ул. А.Невского, д.14
Demetrius Floudas, professor of the Hellenic Institute of Foreign and International Law, senior associate of the Hughes Hall, University of Cambridge, lawyer and international law and economics consultant gave a series of lectures at Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University. The Well-known international lawyer is a part of the board of IKBFU Summer-Autumn School “Lawyer’s professional skills: road to success” where he delivers lectures in English “Business and Economics Fundamentals for Lawyers”, “Public Speaking Skills” and “How to achieve success in International Law Moot Court Competitions”.
You have already visited our University several times and delivered lectures in various subjects. Why have you chosen this very topic for your series of lectures now?
I have been privileged to retain a continued and strong cooperation with the Department of Criminology, Criminalistics & Legal Technology within the Law Faculty for a number of years. We developed our joint work to the extent that currently we have a number of sub-projects running, which include seminar series, academic co-authorship, international conferences, guest lectures and academic visits in situ. This scheme has substantially benefitted by the kind assistance of the IKBFU Development Programme, which has enabled us to bring a number of schemes to fruition already, whilst a series of initiatives involving continued future cooperation on the transnational and comparative law side of things is under way for some time now.
Coming to the part of the question about the topic selection for the seminar series of the November 2015 session, I chose two different subjects to deliver: The first was ‘Introduction to Internet Law’, the one you have just attended. The idea of internet law is something unique, both methodologically and academically. Obviously on one hand, it is very practical, in fact it is an area of law which is being operational every day with anyone who is using the internet. It should be underlined that, to my knowledge, no academic institution in Russia is offering a course on that, at least at the undergraduate level.
Based on these assumptions, I wanted to create an opportunity within the Department to offer something unique. And let us not forget here that the department, where I belong as an Adjunct Professor since 2011, happens to be the Department of legal informatics and technology. Thus, it is entirely appropriate that the first course on internet law offered in IKBFU is organised under its auspices; it fits perfectly within its scientific ambit.
The second course "Basic economics for lawyers" attempts to explain so many aspects of the world and society in 21 century. Just consider what is happening with the financial crisis and how this has continued for the last seven years. There are many good reasons why a lawyer should be able possess a simple grasp of economics and this visit was an opportunity to be able to start with some basics.
To which extent Internet Law developed in the world and in Russia in particular?
In the Russian Federation internet law is less mature than in a number of Western jurisdictions. This should be qualified though: In what concerns the regulatory side, the laws in Russia governing the Internet are reasonably well developed and not lagging significantly. It is not that there is no concept or practice of internet law amongst my Russian legal practitioner colleagues, what is more lacking is the academic aspect to it. This area has hardly been taught at universities in Russia and it is this omission we have been trying to remedy by offering this seminar series. As I mentioned previously, I believe what we have put together here for the first time is the only course offered at an undergraduate level in the Russian Federation.
What was the precondition of development of this branch in legal Science?
The evolution of Internet Law is something that happened by accident and by necessity. Twenty-five years ago, when the internet started becoming more of an everyday reality to some people, nobody was ready for this excitingly meteoric activity that took place. In fact, legal structures, and the society in general, were completely taken aback by the appeal of the internet, and how it rapidly became an integral part of our personal, social and cultural environment; not to mention of course work and productivity. The development and expansion of broad internet use generated a significant number of hitherto unidentified legal complications, along with a number of ancillary problems which were previously known but applied to different media.
In this way, internet law had to undergo a rapid expansion in order to catch up with what the real world needed. Even today there is a minority of internet users that decry the fact that the World Wide Web is regulated at all; in their view, it should all be left alone –in a cyber-vision of the ‘Wild West’- to self regulate without outside interference. We have managed in the last seven to eight years to catch up to a significant extent, but things are happening in the internet and throughout the industry so quickly, that the law seems to be perpetually lagging behind.
How important is to be familiar with this branch of legal science?
Even for a lawyer who is going to be active in family law, in property law, or in litigation, it is important to acquire an understanding of Internet Law. There is so much personal and business involvement with computers and the internet that some basic knowledge of its legal regulation will benefit everyone, irrespective of the branch in which they specialise. All the more so, for colleagues who may plan on being actively involved in the area, it would be a good idea for them to start as early as possible. Internet crime, e-commerce, privacy & censorship, intellectual property protection- these are important aspects that every lawyer should be aware of. Ideally, it should initially be introduced as an optional course for undergraduates to take in the third year of study.
Thank you very much for your time.
You are welcome.