Annual Conference Topics

February 12, 2014

There are precious few signs of spring yet but within the SCL our thoughts are already moving towards autumn and the Annual Conference. We’re holding the Annual Conference once more at the Royal College of Surgeons in Lincolns Inn Fields in central London on Thursday 9 October. A {‘save the date’:} has already been posted on the SCL web site. The College of Surgeons has been a successful venue over the last two years and this year we’re brave enough to hold the after-conference drinks in the rather ghoulish Hunterian museum, which ought to be fun.

As there are still more than six months to go before conference we have time to take stock with SCL members on the topics to be covered at the conference. The general focus of the conference will, once again, be to look forward to the IT law that you will need to know about as a practitioner in 2015. Of course, that’s a very broad canvas and gives lots of opportunities. We would like the conference sessions to continue the SCL’s broad areas of focus by aiming to attract more in-house practitioners, to be appealing to more junior practitioners and to have an international focus.

One of the topics that we have already discussed would be a session focusing on supporting Tech Start-Ups. It is not an area that the SCL has covered for some time. For practitioners, the challenges are not primarily legal: the legal issues are well-established and understood. The major challenge is coming up with a business model that can support Start-Ups appropriately and be financially viable. Perhaps we could have a session with input from practitioners who have successfully worked this area?

Another area that we ought to cover is learning from the migration to cloud services. Now that cloud service delivery is part of the mainstream IT service delivery portfolio, what are the legal issues that are emerging in practice? What are the lessons to be learnt from the high-profile insolvency of SaaS provider, 2e2 and the potential loss of data that 2e2’s customers could easily have suffered? Should we be taking these issues into account when our clients enter into cloud service provision arrangements?

Looking forward, the Internet of Things and machine to machine communications need to be better understood and the legal implications thought through. Liability issues will need to be addressed, in particular, as systems start to have much greater autonomy. At a banal level, who will be liable if an automatic ordering supermarket retail ordering system goes haywire and ludicrous amounts of carrots are delivered to a domestic address? Is it the customer’s fault for submitting an incorrect request, or should the provider have some form of filter that would identify the clearly incorrect requests?

We all work in an increasingly international environment but the simple issues, such as the localisation of IT contracts across Europe, often remain an overlooked topic. For our clients, it’s a key issue and they want a simple and robust structure for contracts that will work in as many jurisdictions as possible. Perhaps this is an area that we should focus on at the Conference?

These are just a few preliminary ideas for people to consider. Please get in touch with other suggestions that you would like us to cover by posting comments to this blog and by email to Caroline Gould at Offers to present are also very welcome. We’ll do our best to accommodate the suggestions.