How your firm can give access to justice to those most in need
Imagine for a moment if you were at risk of losing your job for being disabled, if a loved one was threatened with deportation, or if you had to choose between feeding your children or keeping them warm. Any of these is a deeply upsetting prospect, and thousands of people across the UK could face one or more of them, amongst other problems, all exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and rising living costs.
Access to free legal advice, however, is at the heart of any meaningful solution; it can and has saved people nationwide from losing their homes, lives, livelihoods, and wellbeing, while protecting them from discrimination, domestic violence, and poverty.
Helen* for example, had significant mental health problems that meant she could not work and rarely left her home. She had lodged a PIP appeal but was left with a lower allowance than she’d had before. Helen went to her local legal advice charity for help with what to do next. Helen’s advisor noticed that her needs were more complex than first thought, and supported her to challenge the decision, arguing that Helen was entitled to an even higher allowance than she had before. The DWP reversed the decision and awarded her the enhanced rate of both daily living and mobility until May 2025. This all happened within 28 days of the appeal being lodged. Helen was paid a backdated payment of over £1,662 and had her weekly income increased by over £68. Helen said, "I would never have lodged the appeal without this advice and support as I would have been too anxious."
Your law firm could help improve the lives of thousands of people like Helen by supporting the Access to Justice Foundation. The Access to Justice Foundation is the UK’s only national charity solely focused on making and strategically distributing grant funding to the free legal advice charities most in need.
The Foundation has one simple request of your firm, if unclaimed residual client balances are found when reviewing client account balance ledgers, please choose to donate them to the Access to Justice Foundation.
These donations fall within SRA Account Rules and clearing balances to avoid holding them for longer than necessary meets compliance requirements. An indemnity approved by the SRA is available in respect of donations, which cuts out any risks to your firm. The Foundation will put the funds to active use and, if a client is traced later on, the indemnified donations can be returned to your firm.