Rules as Code OPSI & CoHuBiCoL

Rules as Code OPSI initiative (RaC) and the CoHuBiCoL project

Published on: 12/05/2021

Interested in learning how to integrate technology in rulemaking and how to move from textual to computational law?

Learn about the Rules as Code OPSI initiative and the CoHuBiCoL project.


The Legal Interoperability team is involved and actively supports the OECD Observatory for Public Sector Innovation (OPSI) Rules as Code (RaC) initiative (see here to learn more). RaC is an emerging concept in public sector innovation, which is rethinking a core function of government: rulemaking. The OPSI RaC project proposes to create an official, machine-consumable version of particular types of government rules, to exist alongside the existing natural language counterpart. This involves the use and integration of technology, but also to reimagine the processes and methods currently used to create government rules.

In other words, RaC is defined as ‘the process of drafting rules in legislation, regulation, and policy in machine-consumable languages (code) so they can be read and used by computers’,  thus representing a new approach to rulemaking (de Sousa, 2019). This is considered by many public sector innovators as holding significant potential for governments.


Across the world, public sector teams are exploring this new approach and its potential as a response to an increasingly complex operating environment and growing pressures on incumbent rulemaking systems. OPSI’s publication "Cracking the Code: Rulemaking for humans and machines" is intended to help those working both within and outside of government to understand the potential, limitations and implications of RaC, as well as how it could be applied in a public service context.

Learn more about the OPSI RaC initiative here.


At the same time, the CoHuBiCoL research project is also highly interesting. Indeed, it puts into practice a key enabler of digital-ready policies in our view: Multidisciplinary teams, since as part of this project, Mireille Hildebrandt received an Advanced Grant of the European Research Council to set up a team of both lawyers and computer scientists to conduct together foundational research into computational law. In particular, they are:

·   Investigating how the prominence of counting and computation transforms many of the assumptions, operations and outcomes of the law. The research targets two types of computational law:

  • artificial legal intelligence or data-driven law (based on machine learning), and
  • cryptographic or code-driven law (based on blockchain technologies).

·   Developing, as an overarching goal, a new hermeneutics for computational law, based on (1) research into the assumptions and the implications of computational law, and on (2) the development of conceptual tools to rethink and reconstruct the Rule of Law in the era of computational law.

Learn more about CoHuBiCoL here.


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