The Litigant in Person Support Strategy (LIPSS) is a national partnership of organisations working together to improve the experience of people facing the legal process alone.
There are six Partners: Access to Justice Foundation, Advocate, Law for Life, LawWorks, RCJ Advice, and Support Through Court (formerly PSU).
Through varied expertise and delivery models, the Partners work to ensure that those in need can access the right type of support, at the right time and that litigants in person have routes to free or affordable legal advice.
The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) has funded LIPSS through the independent Access to Justice Foundation since the strategy’s creation in 2014-15. It receives £1.45 million per year.
About the Legal Support for Litigants in Person (LSLIP) Grant
In February 2019, as part of its Legal Support Action Plan, the MOJ announced it would increase its total funding for services supporting litigants in person to £3 million a year for the next two years, from 2020 to 2022.
This new funding is being delivered through the creation of the Legal Support for Litigants in Person (LSLIP) Grant of £1.55 million per year. The grant will be managed and administered by the Access to Justice Foundation (ATJF).
The new grant will fund services separate to those already funded by LIPSS and support the MOJ’s Legal Support Action Plan by making direct, specific awards to a range of projects delivering services in different ways. However, the new grant will take account of existing LIPSS initiatives to ensure the two align and complement each other.
In providing those direct awards, the new LSLIP grant aims to:
- Enhance services that support the earliest possible interventions for litigants in person, reducing the risk of their problems escalating.
- Develop understanding of the stages a litigant in person moves through to ensure that services can be designed around the people who need to use them.
- Build on the evidence base of what works and what doesn’t, by evaluating the effectiveness of the support delivered by the new grant to litigants in person.
The majority of the funding (80%) is for organisations who are not currently LIPSS partners and focuses on three different models of service delivery across a litigant in person’s journey through the legal process.
- Community navigation
Engage people who may have a legal remedy to their problem/s but are unaware of this. Resolve the causes of their financial hardship at the earliest opportunity through skilled triage or generalist advice to diagnose the problems, followed by assistance to prevent the need for court action.
- Specialist casework
Provide specialist casework to the most vulnerable people who approach advice agencies about possible action, uncovering all their legal needs to resolve problem-clusters before court.
- At court
Provide legal advice and representation ‘on the day’ via in-court schemes operated or supervised by qualified solicitors.
Applications for this main component of LSLIP funding will be by invitation only. ATJF will use its extensive experience of providing grant aid for the legal advice voluntary sector over the past decade to select organisations deemed to have the capacity and potential to deliver the specified services in geographical priority areas. We have also been consulting other funders and the advice networks to ensure that the most effective deployment of the resources made available through LSLIP is achieved.
The remaining 20% of LSLIP funding has been made available in a grants round open to the four existing LIPSS delivery partners for national scale projects such as delivering advice or information through technology.