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Faculty of Law Chair Loacker

Mission Statement

The Center for Innovation, Risk and Responsibility (CIRR) is an independent think tank that deals with the consequences of technical innovation for the allocation of legal responsibility and ultimatly the economic bearing of risk. According to the traditional legal understanding, the focus is on technology law, insurance law and tort law. Special attention is paid to questions which have connections to very different areas of research and law.

Notwithstanding its focus on private law, the CIRR does not only want to trace the numerous intradisciplinary references, e.g. to public law, but also in particular the implications of its objects of investigation from the viewpoint of society as whole. In addition to the intra- and interdisciplinary broadening of perspectives, comparative law and the inclusion of the transnational dimensions of technical innovation are indispensable analytical tools for our work.

The questions we are focussing on come from areas of life that have so far been object of little to no regulation by law, as well as from those areas where there is reason to critically question established approaches to regulation and/or jurisprudence and to present optimised new legal concepts.

Selected examples of such issues include risks and their allocation in the area of genetic engineering and nanotechnology, as used e.g. in  food and environmental law, or the use of partially or fully automated control systems in the working world, in the medical sector (e.g. during operations), in road and air transport or in the field of energy exploration. Further examples are developments in the realm of legal tech or (more specifically) insurtech, including the use of distributed-ledger-technologies (e.g. the blockchain) or decision paths based on artificial intelligence. Last but not least, the omnipresent climate crisis also poses considerable legal challenges, which the CIRR is also addressing scientifically.

Overall, the CIRR would like to contribute answers to the question of how "law" should react specifically to technical innovations. In this way, the innovation-driving industry, the society confronted with it, legal practice and, last but not least, jurisprudence are to be given new impulses that may counteract the "overstrain of law by technical innovation" that is sometimes felt in all four areas. Instead, the specific potentials and risks are to be identified and evaluated from a legal perspective. In this way, a transfer of knowledge is to be realised - whether in the context of individual advisory services or as a general research contribution, This should in particular make it possible to review existing assessments of technical innovation to see whether they are actually based on facts or rather on prejudices.