As technology advances, there is often pressure on the legal system to “respond” or “keep pace”. When contemplating law reform in response to this pressure, there is a tendency to propose new rules designed to apply specifically to the new technology. As a result, technological change often leads to a proliferation of sui generis legal rules. As the creation of sui generis rules is one common temptation for rule-makers wishing to respond quickly to emerging technologies, this paper will consider whether sui generis rules are an effective approach for dealing with the pacing problem. In deciding whether sui generis rules are truly appropriate, it is important to take account of their advantages and disadvantages compared to a more broadly-framed approach. It is also necessary to consider alternative approaches, such as utilising a broad category and tailoring the law’s application to the new entity, activity or relationship within that broad category or employing relatively technology-neutral sui generis rules. Unless the tendency to enact narrowly framed legislation is minimised, the possibility for further legal problems as technology continues to evolve is high.
Date of this Version
Lyria Bennett Moses, "Sui generis rules" (December 2009). University of New South Wales Faculty of Law Research Series 2009. Working Paper 51.