A review copy of Blockchain and Cryptocurrency: International Legal and Regulatory Challenges (Bloomsbury Professional) lands on Obiter’s desk with a gratifying thump. At 357 pages from three expert authors, it looks a weighty and timely briefing on the legal questions raised by new encryption techniques.

And, for the first 162 pages, the title lives up to its promise. The authors follow through on the introduction’s pledge to ‘elucidate blockchain, cryptocurrency and the new thinking that these topics represent whilst always keeping in mind that it should be explained in a way that anyone, including a six-year-old, would understand’. A particularly topical chapter deals with the collision course with the ‘right to be forgotten’ in European law.  

From page 163, however, the standard of writing falls off. In fact, the next 123 pages are devoted to an appendix reproducing in full the text of the European General Data Protection Regulation. The subsequent 97 pages reprint the final report of the UK government’s Cryptoassets Taskforce. Worthy documents both, but they are easily findable on the web. Allocating more than half of a £95 textbook to them looks suspiciously like padding.

Do the authors have shares in Ikea? Or is padding out on this scale the norm in legal publishing these days? Please send examples to obiter@lawsociety.org.uk.