Back in October 2021, our Dispute Resolution team signed the ‘Greener Litigation Pledge’. The Pledge seeks to reduce the carbon footprint of court disputes, with signatories taking active steps to minimise greenhouse gas emissions. Lewis Silkin now joins a number of other leading law firms, barristers’ chambers and other disputes professionals by committing to support changes to rules, procedures and practices to reduce the environmental impact of litigation.
Greener Litigation is now starting work on its first projects aiming to look at the following key areas for around the next 18 months:
- Engaging with the courts to review and change civil procedure rules and the court guides;
- Investigating how technology can be used to support the objectives of the Pledge, recognising that use of technology has an environmental impact; and
- Establishing jurisdiction-specific Greener Litigation Pledges in other countries.
We are delighted to announce that we have been appointed to the working groups for the first two of these areas.
Engaging with the courts to review and change civil procedure rules and the court guides
The courts are increasingly engaging with ideas around the Greener Litigation Pledge following presentations to court user groups. The newly formed CPR and Court Engagement group, which has now met, will focus on possible changes to the CPR rules/procedure from the pre-action stage to the CMC (case management conference), which may include suggested wordings to encourage sustainable behaviours both at the pre-action stage and when proceedings are underway. The group is aiming to be a catalyst for the change to court procedure and the CPR rules and engage with court users from the judiciary, lawyers and their clients.
The use of technology in litigation undoubtedly accelerated during the pandemic. Members of the senior judiciary, including the Master of the Rolls, Sir Geoffrey Vos, are keen to press forward with the continued adoption and promotion of technology to produce efficiencies and costs savings within ligation (see the related article “Dispute Resolution in 2040”). Greener Litigation want to ensure that the environmental benefits of the expanded use of technology within litigation are at the forefront of considerations as well.
The aims of the technology working group are broadly (i) to engage with technology providers and the courts to understand their current provision and to encourage a greener approach; and (ii) to encourage pledge members to understand their own technology provision and to see if it can be made greener.
How to get involved
If you have any ideas on any of the issues above, or would be interested in receiving regular updates on what’s happening in the working groups, please contact us – Paula Barry, Managing Practice Development Lawyer (regarding changes to the CPR rules and court guides) and Fraser McKeating, Managing Associate (regarding technology and greener litigation).
If you would like to sign the Greener Litigation Pledge, have a question or would be interested in participating in future Greener Litigation initiatives, you can get in touch with Greener Litigation here.
The Greener Litigation Project is for solicitors’ firms, barristers’ chambers and other dispute professionals actively committed to reducing the environmental impact of dispute resolution, including litigation conducted in the courts of England and Wales. The Greener Litigation Project aims to engage with practice, procedure and policy to reduce the environmental impact of litigation and to further the objectives of the Greener Litigation Pledge.