‘Green’ protocols can cut cost of arbitration for businesses

Out-Law News | 09 Aug 2021 | 10:26 am | 1 min. read

The adoption of new ‘green’ arbitration protocols will lower the cost of arbitration for businesses as well as deliver environmental benefits, an expert has said.

Pamela McDonald of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law, was commenting after Pinsent Masons announced that it had signed the green pledge developed by the Campaign for Green Arbitrations and committed to adopting a series of protocols designed to drive environmentally-conscious behaviour by arbitration practitioners.

The move forms part of Pinsent Masons’ broader aims of achieving ‘net zero’ emissions in its practice by 2050.

“The adoption of these protocols in our arbitration proceedings will encourage behaviours which will not only introduce cost-savings for our clients but will contribute towards the firm’s net zero ambition,” said McDonald.

“The adoption of the protocols means our arbitration practitioners are encouraged to work with electronic bundles rather than paper documents at hearings, collaborate electronically and use videoconferencing rather than meet face-to-face wherever it is practical and feasible to do so,” she said. “One particularly significant move is towards virtual hearings by default, where it is practically feasible and appropriate. The protocols promote that pre-hearing conferences, procedural or substantive hearings be conducted remotely, in whole or in part, via audio or videoconference. These adjustments not only improve the carbon footprint of our cases, but also generate cost and time savings for our client.”

The protocols adopted by Pinsent Masons include the green protocol for law firms, chambers and legal service providers, the green protocol for arbitral proceedings, and the model green procedural order. The protocols were developed by the Campaign for Greener Arbitrations, which was established in 2019 by founder Lucy Greenwood who developed the green pledge to minimise the impact of her arbitration practice on the environment.