Ergo--a programming language for Smart Legal Contracts


We present a smart legal contract platform to support a wide range of smart legal contract use cases. We see this as a step towards improving existing approaches to representing the complexity of legal agreements and executing aspects of these agreements. The smart contract is a coded computer program that will automatically execute when something triggers it. In contrast, the smart legal contract is a legal agreement in digital and executable code that connects terms and can interact with other software systems. Clack et al. (2016) provides an encompassing definition of smart contract and smart legal contract by considering the operational aspect and legal focus of both while basing the definition in the topics of automation and enforceability: “A smart contract is an automatable and enforceable agreement. Automatable by computer, although some parts may require human input and control. Enforceable either by legal enforcement of rights and obligations or via tamper-proof execution of computer code.”

Paper presented at Programming Languages and the Law workshop at Principles of Programming Languages (POPL) Conference
I-Sheng (Eason) Chen
I-Sheng (Eason) Chen
1st-year PhD Student at Human-Computer Interaction Institute

Eason is a first-year PhD student in HCII at CMU.