Human Enhancement and the Law: Regulating for the Future

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Human Enhancement and the Law: Regulating for the Future

January 7, 2016 - January 8, 2016

Human Enhancement and the Law: Regulating for the Future7 and 8 January 2016,  St Anne’s College, University of Oxford by the NeuroLaw Network group.

The increasing production and use of human enhancement technologies, such as drugs to improve cognition and integrated neuroprosthetics, will challenge for existing legal frameworks. These and similar technologies are not easily accommodated by current laws within individual jurisdictions, nor under EU-wide regulatory instruments and under international law. Enhancement technologies will challenge legal conceptions of responsibility (both criminal and civil), as well as requiring new approaches to the regulation of pharmaceuticals and other such technologies.

This conference and resulting special edition of the Journal of Law, Information and Science, will aim to identify the legal issues that arise as a result of these developments in human enhancement technologies. Paper presentations and panel sessions will be directed at exploring the ways in which legal systems — both within jurisdictions and across borders — can and should respond to these issues. Our hope is that in bringing together scholars from a range of relevant disciplines — law, philosophy, politics, sociology and the sciences — the conference will facilitate the development of some answers to the thorny legal challenges enhancement technologies pose.

Keynote speakers

Karen Yeung, King’s College London

Bert-Jaap Koops, Tilburg University

Ruud ter Meulen, University of Bristol

Jan-Christoph Bublitz, University of Hamburg

Anton Vedder, KU Leuven

Hannah Maslen, University of Oxford



Conference themes:

  • new forms of harm as a result of enhancement technologies
  • whether there might be an obligation to enhance
  • product liability issues
  • the right to bodily integrity and enhancement
  • non-voluntary enhancement
  • implications of enhancement technology for governance
  • implications for the criminal law (incl. criminal responsibility)
  • tort claims for harm as a result of enhancement (or the failure to enhance)
  • regulating access to enhancing technologies
  • genetic enhancement and impact on future generations
  • regulatory approaches to challenges raised by enhancement
  • data protection and device hacking
  • defining enhancement for the purposes of regulation
  • the political dimension to regulating enhancement

1. Papers and Presentations

We welcome papers that fit broadly under the heading, but are particularly interested in papers related to the conference themes.

We invite participants to either present a paper, and/or offer to on a panel to lead discussion on a range of topics (we are open to panel topic suggestions from participants). We will invite some participants to chair sessions.

Paper presentations

Papers will be 20-30 minutes long with 10 minutes for questions.

Panel sessions

Sessions will be 1.5 hours long, with panellists offering 5 minutes of introductory comments each, before discussion is opened up and lead by the panel chair.

Please send abstracts and titles to 

2. Publications

Selected papers will be submitted for inclusion in a special issue of the Journal of Law, Information and Science (, a peer-reviewed journal published by the School of Law, University of Tasmania, Australia.

Generously supported by the AHRC


January 7, 2016
January 8, 2016


St Anne’s College, University of Oxford
Woodstock Road
Oxford, OX2 6HS United Kingdom
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