Over recent years AI and emerging tech has disrupted business and legal industries alike. Some see this as the future others err on the side of caution. As lawyers it has become a large part of practice and businesses implementing these technologies for more efficient delivery to customers and improving productivity internally.

However, despite the demand for AI there remains regulatory, commercial and even ethical uncertainty. This article explores how to prepare your company for potential changes in future regulations and legislation as AI and emerging tech continue to revolutionize the UK.

Whilst the UK is known for having a robust legal framework, emerging technologies have yet to be fully legislated on. Needless to say, the law is very behind. As such, lawyers and businesses are left to govern the way they approach this themselves.

As lawyers, we are tasked with keeping up with these advancements in innovation and very often draft documents considering what might happen in the future and indeed what the future may look like. When drafting commercial contracts, we need to consider insurance terms and liability, and when advising on technology, there must be space left for potential changes in future regulations and legislation.

Although it has become an active element of the way lawyers do work in the 21st century, it is impossible to anticipate all the nuanced changes that could flood into this new era of technology and law. So, how can businesses approach AI sensibly and stay legally secure?

Ethical practices

With new and emerging technology, its safe and ethical use and integration into businesses and wider society must be fully considered. Organisations must consider both a commercial and societal approach.

When implementing AI in business from a legal standpoint, it’s paramount to consider areas such as data privacy, algorithmic bias, and accountability. Firstly, safeguarding sensitive data and ensuring compliance with regulations like GDPR is crucial to maintain ethical standards. Secondly, mitigating algorithmic bias, which can perpetuate discrimination or unfair treatment, demands continuous monitoring and adjustment of AI systems. Additionally, establishing clear lines of accountability and transparency in AI decision-making processes is essential to address ethical concerns and foster trust among stakeholders. By proactively addressing these ethical issues, businesses can uphold integrity while harnessing the transformative power of AI responsibly.

A City Law Firm has advised on a wide range of emerging technologies, from artificial intelligence to autonomous vehicles. We understand how the UK legal system is continuously evolving to address the legal implications of these cutting-edge innovations. We have also seen how these technologies are themselves constantly evolving. It is for this reason that many regulators emphasize the underlying systems being designed around core regulatory issues such as privacy by design and security by design. Developers should have a clear understanding and work with their lawyers to understand how their systems can be designed to safeguard key areas of risk with their technologies.

Regulatory oversight

Several regulations are already in place, and regulatory developments are hotly anticipated for emerging technologies in the UK.

  1. Data Protection is very important for all emerging technologies. The Data Protection Act 2018 in the UK and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the EU cover this.
  2. There are AI guidelines and frameworks for the UK, as found on the Alan Turing Institute’s Data Ethics Group and the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The EU have already passed the EU AI Act heralding the first piece of legislation governing AI.
  3. The UK government introduced the Automated and Electric Vehicles Act 2018 and enacted the Network and Information Systems (NIS) Regulations 2018.
  4. The FCA has issued regulations to cover many facets of cryptocurrency and digital assets.
  5. Future regulations are anticipated for advancements in genomic data and medicine focusing on safeguarding genetic privacy, informed consent for genetic testing and equitable access to genomic technologies.
  6. As of 2024, the Civil Aviation Authority of the United Kingdom (CAA), the nation’s governing body for aviation matters, has implemented a comprehensive and robust set of drone laws. Drone regulation presents a real challenge for unmanned aerial vehicles concerning airspace management. It regulates privacy infringement, establishes no-fly zones and enhances enforcement mechanisms to prevent misuse of drones.

Risks and mitigation

Emerging technologies offer many advantages, but they also pose multiple risks that need to be properly considered. While their benefits can be commercialised, their risks must be identified and, where possible, mitigated.

  1. Systems automated by artificial intelligence generally lack the ability to make nuanced ethical decisions that align with human values. This can be especially harmful to sensitive domains such as health care, criminal justice and finance. As such, clear guidelines for human oversight are imperative for protection and security.
  2. Automated systems can inherit biases present in data used to train them, leading to further discrimination. The internet is notoriously biased, and adding to these biases creates a vicious circle, leading to further generative of negative AI-generated content if left unchecked.
  3. Having an ethical and responsible business by design can mitigate bias, such as by diversifying data collection, and providing algorithmic transparency and fairness assessments. Audits to check or avoid these biases and unintended consequences are vital. Transparency is also key when explaining key areas of risk to customers. Mitigation can be put in place though some risks with new technologies will always remain.
  4. Implementing robust data governance practices and training for employees of the business can provide a solid groundwork to exploit the technology.
  5. There should be continuous monitoring and collaboration with all stakeholders. Also, work closely with staff and customers to monitor emerging risks and issues.
  6. Effective feedback loops with industry experts and regulators can help collectively address emerging challenges and opportunities to safely implement emerging technology.


Many emerging technologies are here to stay, and we will continue to see progression in them. Clear guidance and regulation must be in place for these technologies.

In the meantime, commercial agreements can be carefully drafted to take into account what regulatory provisions may be enacted in the future and predict insurance provisions, for example. However, it’s vital that experienced solicitors do this, in our opinion, with proper sector experience and understanding of such technologies and known risks. Having a regulated UK solicitor draft terms and conditions and commercial documents for businesses utilising AI offers several benefits. Such as they can tailor the terms and conditions to address specific risks and considerations associated with AI usage, such as data protection laws, intellectual property rights, and liability issues. Additionally, solicitors can help businesses anticipate and mitigate potential disputes or legal challenges, thereby reducing the likelihood of costly litigation in the future.

The future of AI and disruptive technology is here and racing ahead of us and business will embrace its benefits,  but businesses need to remember to watch and mitigate the risks. They must fully understand the limits with the technology and not remove some level of human oversight until the systems are ready. There is still a huge road ahead us in respect of understanding and governing the use of AI but the journey looks to be an exciting one!