Our Law Clinic: moot courts on prospective issues

TechLawClinics – an innovative approach to experimentation and the application of law – is an experiment in “legislative advocacy” in the form of moot courts.

Technical expertise currently has, and will continue to have, a significant impact on legal rules. The legal framework will have to adapt, if not be renewed, to ensure that technological development takes place as securely as possible, and is totally consistent with the founding principles of our legal orders. The students of today will drive these transformations of tomorrow. They must therefore be exposed to these problems and study the impact of digital technologies (robotics, artificial intelligence, digital platforms, Blockchain and smart contracts, etc.) on legal systems.

Our clinic aims to develop a new academic approach using concrete cases involving developing technologies which are about to be marketed, culminating in moot courts and “Spring Schools”, in order to raise students’ awareness of the complex legal implications of digital technologies in a European context.

This academic approach will also facilitate legal experimentation to enable the generation of research projects and the drafting of legal recommendations on the links between law and technology, in which students will participate.


All legal training programmes are designed to produce competent legal professionals (lawyers, notaries, judges, corporate lawyers, etc.), but also citizens who are capable of critical thinking and can contribute actively to the development of our society. Our five universities want to succeed in this regard by developing their students’ theoretical, technical, and methodological skills, but also by helping them develop an international outlook and understand changes, particularly of a technological nature.

Four years ago, the UCly Faculty of Law launched the Legal Foresight Clinic, an innovative approach to experimentation with the law and its application under the impact of new technologies. In 2019, a pilot project on liability issues related to the use of self-driving cars took teams of students to the French Council of State.

Bolstered by its success, this Legal Foresight Clinic has gained recognition from the European authorities, won the 2019 Erasmus+ Strategic Partnerships call for projects, and has been renamed “TechLawClinics”. Four European universities were eager to participate in the project. Its main objective is to increase the professional competencies of law students, starting at bachelor’s-degree level, and to raise their awareness of the new technology-related legal issues of tomorrow.

TechLawClinics is based on an innovative teaching strategy which takes students beyond the traditional Faculty of Law curriculum by enabling them to develop a better understanding of prospective issues related to new technologies, while continuing to further their understanding of traditional subjects.

Students will develop ground-breaking competencies that complement the core curriculum, while inventing innovative legal rules and solutions for digital technologies, where appropriate. As a result, by participating in technological projects, students will learn how to devise practical solutions for businesses and legal professionals in the digital sector.

TechLawClinics gives students an opportunity to address the legal problems of the future by adopting an original approach that places them in the role of practitioners (lawyers and judges), and requires them to draft genuine legal instruments, such as petitions, written submissions, conclusions, and judgments in the same way as professionals. Students will be assisted and guided by legal professionals (lawyers and judges), but also by representatives of the scientific community (researchers, engineering students, technology companies).

TechLawClinics also adopts an open, sharing-oriented approach via this website, which will contain all documentation related to the Legal Foresight Clinic: legal intelligence monitoring interactions between technology and law, documents associated with the moot courts, research findings, scientific papers on new technologies studied, drafting of legal documents and publications to be issued at the end of each moot court on prospective issues. In this way, the platform will ensure the transferability of the competencies acquired by the students and the legal solutions evaluated by them.

The international dimension of the programme, embodied by the partnership between our five European universities, is also reflected by the fact that the programme is supported by the European Law Institute (ELI), a fully independent organisation dedicated to improving the quality of European law. The concept of a legal foresight clinic has been incorporated into the ELI’s work, particularly within a group established by the Digital Law Special Interest Group. This group’s work on the Legal Foresight Clinic is coordinated by representatives of UCLy and Lyon Administrative Court.


TechLawClinics has the following objectives:

  • Teaching
    • Applying legal theory to prospective/future cases at the interface between law and technology;
  • Professionalisation
    • Providing training, based on a clinical approach and a simulated justice process, to give students experience of actual professional positions (lawyers, judges), in which they will perform the functions associated with these roles (drafting of petitions, written submissions, conclusions and judgments) under real-life conditions (public hearings in partner jurisdictions);
    • Developing new legal expertise not covered by traditional curricula (law and new technologies) for undergraduate and graduate students, improving their employability as legal experts in the digital economy.
  • Research
    • Drafting articles proposing innovative legal approaches to digital technologies (self-driving vehicles, home automation, companion robots, etc.);   
    • Finding a common legal approach at the EU level to the legal challenges posed by technologies
    • Creating a group of experts, composed of academics, students, practitioners and industrial actors, and contributing to national and European institutional initiatives in this field.

Methodological Guide

The main purpose of the Tech Law Clinic is to offer a new form of education, at the intersection between law and technology. The Clinic adopts a distinctive learning-by-doing approach: rather than acquiring theoretical knowledge, the students work on a case, which is fictional but based on real technological developments. Through the Clinic, students from law faculties are expected to cooperate with students form other faculties, and acquire practical knowledge and skills. This Guide sketches a methodology for the organization of the Tech Law Clinic.