The Access for Justice Foundation was set up by the legal profession. We are the only national charity solely focused on funding and supporting access to justice. The Foundation give grants to advice agencies across the country that provide legal advice on a range of issues.
To increase funding for the advice and pro bono sectors to ensure we meet the needs of our beneficiaries, to include local and regional fundraising.
To build on the effectiveness of grant making to both local and national organisations within the sector.
To support the sector by providing leadership and encouraging collaboration.
We raise funds and distribute them strategically to those advice agencies who can make the most difference to the lives of vulnerable people.
We fund Law Centres, local citizens’ advice, independent advice agencies, pro bono projects and national charities, which help to facilitate access to justice.
To ensure help reaches those most in need we work in partnership with committees across the regions of England, in Wales and in Scotland. We also work to support the sector in other ways, consulting with sector organisations around what we can most usefully do to support them. This includes exploring new and better ways for the sector to collaborate and to increase the effectiveness of the sector, working closely with other advice funders and working closely with other partners
In 2018, the Access to Justice Foundation distributed a total of £2,080,182 in grants to support free legal help for those in need. The organisations we support work tirelessly to help the most vulnerable in society. Some examples of the work we fund are:
Over the past ten years we have made over 300 grants worth over £7m, providing advice to tens of thousands of people.
The Foundation’s most recent grants round had 100 applications, out of which we will only be able to support around 10% due to the funds that are available.
* Real names not used
A national partnership working together to improve the experience of people facing the legal process alone by improving access to information, practical support, advice and representation.
Ruth Daniel is the Chief Executive Officer at the Access to Justice Foundation. Ruth is responsible for the overall strategic direction of the charity.
Clare Carter is the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Access to Justice Foundation. Clare is responsible for ensuring the sustainability of the Foundations charitable activities.
Greg Hodder is the Head of Development at the Access to Justice Foundation. Greg is responsible for fundraising and communications.
Sasan Abtahi is the Grants Manager for the Foundation and Litigant in Person Support Strategy.
Marine Bourgeois is the Grants Manager for the Community Justice Fund.
Marine is the day-to-day point of contact between the Foundation’s grantees, potential grantees and the Foundation.
Ildephonse Nzabahimana is the Data and Learning Manager at the Access to Justice Foundation.
Peter Fruin is the Finance and Operations Manager at the Access to Justice Foundation. Peter is responsible for the Foundation’s Financial records and operations, as well as Legal & Governance matters.
A CIMA-qualified accountant, Peter has extensive experience working in both Finance and Compliance at the trading arm of the Royal Institute of British Architects.
Laura Cassidy is the Fundraising and Development Manager at the Access to Justice Foundation.
Laura is responsible for organising fundraising events such as the Legal Walks, the Great Legal Quiz and the Great Legal Bake.
Sarah Sandall is the Communications Officer at the Access to Justice Foundation.
Sarah is responsible for publicising the work of the Foundation and is the first point of contact for media enquiries.
Madeleine Lustigman is the Grants Coordinator for the Community Justice Fund.
Tasnim Sadia is a Grants Officer for the Community Justice Fund.
Georgina Maddox is a Grants Officer for the Community Justice Fund.
Larissa Fischer is a Grants Officer for the LSLIP Grants Programme and the Community Justice Fund.
Isabella Pyrgies is the Grants Administrator at the Access to Justice Foundation
Stacey Lamb is the Programme Director for the Litigant in Person Support Strategy. She is responsible for overseeing and implementing the programme of partner activities within the strategy.
Martha leads the Litigant in Person Network as Network Development Manager, focusing on supporting the access to justice sector to work together more effectively, communicate more easily and work more strategically. She initiated the innovation workstream with a focus on data, design, tools and technology. A law graduate, she has previously worked in fundraising and business development across a number of access to justice organisations and has seven years’ experience in the sector.
Alice Bettis Marsh is the Network and Development Officer. Alice is responsible for overseeing the Network and its membership and works as support within the Development team at the Access to Justice Foundation.
Lord (Peter) Goldsmith QC, PC, is the London Co-Managing Partner and Chair of European and Asian Litigation at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP. He served as the UK’s Attorney General from 2001–2007, prior to which he was in private practice as one of the leading barristers in London.
Lord Goldsmith acts for a variety of clients in arbitration and litigation around the world. As the UK Attorney General, he represented the government in numerous cases in UK and international courts. He also argued as counsel in the House of Lords two of the 15 cases regarded as the most important British cases of the last 150 years.
Lord Goldsmith has a strong history and life-long support for pro bono assistance to bring legal advice to the disadvantaged. As a young lawyer, he started a legal advice center in the East End of London and, later in his career, founded the Bar of England & Wales’ Pro Bono Unit (of which he remains President) and the Attorney General’s pro bono coordinating committees. Amongst other recognitions, he was awarded the Lifetime Award for Extraordinary Contribution to the Development of Pro Bono Culture in Europe at the 2014 PILnet European Pro Bono Forum.
Laurence is a solicitor who has practiced in the area of commercial litigation all his career.
He was one of the founder partners of the London office of the international law firm of Cooley, where he is now Vice Chair of the firm’s global litigation practice. He advises Governments, large corporates and high net worth individuals in complex commercial disputes. Prior to joining Cooley, he had been a Managing Partner of a UK firm, and then the Deputy Managing Partner of a large US law firm. He is a solicitor-advocate.
