Get involved: The Access to Justice Foundation
The Access to Justice Foundation supports individuals and communities excluded from accessing justice by giving grants to advice organisations to increase the availability of vital free legal advice.
These communities often experience multiple disadvantages and are in crisis requiring many kinds of support. The Access to Justice Foundation funds interventions which break these cycles and improves people’s lives.
The COVID-19 pandemic has magnified what many in the legal services sector have feared and campaigned about, for many years.
A lack of adequate investment has resulted in an extremely fragile and inconsistent level of free legal advice provision in the UK, with frontline charities forced to deal with increasing calls for immediate assistance, against a backdrop of ever shrinking resources. Advice deserts mean that people are falling through the cracks, losing their homes, health, families and livelihoods, often simply due to their being unable to access the help they need early enough. Rising energy bills and interest rates will exacerbate the situation, with many of those facing the heating or eating dilemma already pushed out of seeking paid for legal advice.
Law firms can help the Foundation provide essential funds to support front-line specialist free legal advice agencies; when reviewing client account balance ledgers and residual client balances are found which, despite your reasonable efforts, cannot be returned to a client, these can be donated to the Foundation. Donations of this kind are permitted by SRA Account Rules and clearing these balances to prevent holding balances for longer than necessary meets compliance requirements.
Importantly, an SRA approved indemnity is available from the Foundation in respect of donations, which means your donation is risk free.
Donor firms share some of the reasons they had chosen to support to the Foundation:
- You make sure that grants are distributed where needed most, and there’s a lot of need.
- You do some amazing work, hopefully more law firms will pull together & donate.
- Pooling our balances with others’ helps more people and has greater impact.
- It is simple to do, it helps with SRA compliance and is completely risk free.
- We want to live our organisation’s ethos, actions speak louder.
- Your online tools and resources make it simple and straightforward to do*.
- If the legal sector doesn’t help support people gain access to justice, who will?
These risk-free donations will help to ensure that people in your community, who are facing the most challenging of times, are given access to free specialist legal advice and guidance at the time that they need it most.
If you would like further information or to learn more about supporting the Foundation’s regional / national fundraising and grant making activities please get in touch with:
Lynne Squires, Development Director, The Access to Justice Foundation