Robert Herian

Robert Herian
University of Exeter | UoE · Law School

PhD, LLM, BA(hons)

About

57
Publications
18,037
Reads
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137
Citations
Introduction
Dr Robert Herian is currently Associate Professor in Law at the University of Exeter Law School, co-founder of the Law, Information, Future, Technology (LIFT) research group and Equity and Trusts Research Network (ETRN). Robert's research includes intersections of law, technology and data studies, law and psychoanalysis, critical theory, social and political economy and philosophy.
Additional affiliations
January 2021 - present
University of Westminster
Position
  • Lecturer
October 2018 - present
The Open University (UK)
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
March 2012 - October 2018
The Open University (UK)
Position
  • Lecturer
Education
October 2011 - October 2018
October 2009 - June 2011
October 2003 - June 2005
King's College London
Field of study
  • American Studies

Publications

Publications (57)
Book
Full-text available
As the distributed architecture underpinning the initial Bitcoin anarcho-capitalist, libertarian project, "blockchain" entered wider public imagination and vocabulary only very recently. Yet in a short space of time it has become more mainstream and synonymous with a spectacular variety of commercial and civic "problem"/"solution" concepts and idea...
Preprint
Full-text available
This draft report was prepared with the EU Blockchain Observatory & Forum as a discussion document for the workshop, “Blockchains & smart contracts legal and regulatory framework”, held in Paris, France, 12th December 2018.
Article
Like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the broader, mainstream emergence of blockchain technology in the present moment of, what I call, data dysphoria is no accident. It is in part reaction to data dysphoria, and in part exploitation of it, a duality underpinned by the tantalising promise of the prosumer ‘taking contr...
Book
Full-text available
This book explores the phenomenon of data – big and small – in the contemporary digital, informatic and legal-bureaucratic context. Challenging the way in which legal interest in data has focused on rights and privacy concerns, this book examines the contestable, multivocal and multifaceted figure of the contemporary data subject. The book analyse...
Technical Report
Full-text available
This report is the first of a series of brief papers relating to the main legal aspects of non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The aim is to highlight NFT characteristics and provide an extensive but not exhaustive overview of the legal classification and frameworks across the globe. The report places a special focus on EU laws, but it is not limited to th...
Technical Report
Full-text available
APPG Blockchain Evidence Meeting 22, on the topic of Government, Democracy & Voting. Online Parliament.
Chapter
This chapter explores the interparty electronic agreements known as ‘smart contracts’ against the established boundaries of contract law and theory. Underpinning the question of characterization are three overlapping legal and extra-legal factors. The first concerns legitimacy, in law and fact, of smart contract agreements. Second are uncertainties...
Chapter
During this chapter I offer a brief account of technologies with legal education and present a case for the importance of studying technological effects on law. At the heart of that relationship is a tension between the latter (slowly) recognizing the unavoidability of the former in its future. The following discussion draws on aspects of my resear...
Book
This book is a provocative, interdisciplinary, and critical appraisal of civil justice, property, and the laws that shape and command them within capitalism. Dr. Herian’s book is both a complementary and countervailing narrative to many mainstream legal accounts, one that critiques core and influential areas of legal knowledge and practice. Central...
Chapter
Taking as an its initial marker Equity’s alignment with the aims and objectives of capitalism through the utilitarian philosophy of Jeremey Bentham, this chapter provides an important backdrop to Equity’s historical development within capitalism in England and Wales, and beyond. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, significant social, po...
Chapter
The influence of political economy and economic reason on my formulation of Equity fetishism—a new theory of civil justice—prompts the need to consider a particular formulation of fetishism able to account for that influence. Beginning with an analysis of Equity’s language as key to understanding it as a property basis of civil justice, Equity feti...
Chapter
Stakeholders accrue and protect personal wealth and property, and establishes bases of power, through use and reliance on the doctrines and principles of Equity, civil justice, and private property, including the law of trusts, contractual remedies, and the law of fiduciaries to undertake economic activity within capitalism. Frameworks of civil jus...
Chapter
Starting with definitions and contexts drawn from conventional wisdom on Equity, the aim of ‘setting the scene’ is to provide the reader with a comprehensive foundation of the major themes the book set out to examine, critique, and challenge. This includes, for example, through the idea of Equity fetishism; how it emerges from the ideological depth...
Chapter
Complete justice is vital to considerations of law and justice within the prevailing socioeconomic system. If the civil justice system has an incontrovertible role in contemporary socioeconomic life, as the means of organizing knowledge of and claims to the rights that the civil law gives us, then the importance of the reasoning that fuels that sys...
Chapter
This chapter comprises two parts. First, a discussion on the relationship between fetishism and ideology that will look in more depth at the ideas raised earlier in the book. Second, given that fetishism is not a self-contained concept within Freud’s work but exists in dialogue with several other formulations, to develop a theory of fetishism relev...
Chapter
Equity fetishism informs a case against capitalism or neoliberal capitalism as contestable facilitators of justice conducted in or for the public interest. Prevailing forms of justice within capitalism befit a narrow cohort of stakeholders able to show the privilege necessary to gain access to justice because of substantial private interest and wea...