Lance Ashworth QC is a barrister specialising in Chancery and Commercial litigation from Serle Court. He was chairman of the Midlands Legal Support Trust from its inception until May 2012 and has been the Bar Council’s appointed Trustee to the Access to Justice Foundation since March 2014.
He chairs the Strategy and Development Committees, and currently sits on the Nominations Committee and the Grants Committee.
Frances has been a Trustee since 2015. Frances was a CILEx Council member from 2008-2018 and was President in 2014/2015.
She is a family lawyer and partner in the firm Caswell Jones, Caerphilly. Frances takes a great interest in access to justice in Wales and is Secretary to the Legal Wales Foundation, a member of Reaching Justice Wales committee and is the CILEx Advisor for Wales.
Toby Brown is a commercial barrister at South Square Chambers, who was involved in establishing the Foundation in 2008 and originally served as executive officer before becoming a trustee.
Toby has been involved in a number of pro bono and charitable initiatives, and currently chairs the organising committee of Pro Bono Week. He also sits on the Bar Council’s pro bono and social responsibility committee.
Nicola is a portfolio non-executive director with over 30 years of business experience. She is a qualified chartered accountant and her business experience has covered a wide variety of sectors including legal services, technology, telecommunications, retail, media, financial services, regulation, housing and charities.
In addition to her role at ATJF she is currently chair at Milton Keynes Development Partnership, chair at CHP Ltd, a board member of the Bar Standards Board, a trustee of the charity Changing Faces, a member of the Managing Partners Forum advisory board and an advisor to LegalTech firm Legl.
Jeffrey Forrest studied law at the London School of Economics and following articles in the City of London he was admitted in 1975. He has also been admitted in Ireland. For many years he had his own practice and he is now a consultant with a London firm.
He is a former president of the Westminster & Holborn Law Society and a liveryman of the City of London Solicitors Company. He is one of the founders (and a trustee of) the Colombia Caravana, supporting human rights defenders.
Dame Janet Smith practised at the bar in Manchester Chambers from 1972 until 1992 when she was appointed a judge of the High Court (Queen’s Bench Division). She was a Presiding Judge of the North Eastern Circuit from 1995 until 1998. From 2001 to 2005 she conducted the public inquiry into the activities of the serial murderer Harold Shipman. After that she took up her place in the Court of Appeal to which she had been appointed in 2002.
She was President of the Council of the Inns of Court from 2006 to 2009. She was chairman of the Security Vetting Appeals Panel from 2000 to 2009. She retired from full time sitting in the Court of Appeal in 2011 and was Treasurer of Lincoln’s Inn in 2012. She was the Independent Assessor of Compensation for Miscarriages of Justice from 2011 to 2016. In 2013 she undertook the BBC’s review into allegations of sexual abuse by Jimmy Savile. She now sits as a judge of the Court of Appeal of Gibraltar.
Board member of Advice Services Alliance. Alice is currently Senior Development and Operations Manager at Connection Support a charitable organisation with a focus on homelessness, mental health and independence.
Alice has worked at senior and Board level in the advice sector for the past 20 years with particular experience in social welfare, debt, housing and community care. Previous board member of Green Square Group and Agnes Smith Advice Centre and Board Chairman for Oxford Citizens Housing Association.
Rebecca Samaras is the Director of Pro Bono and Clinical Legal Education at the University of Edinburgh. Rebecca is responsible for the strategic development and leadership of the Edinburgh Law School’s pro bono activity.
A former litigation solicitor, Rebecca specialised in family law and the additional support needs (SEN) of underrepresented vulnerable individuals, and charities throughout her career.She sits on the Law Society of Scotland’s Access to Justice Committee and the Scotland Committee for the Access to Justice Foundation. She is also Chair of the Scottish University Law Clinic Network (SULCN) and a Trustee of the Clinical Legal Education Organisation (CLEO).
Andrew is the Director of Business Development at Citizens Advice, the national membership organisation supporting the local Citizens Advice offices in England and Wales.
With a background in social welfare advice of over 20 years, beginning as a volunteer adviser, Andrew has worked within the advice sector on a range of projects, programmes and initiatives. As Director of Business Development, Andrew works with statutory, corporate and voluntary partners and funding to develop and fund new services to individuals and communities that address the ever increasing information, education, advice and advocacy needs that the Citizens Advice Service responds to through its network of over 3000 outlets in England and Wales.
Natalia Rymaszewska is the Head of Grants at the Leathersellers’ Company, one of the ancient Livery Companies of the City of London where she manages a range of funding programmes providing charitable, educational and trade related grants. Having originally studied law at Edinburgh University, Natalia has over a decade of experience in the voluntary and funding sectors. Having previously worked at both the Bar Pro Bono Unit (now Advocate) and as Chief Executive of the London Legal Support Trust, she also holds a Masters in Voluntary Sector Management from CASS Business School, with a focus on Grant Making and Philanthropy.
Joe Snape is a solicitor and currently Legal Counsel at a leading child rights NGO (Plan International). He previously worked in corporate law and also has experience of climate change litigation in the UK and Latin America.
Joe has several years’ experience of working across a number of organisations providing access to justice to vulnerable individuals and is also a governor of Oldfield Primary School.
Sarah currently works for the United Nations as a civil society and social justice advisor, specialising in grant management, project evaluation and capacity building.
She previously worked as a litigation solicitor in London then specialised in human rights law and access to justice in low income countries. She is passionate about justice sector reform and for the past 25 years has worked as a founder, and advisor on access to justice projects in the UK, Asia and Africa.