We’re delighted to announce the appointment of Dame Maura McGowan DBE as its new Chair.

Maura brings a wealth of legal expertise and a deep commitment to promoting equal access to justice for all. She is a fierce public advocate of the promotion of inclusion and equality.

Maura was appointed as the Lord Chief Justice’s nominee to the Access to Justice Foundation trustee board in 2021 and will replace current Chair Laurence Harris, Partner at Cooley, when his term comes to an end in September.

Maura’s appointment comes at an important time for both the Access to Justice Foundation and the free legal advice sector.

“I am honoured to take on the role of Chair at the Access to Justice Foundation.” Maura stated when commenting on her appointment “We are all hugely indebted to the marvellous progress that the Foundation has made under Laurence’ leadership. The basic right to justice should never be denied by lack of finance.

The rule of law is a fundamental principle; it is essential to a healthy, functioning democratic society. Having a strong and fair justice system is vital. Good laws alone do not bring a fair system if many in society are denied the ability to protect and enforce their legal rights.”

At the Access to Justice Foundation’s recent AGM, Laurence stated “I am immensely proud of what we have achieved and the real difference that we make to so many” going on to highlight the impact of the 266 grants totalling £6.7m the Access to Justice Foundation made in 2022 to support free legal advice provision across the UK.

These grants supported advice in a wide range of areas of the law, including protecting children and keeping them safe, securing housing for those at risk of homelessness, collaborating to address inequalities which impact health, challenging racism, and discrimination, supporting those experiencing financial hardship, providing advice and practical support to refugees, and promoting independence, inclusion, and choice for disabled people.

“I am deeply committed to working towards a society where everybody has equal access to legal representation and a fair chance at receiving justice.” Maura affirmed “I look forward to continuing to work with the Access to Justice Foundation and its partners to make a real difference in the lives of those who need it most.”