Council lawyers from the South London Legal Partnership (SLLP) who proposed paperless courtrooms in a revolutionary scheme have been short-listed for four local government awards this week, on top of three other recent national awards nominations.
Digital Courtrooms could lead to savings of more than £1million for the justice system in London alone if huge bundles of legal documents often delivered to court on the back of a courier’s motorbike are made available online instead.
The idea was put forward by the SLLP, made up of Merton, Sutton, Richmond and Kingston councils.
The team has been short-listed for four categories in the Local Government Chronicle Awards: Efficiency, Innovation, Driving Efficiency Through Technology and Business Transformation.
The shortlist was announced on Wednesday 2 November.
The team with its private sector partners Projectfusion and Zylpha are awaiting the results of three other industry awards nominations this month – UK IT Industry Award in the UK Innovation and Entrepreneurship category, the Family Law Awards as Local Authority Team of the Year and in the Innovative Lawyer/Innovation Team of the Year category of the Local Government Legal Awards.
Digital Courtrooms are already in operation in three of London’s Family Courts with the boroughs of Croydon, Lambeth, Southwark and Wandsworth subscribing to the service, and the team is in talks with other boroughs to roll it out across London and also regionally.
Merton Council leader, Councillor Stephen Alambritis said: “Being short-listed in four categories in the Local Government Chronicle Awards shows we are leading the way with our combined legal expertise in south London and beyond. This partnership and the way it delivers services to the residents of south London is really innovative and I’m delighted that it has been short-listed for these awards.”
Lord True, Leader of Richmond Council, said: “Yet again our Legal Partnership has been recognised for leading the way in local government. We know that partnership is the way forward for all councils. The success of the South London Legal Partnership has already proved that joining forces with other boroughs can make a positive difference in providing a quality in-house legal service while making significant financial savings. These award nominations just highlight that by working together we can be more efficient and innovative, transforming our businesses for the better.”
Councillor Simon Wales, deputy leader of Sutton Council and lead member for resources, said: “Sutton is at the forefront of sharing services with other south London boroughs in order to pool resources to provide high-quality resilient services and save money in the process.
“We are immensely proud of the hard work and expertise of the South London Legal Partnership team. The team has already been short-listed for three national legal awards and we hope they will be successful in winning these further four awards.”
Kingston Council leader, Councillor Kevin Davis said: “We strive to be best in class. The legal partnership is a great example of effective collaboration, and paperless courtrooms are an efficient use of technology. Kingston Council is committed to transforming services and trying new things that will help us to be more sustainable in the future”
The LGC Awards winners will be announced at an event in London on March 8 2017.