United Kingdom.

Working on law reform activities. 

The Chancery Lane Project (TCLP) is a collaborative pro bono initiative that mobilises the legal profession to rewrite contracts to tackle the climate crisis. 

Born out of conversations during London Climate Action Week 2019, the founders recognised that the legal profession is in a unique position to address the climate crisis as lawyers write the contracts which influence decisions made by individuals and businesses. 

In less than two years, more than 700 solicitors, barristers and academics from over 163 firms and organisations, including MinterEllison, Slaughter & May, Hogan Lovells, Norton Rose Fulbright, Clyde & Co and Airbnb, have set aside their professional rivalries to collaborate on the project. 

Following a successful year of virtual hackathons, TCLP published their Net Zero Toolkit, with 100+ precedent clauses for lawyers and businesses wishing to drive climate action in their everyday contracts, as well as tools to help lawyers understand net zero concepts and draft with them in mind. Each of the precedent clauses has been given a child’s name to connect to the next generation for whom the changes are so important. 

Lawyers were introduced to the Toolkit in a series of interactive and collaborative workshops, in line with the focus areas of COP26, analysing the climate impact and commercial practicality of our clauses and strategising methods of implementation.

Drafting is just one part of the project, with lawyers then amplifying the clauses with their clients and across their networks. Since being launched, the publications have been downloaded over 63,000 times by users in over 70 countries. The clauses have been embedded in precedents of global law firms and multinational companies and incorporated into university law courses. 

Ellie Mulholland, Director of the not-for-profit Commonwealth Climate and Law Initiative, Senior Associate at MinterEllison and member of TCLP steering group said, “I think there are a lot of commercial lawyers who want to do something about the climate crisis, but don’t know where to start. The Chancery Lane Project creates a safe space to innovate. There is magic in the room at our hackathons – a real sense that together we can use our expertise to reshape the legal landscape so that every contract leads to tangible progress towards a net zero emissions economy.”

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