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Shergroup has been working on its green credentials for the last 20+ years. Our CEO, Claire Sandbrook, is herself a big recycler and she has implemented all sorts of green initiatives in her tenure as leading the company to neutralise its carbon footprint. She even picked up on a recent report from her favourite government department – the Ministry of Justice – following its comments in 2019 that it saved “enough paper to cover Central Park” (we think that’s the New York one, and not the one in East Ham, London), not once, but twice. See


The MoJ is looking to raise its own green credentials by saying that its Digital Case System has saved the same amount of paper as the coverage of Central Park or 40 double decker buses. The Digital Case System saved enough paper to reach a height of 33,500 feet when stacked, surpassing Mt. Everest by nearly 5,000 feet. Placed next to one another, the paper trail would stretch from Land’s End to John O’Groats and back again 10 times.


Apparently, the system sends a report every night to some nerdy person in the MoJ confirming the sheets of paper it has saved. The system has achieved the milestone of saving 100 million sheets of paper.


On one level, it pleases us that a Government department shows such a keen interest in its achievements of saving paper. But really, we would prefer to see the Minister and policy officials beating their chests on saving the time and effort of litigants involved in the enforcement process. Shergroup showcases our heritage and emphasizes intriguing facts about the paper that we can still save.


· 100,000 Writs of Control were issued in England and Wales in the last full year· That’s 100,000 N293A’s to transfer the county court judgment to the High Court – this is still not an electronic process and the form is two sided, so it could be much more paper than 100,000 sheets

· In the Court system, we have to issue and seal the 100,000 Writs themselves.

· So now we have 200,000 pieces of paper and that’s not counting duplicate applications, extra pages, and letters to and from Court


Conservatively speaking, the transfer-up process alone has consumed a quarter of a million sheets of paper, despite its potential for digitization since the inception of the Money Claim Online system 20 years ago. Our CEO was battling for that then, and she is still battling for that now. Why is enforcement still knee-deep in paper in 2020, more than 20 years after the introduction of the CPR into the courts of England and Wales? Frankly the lack of political will to improve the lot of those using the enforcement system is staggering.


Apparently, it now takes on average 10 minutes to issue a money claim – which is down from 15 days using the “old, paper-based service”. Digitizing the system could cut the time required to transfer a judgment from the county court to the High Court by half. Just 5 minutes would do the trick – and it could be an additional process of the Money Claims Online system. Claire Sandbrook asked for this 20 years ago – and she is still asking for it now. So where is it?

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Last updated | 19 July 2023

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