Seven national charities have been awarded funding to increase access to free legal advice and representation.
The Access to Justice Foundation www.atjf.org.uk has awarded grants to Law For Life, Just For Kids Law, LawWorks, Personal Support Unit, INQUEST and Centre for Women’s Justice for projects achieving the following goals:-
- Assisting or reducing the increased number of litigants in person either nationally or in a particular region
- Helping the pro bono and advice sectors operate more efficiently or strategically on a national or regional basis. For example, through consolidation, collaboration or use of technology.
- Facilitating access to pro bono resources for those most in need, either nationally or regionally.
Centre for Women’s Justice
The grant will help to develop and expand the Centre for Women’s Justice legal reference panel; a pool of skilled lawyers and paralegals who have a good understanding of violence against women and girls within the context of the criminal justice system. This will increase access to justice for women subject to male violence, upskill lawyers in issues around violence against women and girls and will help identify and monitor systemic failures in the system.
INQUEST INQUEST is the only charity in England and Wales providing expertise on contentious deaths and their investigation to bereaved people, lawyers, other advice and support agencies, media, parliamentarians and the general public. The grant will help them develop a new database system to help them manage their ever increasing caseload.
Just for Kids Law
Received funding for Schools’ Rules, a project which aims to reduce the advice desert that currently exists for young people and their families who are facing or have experienced exclusion from school. The grant will be used to develop an online toolkit to be used by law clinics and law centres. The toolkit will be supported by JfKL staff providing “second tier support” to troubleshoot any problems or questions, maintain and update the toolkit, and provide training.
Law For Life
This project will better support people dealing with a tax credit overpayment. Claimants struggle to understand how the overpayment occurred and to take effective action, ending up in unnecessary debt and hardship. The project will build three connected tools to help them to;
1) request a mandatory reconsideration,
2) dispute the overpayment, and
3.) complain about the overpayment and the lack of information/response they have received
This grant will help replicate the USA’s successful “Free Legal Answers” Pro Bono project. This will allow individuals on low incomes to request initial legal advice (on civil law matters) online. Pro bono advice will be provided by a registered panel of lawyers, with the facility to correspond and request further information. This has the potential to increase access to justice for people who could not otherwise afford it.
- The Access to Justice Foundation (ATJF is the result of collaboration between the Bar Council, the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives, the Law Society and the voluntary sector (represented by the Advice Services Alliance), supported by the Judiciary, the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney General’s Office.
- Our aim is to improve access to justice for the most vulnerable in society. We do this by raising funds and distributing them to organisations that support those who need legal help but cannot afford it. Receiving legal help makes an enormous difference to people’s lives, helping to reduce debt, poverty and suffering.
- In conjunction with the Law Works Awards 2018, the ATJF presents an award for ‘Outstanding contribution to Access to Justice’. The LawWorks Annual Pro Bono Awards event is on 3th December 2018. The awards event will be hosted by Clive Coleman, the BBC’s Legal Correspondent. The Rt Hon David Lammy MP will be presenting the awards and giving the annual LawWorks Lecture. To attend the event or for more information, please contact Peter at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- For more information about the Access to Justice Foundation, see its website at http://www.atjf.org.uk/.