United Kingdom: Who Bears Final Responsibility and Liability

There is currently no legal framework in the UK specifically tailored for smart contracts. That said, past court cases have already determined that an automated system could not be regarded as an agent because only a person with a mind could be an agent in law. It is unclear whether people can be bound by offers or acceptances made by a computer on their behalf. A Singapore court case (Singapore follows English common law) observed that “The fact that the acceptance was automatically generated by a computer software cannot in any manner exonerate the defendant from responsibility. It was the defendant’s computer system. The defendant programmed the software.”

Given the absence of explicit regulations regarding smart contracts, it is still an open question as to who bears final responsibility/liability in case something goes wrong with a smart contract.


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