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Scientific Thematic Groups (STG)

Scientific Thematic Groups (STG) of Vilnius University Faculty of Law are academic organizational divisions at the Faculty. The aim of STG is high quality, intensive and targeted legal phenomenon analysis and the publication of scientific results.

Human Rights and Technologies

Head of the group – Assist. Prof. Dr. Donatas Murauskas

The group aims to research and discuss ways to ensure human rights and ethical standards in light of emerging technologies. The group conduct researches in three major areas. First, ethical and human rights challenges in life sciences, including present debates on regulation of gene-editing techniques in Europe and the right to die in the context of human enhancement. Second, artificial intelligence and human rights, including issues related to aligning current human rights frameworks to application of algorithms in different contexts. Thirdly, IT and human rights, in particular, the ways IT affect the right to private life and freedom of expression. The research group focuses on a set of challenges that reflect the current topical issues in the field of interaction of technologies and human rights. The group consists of human rights scholars, practicing lawyers and experts on specific interdisciplinary approaches on law and technologies.

Data ownership, transfer and access under industry 4.0

Head of the group – Prof. Dr. Ramūnas Birštonas

Members: Professor of Practice Dr. Ramūnas Birštonas (Head), Dr. Jūratė Liauksminaitė, PhD candidate Olga Ševčenko.

Industry 4.0 is based on data and its efficient operation depends on the smooth movement and access of the latter. However, most of the data is not created by its users, but rather created and / or controlled by other market participants. Daily and legal practice raises the question of the extent to which data created / controlled by other entities may be lawfully used, while legal uncertainty creates additional financial-administrative burdens for data users, resulting in inefficient allocation of resources and stifling innovation.

The term “data” describes a very heterogeneous group: intellectual property, trade secrets or other confidential information, personal data, public domain data, open data, public sector information, etc. The boundaries between them are often not clear in practice. In addition, there is a collision of different interests: traditionally business is focused on data control and non-disclosure, while the scientific community, consumers and competitors have an interest in maximum data openness.

The problem of data ownership, control and access is driven by the spread of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things or autonomous cars. Among other things, the performance and results of these technologies are based on Big Data. For example, the development of one of the most promising current technologies – artificial intelligence – is directly dependent on the ability to utilize and process large volumes of data sets. As a result, we are facing previously unexplored questions concerning the attribution of this data to individuals and the extent of their rights to it.

A systematic approach is needed to address and answer these questions, requiring the integration of different institutes, which are generally perceived separately in private law – intellectual property, protection of privacy and other personal non-pecuniary rights, contract law, protection of personal data, competition law (in particular, unfair competition and abuse of a dominant position).

E-justice and ADR | Alternative Dispute Resolution

Head of the group – Assoc. Prof. Dr. Rimantas Simaitis

The researchers at Vilnius University, Faculty of Law, who are part of the e-Justice and ADR thematic research team, have been actively involved in the recent respective thematic R&D projects, such as Conflict Resolution with Equitative Algorithms (CREA)and Small Claims Analysis Network (SCAN) projects, co-funded by the European Commission and implemented by VU Faculty of Law jointly with foreign partners. The researchers are also actively involved, both at national and international level, in other activities of the Council of Europe, the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Lithuania and other institutions and organisations relating to the establishment and development of mediation, e-justice and online dispute resolution standards.

Changes in the administrative law system: towards an adaptive leadership in public administration

Head of the group – Prof. Dr. Jurgita Paužaitė-Kulvinskienė

The goal of the R&D group initiative “Changes in the administrative law system: towards an adaptive leadership in public administration” is to put administrative law at the forefront of the latest developments of in the field of public administration as a legal tool to create new law-technologies and law-products through combining digital, public-social products and services and establishing new procedural models for private market regulation. Democracy and public governance at the EU level and in different national states are facing turbulent times. Traditional public administration institutions and procedures have been substantially affected by new social movements and changes in finance and economic systems. The financial crisis of 2007-8, migration, anti-corruption measures and rapid developing of information and communication technologies raised questions about the ability of European governments to provide sufficient and effective a framework for economic security and the pursuit of redistributive policies. National governments and the governance in the EU itself changed significantly over the past quarter century, with a growing role for “arm’s length” agencies and regulatory bodies, international governance structures and private sector organisations. This R&D initiative offers a timely investigation of the adaptive leadership of the administrative law – on how it could enhance the quality of governance and public administration. Under this research exercise it is expected to identify and promote innovations in administrative law that could, on one hand, make public administration (governance) nationally and internationally attractive and able respond to the new social challenges, and on the other hand, that could be the basis for the respect to the human rights and the rule of law.

The R&D initiative will be split into three main work packages:

  1. Searching for new institutional models and improving existing functional models in public administration (e.g. Common European principles of administrative law and good administration; new legal regimes for strengthening of public entities in Europe; public-economic sanctions for private market actors, etc.).
  2. Searching of input of an effective justice system on strengthening the rule of law in public administration (e.g. „good judging“; the discretionary power of the judge; ethics at the judiciary system, etc.).
  3. Searching of the transformative impact of technologies in public services (e.g. administrative procedure under the influence of information and communication technologies; decision-making while using the artificial intelligence; evidence based and enabled law-making procedure; cyber-security of public data, automatization of the investigation of public offences, etc.).

More information.