Advertisement

Artificial Intelligence and Law

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 377–409 | Cite as

On legal contracts, imperative and declarative smart contracts, and blockchain systems

  • Guido Governatori
  • Florian Idelberger
  • Zoran Milosevic
  • Regis RiveretEmail author
  • Giovanni Sartor
  • Xiwei Xu
Article

Abstract

This paper provides an analysis of how concepts pertinent to legal contracts can influence certain aspects of their digital implementation through smart contracts, as inspired by recent developments in distributed ledger technology. We discuss how properties of imperative and declarative languages including the underlying architectures to support contract management and lifecycle apply to various aspects of legal contracts. We then address these properties in the context of several blockchain architectures. While imperative languages are commonly used to implement smart contracts, we find that declarative languages provide more natural ways to deal with certain aspects of legal contracts and their automated management.

Keywords

Legal contracts Smart contracts Blockchain 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The paper is an extended and revised version of Idelberger et al. (2016) presented at RuleML 2016 conference.

References

  1. Aberdeen Group (2005) The contract management solution selection report. In: Handbook for CLM strategy and solution selection. Aberdeen GroupGoogle Scholar
  2. Athan T, Governatori G, Palmirani M, Paschke A, Wyner A (2015) LegalRuleML: design principles and foundations. In: Proceedings of the 11th reasoning web summer school. Springer. pp 151–188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Berners-Lee T, Hendler J, Lassila O (2001) The semantic web. Sci Am 284(5):34–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Canesin FC, Xiang YJ, Lim J, Fast E, Lowenthal J, Fong A, van den Brink E (2018) NEO white paperGoogle Scholar
  5. Clack CD, Bakshi VA, Braine L (2016a) Smart contract templates: essential requirements and design options. CoRR, abs/1612.04496Google Scholar
  6. Clack CD, Bakshi VA, Braine L (2016b) Smart contract templates: foundations, design landscape and research directions. CoRR, abs/1608.00771Google Scholar
  7. Daskalopulu A, Sergot MJ (1997) The representation of legal contracts. AI Soc 11(1):6–17CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dimitrakos T, Djordjevic I, Milosevic Z, Jøsang A, Phillips CI (2003) Contract performance assessment for secure and dynamic virtual collaborations. In: Proceedings of the 7th international enterprise distributed object computing conference. IEEE Computer Society, pp 62–75Google Scholar
  9. Ethereum Foundation E(2016) Thereum’s white paperGoogle Scholar
  10. Farell ADH, Sergot MJ, Salle M, Bartolini C (2005) Using the event calculus for tracking the normative state of contracts. Int J Cooper Inf Syst 14(02n03):99–129CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Fenech S, Pace GJ, Schneider G (2009) Automatic conflict detection on contracts. In: Proceedings of the 6th international colloquium on theoretical aspects of Computing. Springer, pp 200–214Google Scholar
  12. Gabbay D, Horty J, Parent X, van der Meyden R, van der Torre L (eds) (2013) Handbook of deontic logic and normative systems. College Publications, LondonzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  13. Gelati J, Rotolo A, Sartor G, Governatori G (2004) Normative autonomy and normative co-ordination: Declarative power, representation, and mandate. Artif Intell Law 12(1–2):53–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Governatori. G (2005) Representing business contracts in RuleML. Int J Cooper Inf Syst 14(2–3):181–216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Governatori G (2015) Thou shalt is not you will. In: Proceedings of the 15th international conference on artificial intelligence and law. ACM, pp 63–68Google Scholar
  16. Governatori G, Milosevic Z (2005) Dealing with contract violations: formalism and domain specific language. In: Proceedings of the 9th IEEE international EDOC enterprise computing conference. IEEE Computer Society, pp 46–57Google Scholar
  17. Governatori G, Milosevic Z (2006) A formal analysis of a business contract language. Int J Cooper Inf Syst 15(4):659–685CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Governatori G, Pham DH (2009) DR-CONTRACT: an architecture for e-contracts in defeasible logic. Int J Bus Process Integr Manag 5(4):187–199CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Governatori G, Rotolo A (2013) Computing temporal defeasible logic. In: Theory, practice, and applications of rules on the web. Springer, pp 114–128Google Scholar
  20. Governatori G, Hulstijn J, Riveret R, Rotolo A (2007) Characterising deadlines in temporal modal defeasible logic. In: Proceedings of the 20th Australian joint conference on artificial intelligence. Springer, pp 486–496Google Scholar