Chapter
This chapter discusses Equity fetishism in the contemporary neoliberal capitalist age. Between Judicature and the Senior Courts Act 1981, the role and place of Equity has often been restated in the civil justice system. Significant reform programmes in England and Wales have further shifted the onus of civil justice, I argue, towards an alignment o...
Chapter
Equity fetishism is a phenomenon I associate with the psycho-juridical existence of stakeholders within capitalism. Central to Equity fetishism (as with all forms of fetishism) is a subject qua stakeholder whose search for complete justice is a response in fantasy to the traumatic fact of castration and the need to disavow it. The private property...
Chapter
Full-text available
Desire lines occur wherever we find human and animal movement. Desire lines dissect the planned spaces of Milton Keynes and have done since its creation 50 years ago, and they will continue to show us how people use, abuse, and manipulate the spaces of Milton Keynes long into the future. Accompanying Robert Herian’s chapter is a short video install...
Article
The perpetual script of a smart contract, that executes an agreement machine-to-machine without prejudice, guarantees performance of 'contractual terms' enabling the exchange or transaction of cryptoassets and other forms of property. Yet, smart contracts as recognisable or valid legal instruments within the boundaries of contract or property law r...
Article
In 1999, the same year as new Civil Procedure Rules in England and Wales, the Law Society Gazette polled members of the legal profession in the United Kingdom asking for nominations for the most influential legal figure of the preceding millennium . The poll sought an individual who embodied virtues in law at the close of a millennium, to an age of...
Article
Full-text available
The discourse of data sovereignty (‘taking control’) at first blush implies empowerment of the data subject – Facebook’s Libra project explicitly uses this language and ideal in relation to their subscribers. However, as the author argues, ‘Taking control’ is only an illusion or, more precisely, a fantasy articulated through the notion of data sove...
Technical Report
Full-text available
The European Union Blockchain Observatory & Forum has set as one of its objectives the analysis of and reporting on a wide range of important blockchain themes, driven by the priorities of the European Commission and based on input from its Working Groups and other stakeholders. As part of this it will publish a series of thematic reports on select...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Performance of “contractual terms” in an agreement or to enable the exchange or transaction of cryptoassets and other forms of property both on- and off-line is guaranteed by the perpetual script of a smart contract that executes the agreement machine-to-machine without prejudice. Yet, smart contracts as recognisable or valid legal instruments with...
Preprint
Full-text available
Like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the broader, mainstream emergence of blockchain technology in the present moment of, what I call, data dysphoria is no accident. It is in part reaction to data dysphoria, and in part exploitation of it, a duality underpinned by the tantalizing promise of the prosumer ‘taking contr...
Thesis
Full-text available
This thesis argues that the law of Equity is a means to complete justice for stakeholders of capitalism with a desire for and need to believe in the certainty and perfectibility of the symbolic of capitalist reason and logic. By applying a Marxist Freudian reading I claim that stakeholder desire for and insistence on certainty and perfectibility wi...
Article
Full-text available
The article discusses the nature of law in cyberspace. Topics discussed include distinction between regulation as an infringement of private autonomy and regulation as a collaborative enterprise; blockchain regulatory conundrum; and neoliberal market-complementing regulation. Also being discussed is the regulation of economic efficiency and consume...
Article
Full-text available
In the present techno-political moment it is clear that ignoring or dismissing the hype surrounding blockchain is unwise, and certainly for regulatory authorities and governments who must keep a grip on the technology and those promoting it, in order to ensure democratic accountability and regulatory legitimacy within the blockchain ecosystem and b...
Article
Full-text available
Confronting the ideological parameters in which blockchain exists, and the commercial and individual interests and concerns that the technology channels and structures are vital in order to cut through the problematic of blockchain hype and challenge hollow sentiments of entrepreneurial ‘disruption’. The critique demonstrated by this supplement is...
Working Paper
Full-text available
Research
Full-text available
Online essay originally published at http://criticallegalthinking.com/
Research
Full-text available
Online essay originally published at http://criticallegalthinking.com/
Article
Full-text available
As a highly prolific legal mechanism that both predated and subsequently found form amid the development of Anglo-American capitalist societies, the modern-day trust operates across manifold private, commercial, domestic and international spheres. As a consequence of their complex legal, economic and political significance that informs, for example...
Article
Full-text available
The approach taken by this paper is one that looks for biological and evolutionary roots to property rights via the assumption that humans may have biological limitations to their selfish tendencies which are based on other selfish mechanisms. Such mechanisms include the self-regarding cost-benefit analysis by a potential intruder who seeks to misa...
Article
Full-text available
This paper uses Henry Miller’s account, “Via Dieppe–Newhaven”, concerning the Parisian-based author’s barred attempt to visit London in order to satisfy a desire “to hear English spoken twenty-four hours of the day”, as a means of exploring the intersection of language and proscription in the psychic space of the subject. Like Miller, people often...

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Projects (3)
Project
Interdisciplinary and critical analyses of law, technology, and data