Smart legal contracts
Produced in partnership with Benjamin Mendelson of Chronos Law

The following TMT practice note produced in partnership with Benjamin Mendelson of Chronos Law provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Smart legal contracts
  • What is a smart legal contract?
  • Natural language contract with automated performance
  • Hybrid smart legal contract
  • Solely code legal contract
  • Distributed ledger technology (DLT)
  • Enforceability under UK law
  • The formation of smart legal contracts
  • Agreement (comprising an offer and acceptance)
  • Consideration
  • More...

Smart legal contracts

This Practice Note explains what a smart legal contract (or smart contract) is, as a technology and as a legal instrument, and provides a summary of the Law Commission’s advice to UK government which concluded that the current legal framework in the UK is able to facilitate and support the use of smart legal contracts.

It includes a breakdown of the legal principles surrounding the formation, form, formality and interpretation of contracts under UK law, and provides a comparison between the way in which those principles are applied traditionally and the way in which the Law Commission say they could apply to the main types of smart legal contract.

The Practice Note includes the following sections:

  1. What is a smart legal contract?

  2. Distributed ledger technology (DLT)

  3. Enforceability under UK law

  4. The formation of smart legal contracts

  5. Agreement (comprising an offer and acceptance)

  6. Consideration

  7. Certainty and completeness

  8. Intention to create legal relations

  9. Formality requirements—‘in writing’

  10. Formality requirements—‘signature’

  11. Can a smart legal contract be a deed?

  12. The interpretation of smart legal contracts

  13. Remedies

  14. Jurisdiction and smart legal contracts

This Practice Note does not include detailed consideration of Blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT). For more on these, see Practice Note: Blockchain—key legal and regulatory issues.

What is a smart legal contract?

Smart contracts are computer programs that run automatically without the need for human intervention. The code of

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