SCL Student Essay Prize 2017

Stand out from the crowd!

You will stand out from the crowd. You will add credibility and marketability to your profile. And you will win access to the best IT Law event of 2017.

That's why you want to write the essay that wins the SCL Essay Prize 2017. With a range of highly current topics to choose from, you surely cannot resist the temptation to prove that you have that little bit extra. The little extra that will make law firms or other employers bow down before you with the sort of offers that you can only dream about.

It is a situation where circa 2,000 carefully chosen words might change your life for the better. Those chances don't come often. Enter the SCL Essay Prize competition and take the opportunity that beckons

The prize:

Who can enter
You are eligible to enter this competition if you are a student (undergraduate, taught postgraduate, or research postgraduate) currently registered at an accredited academic institution or legal practitioner training course (e.g. to become a barrister, solicitor or advocate).

Essay topic
You must pick one of the following five titles:

  1. Further to the consultation paper issued by the Department of Transport "Pathway to Driverless Cars: Proposals to Support Advanced Driver Assistance Systems and Automated Vehicle Technologies" consider the legal implications of autonomous vehicles, and associated ethical issues.

  2. 'Discuss the extent to which the Investigatory Powers Act 2016 (assuming all provisions ultimately come into force) strikes a suitable balance between the need to protect national security and prevent, detect and investigate serious crime, and fundamental rights. Are there areas in which the Act could be improved?

  3. In holding that a national court might impose an injunction on the operator of a public Wi-Fi service, compelling them to require users to register before getting Internet access, the Court of Justice of the European Union in McFadden afforded undue weight to the protection of intellectual property and failed to protect sufficiently the privacy rights of would-be Internet users. Discuss.

  4. Can a smart city be created without open data and the buy in of citizens? Discuss

  5. "The law of cyberspace will be how cyberspace codes it, but we will have lost our role in setting that law." (Lawrence Lessig) What is more important when one wants to enforce rules on internet users: state legislation and case law, or Internet Service Provider action? Discuss with respect to Facebook, Yahoo! and Google Terms of Service.

Length of essay
A maximum of 2,500 words of text (and a minimum of 1,500), plus up to 500 words for citations (but not any further descriptive or explanatory material, so no padding your essay with footnotes).

Full competition rules are available appear at the bottom of this page.

The closing date for entries is 17.00 hours on Friday 12th May 2017.  We look forward to receiving your entry!

Testimonials from past entrants:
"The SCL Student Essay Prize is an amazing opportunity for all those passionate about IT Law to differentiate themselves and gain a first-hand exposure to the field. By researching and expressing your views on a salient topic that matters to you, you will get the chance to have your essay published and available to a wide array of IT Lawyers. As winner of the prize last year, not only did my essay appear in the SCL's influential Computers & Law magazine, I had the unique opportunity to attend the IFCLA conference, a fantastic two-day event for IT Lawyers from all over the world, gathered to discuss the latest issues stirring up the field. This experience has opened doors for me like I could never have imagined. I highly encourage any student with an interest in tech law to pick up their pens and give this year's essay questions a go".
Lucie Audibert
2016 SCL Student Essay Prize Winner and SCL University Ambassador

"I would like to thank SCL for presenting such an amazing platform for students interested in the intersection between technology and law. Through entering the competition and being highly commended for my writing, I was able to contribute to contribute to other publications and receive submissions for my personal blog, become a member of the SCL Media Board, and also write a book review for the SCL website."
Lorraine Chimbga
2016 SCL Student Essay Prize Runner-up and SCL University Ambassador

SCL Essay 2017 Prize Rules

Essay requirements
Your essay must be your original work and not previously published, or submitted for publication, elsewhere. You must have written the essay in the current academic year, and you are welcome to re-use work you have done for your studies. No jointly-authored papers are permitted. You may only submit one entry. Your essay must be in English.

How to submit you essay
You must send your essay as a PDF file by email to The SCL Chief Executive Caroline Gould at [email protected] to be received by 17.00 hours on Friday 12th May 2017. Your covering email must set out your name, mailing address, educational establishment and the course to which you are registered. 

Copyright and publicity
You retain copyright ownership in your paper. You agree to your work being compared against electronic sources by automatic means, and other plagiarism checks the SCL considers appropriate. If you win, you grant to the SCL the non-exclusive right to publish the paper, in print and electronically, in SCL publications, and you agree not publish your papers elsewhere before to 1 October 2017. You agree to make any prepublication editorial modifications to the winning entry that are required by the editor of Computers & Law for this purpose.

If you are the winner or your essay is “Highly Commended”, you grant the SCL the right to publish your name, photograph, educational establishment and details of your essays.

The prize
The prize is £250 and a free ticket to the SCL Annual Conference on Thursday 8th June 2017, including the drinks reception and Conference dinner, and publication in the SCL’s Computers & Law magazine and on the SCL’s website. (The winner is responsible for their own accommodation and transport.)

The judges may, in their discretion, in addition to declaring a winner, formally award one or more other essays the title ‘Highly Commended’.

How and when will the result be announced
The result of the competition will be announced on 26th May 2017 on the SCL website but, if there are a large number of entries, this deadline may be extended. The prize will be awarded only if, in the opinion of the judges, the standard of entries merits the award.

The judges
The judges will be IT lawyers chosen by the SCL. All entries will be anonymised before submission to the judges. The decision of the SCL as to the interpretation of these rules and the awarding of the prize (and as to whether any prize is to be awarded) is final and no correspondence or discussions regarding its decision will be entered into.

Also see

SCL University Ambassadors

Special Deal for Trainees: Free SCL membership until qualification

Society for Computers and Law A company limited by guarantee 1133537 Registered Charity No. 266331 VAT Registration No. 115 4840 85 Registered in England and Wales Registered office: 338 Wells Road, Bristol, BS4 2QL.





    This site uses cookies. By using the site you agree to our use of cookies as set out in our Privacy Policy.

    Please wait...