Course in Cyberlaw gets flood of interest

LAW students at Leeds University and local practitioners have swamped college staff with requests for details of the UK's first ever Cyberlaw course, due to run at Leeds Law Faculty in February.

The course, the first to focus exclusively on the Internet, will run as an option as part of a law degree, but the university is also inviting legal practitioners to take part. It is now seeking Law Society accreditation so solicitors can receive Continuing Practice Development credits for taking part.

The course brochure calls cyberspace a "legal nightmare". It lists among the course's contents cybercrime, cyberporn, cyberprivacy, cyberspace governance, cyberliabilities and intellectual property in cyberspace. So far 70 students have joined the course.

Course lecturer David Wall said: "We only expected about 15 people to sign up and we are still reeling from the shock of its popularity. Lawyers realise the potential of information technology and most are keen to begin using it."

He predicted that cyberlaw would eventually "change the way justice is meted out" with, for example, a switch from courts to videoconferencing.

The Leeds course, Cyberlaw: Information Technology, Law and Society, is another step towards an increasing recognition by universities of the growing importance of information technology law.

Strathclyde University runs an LLM in Legal Informatix, which covers the Internet and computer law, as well as two undergraduate courses covering computer law. Southampton, Hull and London universities are among those also offering law courses which place an emphasis on IT.