Access to Justice Foundation

Our mission is to improve people’s lives by increasing the availability of quality legal advice and support. We raise funds and distribute those funds in grants across the UK to:

  • Keep family breadwinners in employment through challenging unlawful discrimination. 
  • Prevent young families from being made homeless. 
  • Support disabled people to avoid poverty by achieving a basic level of income. 
  • Help victims of sexual violence and torture to rebuild their lives.

We fund Law Centres, local Citizens Advice, independent advice agencies, pro bono projects and national legal charities, all of which help to facilitate access to justice.

Our objectives are as follows - 

1. Increasing available funds 

The Foundation was initially to receive income from pro bono costs orders pursuant to s.194 Legal Services Act 2007. Pro Bono Costs are just like ordinary legal costs but are available where a party received free of charge legal representation. 

In addition, we receive donations from law firms’ residual client balances, as well as donations from firms, chambers, and the wider legal community. We also raise funds through events, most notably our Legal Walks, which take place throughout the UK to raise awareness of the advice sector.

As well as our work with the legal community, we work closely with other trusts and foundations and public sector funders, including central government, to increase resource for access to justice. 

2. Effective grant making

In 2022, we awarded 266 grants totalling £6.7 million to organisations offering free legal advice across the UK. These grantees include both national charities and local advice providers. The recipients of these grants ranged from organisations specialising in securing housing for those at risk of homelessness, to agencies who support refugees through immigration law processes. Our grantees span the entirety of the United Kingdom.

“I feel very strongly that people in my situation, who cannot afford solicitors, should have the same access to advice and support. I have felt very vulnerable and were it not for the service provided to me I would not have been able to pursue my claim…I truly believe that without their support, guidance and advice I would have given up.”

“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.”

3. Making the case

We champion the use of the law as a tool for social justice, making the case to funders and decision makers as to how and why investment in advice can help them achieve their aims. Much of our work in this area focuses on sharing best practice and celebrating what is being achieved at the frontline, through our network.