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  2. Dr Robert Herian

Dr Robert Herian

Profile summary

Web links

Professional biography

My current research focuses on interdisciplinary and theoretical analyses of law, technologies, systems, and data.  I'm co-founder of the Law, Information, Future, Technology (LIFT) research cluster at The Open University Law School and the Equity and Trusts Research Network (ETRN)

My further research interests include the law of equity, legal histories, civil justice, psychoanalysis, literature, and language drawing upon critical theories, philosophy, and traditional jurisprudence. 

I have presented my research at domestic and international conferences, and published in legal and non-legal peer-reviewed journals, edited collections, and via online portals including The Conversation and Critical Legal Thinking.   

I am author of three books Regulating Blockchain: Critical Perspectives in Law and Technology (Routledge, 2018), Data: New Trajectories in Law (Routledge, 2021), and Capitalism and the Equity Fetish: Desire, Property, Justice (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021)

For a full list of conference papers, working papers, and publications, please follow my ORCID link.

I'm interested in supervising PhD projects that explore one or more of my research topics, including intersections between technology, property and contract laws, equity, critical data theories, critical theories, and political economy. 

Research interests

  • Law, technology and data
  • Law and psychoanalysis
  • History and development of the law of equity
  • Law and literature
  • Critical legal theory, philosophy, and jurisprudence

Teaching interests

  • Law, technology and data
  • Equity and trusts 
  • Civil justice and property law
  • Futures of legal education
  • Critical Legal Theory

Impact and engagement

External collaborations

  • Expert panel member, author and contributor to the EU Blockchain Observatory
  • Member/contributor All Party Parliamentary Group on blockchain (@appg-blockchain)
  • Member of the Open University research group on blockchain technology: OpenBlockchain
  • Development of Equity & Trusts Research Network in collaboration with Kent Law School.  Activities include guest journal editorial, workshops, significant AHRC/ERSC grant to aid further development, conference stream and panel organization.
  • American Society of Law Culture and the Humanities (ASLCH)
  • Law Literature and the Humanities Association of Australasia (LLHAA) 
  • EU Blockchain Observatory & Forum



Blockchain, GDPR, and fantasies of data sovereignty (2020)
Herian, Robert
Law, Innovation and Technology, 12(1) (pp. 156-174)

The Conscience of Thomas More: An Introduction to Equity in Modernity (2020)
Herian, Robert
The Heythrop Journal ((Early Access))

Smart contracts: a remedial analysis (2020)
Herian, Robert
Information & Communications Technology Law, 30(1) (pp. 17-34)

Evolutionary Roots of Property Rights; The Natural and Cultural Nature of Human Cooperation (2019-11)
Szocik, Konrad and Herian, Robert
The Heythrop Journal, 60(6) (pp. 821-831)

Regulating Disruption: Blockchain, GDPR, and Questions of Data Sovereignty (2018-08-01)
Herian, Robert
Journal of Internet Law, 22(2) (pp. 1 and 8-16)

Taking Blockchain Seriously (2018-07-31)
Herian, Robert
Law and Critique, 29(2) (pp. 163-171)

The Politics of Blockchain (2018-07)
Herian, Robert
Law and Critique, 29(2) (pp. 129-131)

Blockchain and the (re)imagining of trusts jurisprudence (2017-09-21)
Herian, Robert
Strategic Change: Briefings in Entrepreneurial Finance, 26(5) (pp. 453-460)

The Castrated Trustee: Jouissance and Breach of Trust (2017-04-04)
Herian, Robert
Pólemos, 11(1) (pp. 97-115)

'How long do you intend to stay?': Desire meets proscription in the subject in Henry Miller's Via Dieppe-Newhaven. (2014-04)
Herian, Robert
Liverpool Law Review, 35(1) (pp. 65-81)

Data: New Trajectories in Law (2021-03-31)
Herian, Robert
Routledge Focus
ISBN : 9780367477134 | Publisher : Routledge

Capitalism and the Equity Fetish: Desire, Property, Justice (2021-03-26)
Herian, Robert
ISBN : 978-3-030-66522-7 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan

Regulating Blockchain: Critical Perspectives in Law and Technology (2018-09-21)
Herian, Robert
ISBN : 9781138592766 | Publisher : Routledge

Techno-Legal Supertoys: Smart Contracts and the Fetishization of Legal Certainty (2022-03-01)
Herian, Robert
In: Allen, Jason and Hunn, Peter eds. Smart Legal Contracts: Computable Law in Theory and Practice
ISBN : 9780192858467 | Publisher : Oxford University Press | Published : Oxford

Technology with legal education (2021-10-16)
Herian, Robert
In: rua Wall, Illan; Middleton, Freya and Shah, Sahar eds. The Critical Legal Pocketbook (pp. 267-272)
ISBN : 978-1-910761-12-0 | Publisher : Counterpress | Published : Oxford

Desire Lines (2020-12-18)
Herian, Robert
In: Claydon, Lisa; Ajevski, Marjan and Derry, Caroline eds. Law in Motion: 50 years of Legal Change (pp. 90-104)
ISBN : 978-1-4730-3148-7 | Publisher : Open University Law School

Blockchain and the Distributed Reproduction of Capitalist Class Power (2018-01-20)
Herian, Robert
In: Gloerich, Inte; Lovink, Geert and De Vries, Patricia eds. MoneyLab Reader 2: Overcoming the Hype (pp. 43-51)
ISBN : 9789492302199 | Publisher : Institute of Network Cultures

Henry Miller: obscene other of the law (2015-06-18)
Herian, Rob
In: Decker, James and Männiste, Indrek eds. Henry Miller: New Perspectives (pp. 95-108)
ISBN : 9781628921236 | Publisher : Bloomsbury Academic | Published : London

Legal Recognition of Blockchain Registries and Smart Contracts (2018-12-12)
Herian, Robert
EU Blockchain Observatory and Forum