The third edition of the Blockchain: Legal & Regulatory Guidance is published

June 8, 2023

The third edition of the Blockchain: Legal & Regulatory Guidance has been published today and is a collaboration between Tech London Advocates (TLA), The Law Society and SCL.

You can access the Guidance on a new training platform which has been created by SCL and is available here

You can also access the report (including all previous editions) from The Law Society’s website here

The Guidance was launched today during an event at Mischon de Reya chaired by Anne Rose with a panel that included The Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Vos, Master of the Rolls, Tom Grogan and Matthew Lavy KC

“The third edition of this valuable guidance recognises the transformational changes that have occurred in the digital environment in the three short years since the first edition was published in mid-2020.

The legal community is much in need of the education upon which TLA’s Blockchain Legal and Regulatory Guidance focuses.

In my Foreword to the second edition, I suggested that three major developments were imminent. They were (i) the launch of central bank digital currencies, (ii) the widespread adoption of digital transferable documentation, and (iii) the transition from analogue programmes to smart machine-readable documents. In addition to these challenges, lawyers now need to learn quickly to deal with the consequences of the ubiquitous availability of ChatGPT and generative artificial intelligence more generally.

Both the Law Commission and the UK Jurisdiction Taskforce continue to consider and suggest solutions for the legal impediments to the adoption of digital technologies. The TLA’s Guidance is now comprehensive and wide-ranging. It will provide the necessary blockchain education for lawyers practising in every field from crime and family to competition and commercial.

I wholeheartedly congratulate the contributors and welcome the third edition of TLA’s Blockchain Legal and Regulatory Guidance”.
The Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Vos, Master of the Rolls

“Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLTs) are a rapidly evolving set of technologies that have the potential to transform the way we live, work, and do business. The potential applications of DLTs are vast, including finance, supply chain management, and healthcare. 

In the legal sector, DLTs can potentially revolutionise how we deliver legal services. For example, DLTs can create secure and tamper-proof records of contracts, wills, and other legal documents. They can also be used to automate the execution of contracts and to provide real-time dispute resolution. 

The Law Society is committed to helping our members understand and embrace the potential of DLTs. The third edition of the Blockchain Legal and Regulatory Group provides an up-to-date framework and much-needed guidance on using blockchain in legal services. 

Solicitors are critical in assuring new technologies have been designed, developed, deployed and used responsibly and ethically. We have a duty to our clients, the public, and the profession to ensure that new technologies are used in a way that upholds the rule of law and protects the interests of our clients. 

As new technologies evolve, solicitors must stay up to date with the latest developments and understand the potential risks and benefits of these technologies. We must also prepare to adapt our practices to accommodate new technologies and ensure that we provide our clients with the best possible advice and representation. This publication will be a valuable resource for our members as they work to understand and apply these ground-breaking technologies. 

Our research indicates that the adoption of new technologies could reduce the cost of legal services to UK business users by £350 million by 2030 and double productivity growth in the legal sector. Every £1 of productivity saving in the legal services sector in 2020 could generate between £3.30 and £3.50 of additional GDP for the UK by 2050, while every £1 increase in legal productivity in 2020 is estimated to result in £9.15 to £10.61 of additional capital by 2050 [1].

I want to thank the Tech Law Advocates and the Society for Computers and Law for their work producing this publication and the many experts who contributed. 

The legal profession is well-placed to play a leading role in developing and using new technologies. We have a long history of upholding the rule of law and protecting the interests of our clients, and we are committed to using new technologies in a way that benefits society”
Lubna Shuja, President of The Law Society

[1] The Law Society, ‘Contribution of the UK Legal Services Sector to the UK Economy Report’ (23 January 2020)