Dilemmas in Legal Governance


  • Pompeu Casanovas Autonomous University of Barcelona (Spain) and La Trobe University Law School (Australia)
  • Pablo Noriega Artificial Intelligence Research Institute, Spanish National Research Council (IIIA-CSIC)


This article develops the issue of power and language in Artificial Intelligence governance through three dilemmas that should be considered in the design of regulatory systems. Some previous uses of this figure in the literature are described. The article inspects some design choices that determine how legal governance in AI can be engineered. Stemming from the conundrum that enactment of rights and the implementation of good or better government can be facilitated at the cost of increasing control over citizens through AI-based systems, the article formulates three dilemmas—normative autonomy, legal isomorphism, and modes of regulation. Beyond deliberative and epistemic democracy, it expands then the notion of legal governance, connecting the three dilemmas with the ethical and political stances of the concept of linked democracy.

Author Biographies

  • Pompeu Casanovas, Autonomous University of Barcelona (Spain) and La Trobe University Law School (Australia)

    Prof. Pompeu Casanovas [h-Index: 38] is Research Professor at La Trobe University Law School and Key Researcher at the EU H2020 Projects LYNX, SPIRIT, OPTIMAI and RiOE (Marie Curie). He is also Director of Advanced Research and Professor of Law and Legal Studies at Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB Faculty of Law), and founder and former Head of the UAB Institute of Law and Technology (IDT-UAB, 2005-2020). He has been Key Researcher at the Australian government-funded Data to Decisions CRC Project (2017-2020). His most recent projects are i-Move (La Trobe Centre for Technology Infusion), Onto-ROPA (EU, New Generation Internet), and Meta-Issues in Cyber-security (an IEEE SA Industry Connection Program). Prof. Casanovas has authored, co-authored or edited over 30 books and more than 200 scientific articles in the area of Law and Technology. His research interests include philosophy, Artificial Intelligence, pragmatics, cyber-security, legal theory, socio-legal studies, collective knowledge and reasoning, democracy on the Web of Data, intellectual history, and regulatory models for the Internet of Things and Industry 4.0. Some of the Journals in which he has published are the Journal of Knowledge Management, The International Review of Law Computers & Technology, Artificial Intelligence & Law, Philosophy and Technology, Computer Law & Security Review, Journal of Governance and Regulation, Health and Technology, Semantic Web Journal, Information Systems Frontiers.

  • Pablo Noriega, Artificial Intelligence Research Institute, Spanish National Research Council (IIIA-CSIC)

    Pablo Noriega is a researcher in the Artificial Intelligence Research Institute (IIIA) of the Spanish Scientific Research Council (CSIC). He holds a PhD in Artificial Intelligence and his  research theme has been the governance of online systems that may involve human and artificial autonomous agents. He has over 150 publications and his current work is focussed around the problem of designing AI systems that align with human values. He was a founding member of the International Foundation for Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (IFAAMAS) and is in the steering committee of several specialised workshops in the field. He is a Corresponding Member of the Mexican Academy of Computer Science and a Fellow of the Mexican AI Society. Before joining the IIIA, he was the head IT policy-maker in Mexico.