Mathematics and the Law

September 23, 1999

A special session exploring the interface between mathematics and the law was held at ICIAM 99. The speakers, a mathematician and three eminent lawyers, discussed a wide range of issues: the logical structure of law, expert systems in specialized areas of law, actuarial questions related to damage, and probability in assessing evidence. In a lively discussion, with audience participation, the mathematical education (or lack thereof) of lawyers was one issue. Also highlighted was the impact of the Internet on the ways in which legal advice is obtained. In general, probability, computing, and complex finance were the mathematical areas most clearly seen as impinging on the law.

The session was chaired by Lord Mackay, the previous Lord Chancellor (roughly---for U.S. readers---a combination of the Speaker of the House and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court), who had been a mathematics student at both Edinburgh and Cambridge Universities and was a patron of ICIAM 99. The session, sponsored jointly by the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the Faculty of Advocates, was held at the RSE.---Sir Michael Atiyah, chair of ICIAM 99.

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