The [Chancery Lane] Project is the code name for the focused and collaborative effort of UK lawyers to develop new contracts and model laws to help fight climate change.
Our mission is to create contracts and model laws to enable communities and businesses to fight climate change and achieve net zero carbon emissions for a 1.5 degree world.
We will achieve this through collaborative problem solving. Challenging barristers, solicitors and legal academics to invent the legal conditions to help shift to renewable energy, reduce energy usage and create new carbon sinks. These conditions will help achieve the UK Government’s 2050 net zero goal.
The principal activity of the Project will be to curate and host a legal ‘hackathon’ during national pro bono week. Striking the balance between thinking and doing, the project will deliver real output and solutions to share with the world.
Our independence from any one professional body or practice creates professional and political neutrality, allowing a new conversation to happen and a freedom to innovate.
Professional and Planet Alignment
As a profession we must show leadership and assume our important role in the fight against climate change. This is a massive challenge but we have the skills, means and opportunity to do more. The science is clear - we do not have time to postpone this challenge and we will be relentlessly positive in achieving it.
Using bright and diverse legal minds to re-imagine the contracts, laws and regulation required, our goals are:
Convene and inspire a diverse range of lawyers from across the profession to focus on climate change issues and solutions.
Co-create and publish ideas for new model laws, regulation and policy in a “Green Paper”.
Publish a “Climate Contract Playbook” of precedent clauses to help businesses fight and prepare for climate change.
Disseminate, promote and track the clauses and model law created to bring about change and ensure lasting impact.
The Origin Story
The [Chancery Lane] Project originated from London Climate Action Week 2019. A series of inspiring events and conversations emphasised the urgency required, as well as the part the legal profession could play in the fight against climate change.
There was an energy and enthusiasm to do more than talk and a recognition that a step change in velocity is required. But how could lawyers channel this and create real output? At one of the events Ocean Explorer and Conservation Advocate, Pen Hadow, suggested that the world needed a “Manhattan Project” for climate change. Not to create weapons of mass destruction but to prevent mass destruction from climate change. His analogy was that when we focus and collaborate using the best minds to solve pressing issues we can achieve amazing things.
Two weeks later the [Chancery Lane Project] was born. The Project name is, of course, a reference to the street in London historically associated with the legal profession. It is an independent collaboration of lawyers from across the sector in partnership with the Law Society, the Bar Council, Client Earth, the Legal Sustainability Alliance, the UK In House Pro Bono Group and the Commonwealth Climate & Law Initiative.