  21. Grosof BN, Labrou Y, Chan HY (1999) A declarative approach to business rules in contracts: courteous logic programs in xml. In: Proceedings of the 1st ACM conference on electronic commerce. ACM, pp 68–77Google Scholar
  22. Hanson JE, Milosevic Z (2003) Conversation-oriented protocols for contract negotiations. In: Proceedings of the 7th international enterprise distributed object computing conference. IEEE Computer Society, pp 40–49Google Scholar
  23. Hess Z, Malahov Y, Pettersson J (2017) Aeternity blockchainGoogle Scholar
  24. Idelberger F, Governatori G, Riveret R, Sartor G (2016) Evaluation of logic-based smart contracts for blockchain systems. In: Proceedings of the 10th international web rule symposium. Springer, pp 167–183Google Scholar
  25. Jelurida (2017) Ardor white paperGoogle Scholar
  26. Jones SLP, Eber JM (2003) How to write a financial contractCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kern A, Walhorn C (2005) Rule support for role-based access control. In: Proceedings of the 10th ACM symposium on access control models and technologies. ACM, pp 130–138Google Scholar
  28. Kowalski R (1979) Algorithm = logic + control. Commun ACM 22(7):424–436CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Lam HP, Governatori G (2009) The making of SPINdle. In: Proceedings of the international symposium on rule interchange and applications. Springer, pp 315–322Google Scholar
  30. Linington PF, Milosevic Z, Cole JB, Gibson S, Kulkarni S, Neal SW (2004) A unified behavioural model and a contract language for extended enterprise. Data Knowl Eng 51(1):5–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Lomuscio A, Penczek W, Solanki M, Szreter M (2011) Runtime monitoring of contract regulated web services. Fundam Inform 111(3):339–355MathSciNetzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  32. Magazzeni D, McBurney P, Nash W (2017) Validation and verification of smart contracts: a research agenda. Computer 50(9):50–57CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Marjanovic O, Milosevic Z (2001) Towards formal modeling of e-contracts. In: Proceedings of the 5th international enterprise distributed object computing conference, pp 59–68Google Scholar
  34. Milosevic Z (1996) Enterprise aspects of open distributed systems. Ph.D. thesis, University of QueenslandGoogle Scholar
  35. Milosevic Z, Arnold D, O’Connor L (1996) Inter-enterprise contract architecture for open distributed systems: security requirements. In: Proceedings of the 5th workshop on enabling technologies: infrastructure for collaborative enterprises, pp 68–73Google Scholar
  36. Molina-Jimenez C, Shrivastava S, Solaiman E, Warne J (2004) Run-time monitoring and enforcement of electronic contracts. Electron Commer Res Appl 3(2):108–125CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Montgomery N, Wilson DR (2015) Market guide for contract life cycle management, Gartner, ID: G00276707Google Scholar
  38. Nakamoto S (2008) Bitcoin: A peer-to-peer electronic cash systemGoogle Scholar
  39. Nxt Community (2018) Nxt white paperGoogle Scholar
  40. OASIS (2007) eContracts Version 1.0, Committee SpecificationGoogle Scholar
  41. Prakken H, Sartor G (2015) Law and logic: a review from an argumentation perspective. Artif Intell 227:214–245MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Rimba R, Tran AB, Weber I, Staples M, Ponomarev A, Xu X (2017) Comparing blockchain and cloud services for business process execution. In: Proceedings IEEE international conference on software architecture. IEEE, pp 257–260Google Scholar
  43. Sartor G (2005) Legal reasoning: a cognitive approach to the law. Springer, BerlinGoogle Scholar
  44. Staples M, Chen S, Falamaki S, Ponomarev A, Rimba P, Tran AB, Weber I, Xu X, Zhu J (2017) Risks and opportunities for systems using blockchain and smart contracts. Technical report, Data61 (CSIRO), SydneyGoogle Scholar
  45. Szabo N (1997) The idea of smart contractsGoogle Scholar
  46. Weber I, Xu X, Riveret R, Governatori G, Ponomarev A, Mendling J (2016) Untrusted business process monitoring and execution using blockchain. In: Proceedings of the 14th international conference on business process management, vol 9850. Springer, pp 329–347Google Scholar
  47. Wood G (2014) Ethereum: a secure decentralised generalised transaction ledgerGoogle Scholar
  48. Wright A, De Filippi P (2015) Decentralized Blockchain Technology and the Rise of Lex Cryptographia. SSRN scholarly paper ID 2580664, Social Science Research NetworkGoogle Scholar
  49. Xu X, Weber I, Staples M, Rimba P (2017) A taxonomy of blockchain-based systems for architecture design. In: Proceedings IEEE international conference on software architecture. IEEE, pp 243–252Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Data61, CSIROBrisbaneAustralia
  2. 2.European University InstituteFlorenceItaly
  3. 3.DeontikBrisbaneAustralia
  4. 4.Data61, CSIROSydneyAustralia

Personalised recommendations