perspectives on blockchain and smart contracts as well as legal and regulatory challenges in practice, which was followed by a lively discussion with the viewers.

Conference participants then had the chance to attend a session on the ALI-ELI 'Principles for a Data Economy'. For this discussion, Project Chairs Lord John Thomas and Steven O Weise  and Project Reporters Neil B Cohen and Christiane Wendehorst were joined by Elettra Ronchi from the OECD and Ioana Hreninciuc, the CEO of GameAnalytics. The presentation of the recently completed Preliminary Draft No 4 was reacted to by practitioners and discussed with the participating ELI Members in a Q&A session that focused, among other things, on the concept of co-generated data.

'Access to Digital Assets' was the next ELI project presented. This time the discussion was chaired by Jos Uitdehaag, who welcomed experts Phoebus Athanassiou, Sjef van Erp, Yannick Meneceur and Sir Geoffrey Vos. Speakers presented the on-going ELI project as well as provided feedback on the work done so far by the Team. During the Q&A session, issues of terminology and private international law applicable to digital assets were addressed, among other things.

The last project session of the day celebrated the joint ELI-UNIDROIT 'European Model Rules of Civil Procedure', the final draft of which has recently been approved by the ELI and is awaiting final approval by the UNIDROIT Governing Council. This panel discussion, co-chaired by Anna Veneziano (UNIDROIT) and Diana Wallis (ELI), also featured Marco de Benito, Paul Oberhammer, John Sorabji and Rolf Stürner. The speakers presented the history of the project, its structure and the innovative aspects of the Model Rules. The debate that followed centered on issues ranging from ideas for the dissemination of the output to the models for the drafters of the Rules, as well as the challenges of drafting them.

In the evening participants were invited to a book launch to celebrate the publication of ‘Rescue of Business in Europe’, a two-part volume based on the ELI’s project 'Rescue of Business in Insolvency Law', which was launched in 2013 and completed in 2017. At this event ELI President Christiane Wendehorst was joined by Reporters of the project, Bob Wessels and Stephan Madaus  Project Team member Gert-Jan Boon as well as Ignacio Tirado (Secretary General of UNIDROIT) and Tatjana Josipović, who was a Chair of the project’s Members Consultative Committee.