On 18 January, Elaine Quinn, a UK-based lawyer that recently founded a new online magazine called 'The Conscious Lawyer', hosted a PISLAP call to speak about several different exciting legal initiatives happening in the UK that were featured in the magazine this year.
These initiatives are coming from the academy, from law practice and from social entrepreneurs but the obvious common thread, which the magazine wants to highlight, is that they are about transitioning to a legal system that is in service to a more beautiful world and have therefore much in common with PISLAP's vision and aims.
Within the legal academy in the UK, Dr Emma Jones of the Open University in London, is carrying out much-needed work on law student wellbeing and the emotional competence of solicitors, as well as looking to establish the UK's first Centre for Therapeutic Jurisprudence. There has been exciting work, discussion and a conference in late 2016, on law's engagement with the sensorial (questioning the way law often acts as an anaesthetic "numbing the senses into common sense") from Professor Andreas Philippopoulos-Mihalopoulos of Westminster University in London with several academics and practitioners in attendance to discuss a diverse range of topics on the subject. Dr Lucy Finchett Maddock of Sussex University in Brighton has developed an Art/Law Network where artists, activists, lawyers, practitioners and other agitators can share their work and ideas; create art projects on law and law projects on art. At an event last July, members of the Network gathered for an event around the idea and technique of 'cutting up the law' where legislation was cut up and reordered to highlight how law can be changed and the role of art and protest in doing this.
Within law practice, an exciting development took place in November last year with a first Legal Changemakers café in London led by Patrick Andrews of New Forest Advisory and Rhiannon Thomas of Milkwood Law (with another scheduled to take place on 19 February next). A group of about ten lawyers with diverse legal backgrounds from around London and beyond attended the cafe to talk about finding new ways to practise law that better serves themselves, their clients and the social good. US-based lawyer, and PISLAP member, J.Kim Wright is one of the founders of the initiative and it is hoped that it will become an international platform to unite lawyers who are bringing about positive change to the legal system.
Finally, Elaine was joined on the call by Mothiur Rahman of New Economy Law whose work has included the development of a community charters movement and the establishment of a new legal cooperative called New Economy Law helping clients that are passionate about bringing in an economy for a regenerative and ecological world.
This is only some of the evidence of a growing movement within the UK towards a more conscious, human-centred and holistic approach to law which we hope is going to continue to grow stronger.