For a society where everyone has access to justice.

About The Access To Justice Foundation

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.

Our Objectives

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

Key Facts

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:

  • Keeping family breadwinners in employment through challenging unlawful discrimination
  • Preventing young families from being made homeless
  • Supporting disabled people to avoid poverty by achieving a basic level of income
  • Helping victims of sexual violence and torture to rebuild their lives

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.

2/3 of the UK population don’t know how to get legal advice
14 Million people live in poverty and can’t afford access to justice
The legal aid budget, in real terms, is £950m less that it was in 2010
1/2 of all legal advice services in the UK have closed
There are huge housing advice deserts across the UK. Analysis shows up to a million people live in areas with no legal aid provision for housing, with a further 15 million in areas with one provider.

"We were immensely grateful to receive a grant from the Foundation. It helped us keep vital services open. We were able to develop more sustainable sources of funding, and we're now looking at expanding our services. "

Tower Hamlets Law Centre

People We Have Helped

Amira* was let go by her employer at a difficult time in her life. “I underwent surgery and was then unable to do the full range of tasks required of me at work. My employment was terminated on grounds of capability. Southwark Law Centre gave me clear advice, dealt with my employer’s lawyers on my behalf and represented me in person. They helped me obtain a settlement. I would not have been able to do it without them and I am extremely grateful to the Access to Justice Foundation for funding my representation.

Sally* suffered from sexual harassment at the hands of a colleague. Despite filing a complaint, her employer refused to take action against the perpetrator, leading Sally to resign from her post rather than work with her harasser. Feeling powerless, she contacted her local Law Centre, who assisted her in preparing the documentation and represented her in court, where she was awarded compensation. Sally would have not taken her employer to court without free legal representation from the centre, and would have thus never seen the injustice she suffered being redressed.

Tariq*, an asylum seeker from Afghanistan, and his family had been threatened with eviction from the hostel they were staying in by the Home Office. A local immigration charity averted this fate, by lodging an appeal on the family’s behalf and ensuring they were represented in the tribunal. Without the advocacy and representation provided, this family would now be street homeless. Tariq wrote to his advisor: “Without you, they would not listen. Thank you for your help. I do not know what will happen to us tomorrow, but – just because of you – they have listened today.”

Sarah* is a single mum with a disabled 8-year-old son who has a rare form of Muscular Dystrophy and needs support. When her application for PIP was rejected, she had nowhere to turn “I felt I’d come to the end of the road. We were lucky to find out about North Bristol Advice Centre. We were there 15 minutes and got the maximum award from zero. I really feel sorry for people who haven’t got access to support.”

* Real names not used

Some Projects We Funded In 2018

  • Schools’ Rules developing an online toolkit to be used by law clinics and law centres, providing them with documents, guides, tutorials and resources to enable their frontline staff to deliver high-quality and comprehensive advice on school exclusion.
  • ATLEU Identification Project for Victims of Trafficking: working with victims of trafficking, the project assists them in engaging with the reconsideration process in challenging a negative National Referral Mechanism decision. Being correctly identified as a victim of trafficking is of vital importance to vulnerable individuals, as it allows them to access necessities to rebuild their life, such as accommodation and support, protecting them from re-trafficking.
  • Central England Law Centre to expand its legal advice service in Birmingham following the closure of Birmingham Law Centre.
  • Citizens Advice North & West Kent to expand housing advice services to help match the increasing dem
  • Citizens Advice Pembrokeshire to continue providing advice and support in benefits appeals, with a focus on clients with mental health issues and learning disabilities.

Our Local Trusts

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.

Staff Profiles

Ruth Daniel

CEO

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

Deputy CEO

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

Head of Development

Greg Hodder is the Head of Development at the Access to Justice Foundation. Greg is responsible for fundraising and communications. 

Laura Cassidy

Development and Fundraising Manager

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.

Rebecca Wilkie

Litigant in Person Support Strategy

Rebecca Wilkie 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.

Sasan Abtahi

Grants Manager

Sasan Abtahi is the Grants Manager for the Foundation and Litigant in Person Support Strategy.

Martha de la Roche

Litigant in Person Network Manager

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

Network and Development Officer

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.

Trustees

Lord Goldsmith PC, QC,

Chairman of the Board (former HM Attorney General)

Lance Ashworth QC

(appointed by the Bar Council, former Chairman of the Midland Legal Support Trust)

Toby Brown

(appointed by the Board, former Officer of the Foundation)

Frances Edwards

(appointed by law firms, former President of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives)

Frances Edwards Nicola Sawford

(appointed by the Board, Treasurer)

Jeffrey Forrest

(appointed by the Law Society, Law Society Council Member)

Steve Johnson

(appointed by the Advice Services Alliance, former Chairman of the Advice Services Alliance; CEO of Advice UK)

Dame Janet Smith DBE

appointed by the Lord Chief Justice, High Court Judge)

Alice Bettis Marsh