In the context of the technological disruption of law and, in particular, the prospect of governance by machines, this book reconsiders the demand that we should respect the law, simply because it is the law.

What does ‘the law’ need to look like to justify our respect? Responding to this question, the book takes the form of a dialectic between, on the one side, the promise of the prospectus for law and, on the other, the discontent provoked by the performance of law in practice; this is followed by a synthesis. Four pictures of law are considered: two are traditional pictures – law as order and law as just order; and two are prompted by the technological disruption of law – law as governance by machines and law as self-governance by humans. These pictures are tested in five performance areas: contract law, criminal law, biolaw, information law, and constitutional law. The synthesis, revealing the complexity of the demand for respect, highlights three particular points. First, the only prospectus for law that clearly commands respect is one that is committed to protecting the global commons (the preconditions for humans to form their own communities with their own forms of governance); second, any form of governance by humans will invite reservations and push-back against the demand for respect; and, third, governance by machines is not so much a superior form of governance as a radically different form in which questions about respect are redundant.

This book will appeal to scholars and students with interests in the broad and burgeoning field of law, regulation and technology, as well as to legal theorists, practitioners, and others interested in the impact of new technology on law.

Preliminaries 1. Invitation 2. A Guide to the Exhibition A. Technology, Governance and Respect for the Law 3. The Main Exhibits 4. Law and its Discontents B. Side Gallery I 5. Contracts, Consumers, and Commerce 6. Back to the Main Exhibits C. Side Gallery II 7. Criminal Law and Criminal Justice 8. Back to the Main Exhibits D. Side Gallery III 9. Biolaw and Bioethics 10. Back to the Main Exhibits E. Side Gallery IV 11. Information Law 12. Back to the Main Exhibits F. Side Gallery V 13. Constitutional Law 14. Back to the Main Exhibits G. After the Exhibition 15. Reflections on Law’s Governance: Prospectus, Promise, and Performance 16. The Law of the Global Commons 17. The Laws of the Communities 18. Respect Relaxed, Respect Reimagined 19. Long Story Told Short