Access to justice and defending democracy

Supporting and defending democracy is essential for any society that values freedom, equality, and justice. To support and defend democracy, it is important to uphold the principles of democratic governance, including the protection of human rights, the rule of law, and the separation of powers. This means working to ensure that all people have access to information, the right to protest, and the ability to participate in public life without fear of retribution or discrimination. Law for Life is working towards these goals by promoting access to information, the right to protest, and public participation. By defending democracy, we can create a more inclusive and equitable society for all.

Ensuring access to justice is crucial in upholding the principles of democratic governance. Without access to justice, people may not be able to effectively defend their rights, challenge abuses of power, or seek redress for grievances. Law for Life's efforts to promote access to information is an integral component of a larger effort to ensure that all individuals have access to justice.

Understanding local legal needs and supporting early intervention through PLE

The Experiences of Legal Need and Barriers to Access to Justice for Marginalised Groups study focuses on the experiences of legal need and the barriers to accessing justice faced by marginalised groups. The findings suggest a need to explore systemic solutions to reduce barriers, alongside public legal education and early access to legal advice. The role of trusted intermediaries is key, but more research is needed to understand their capacity and willingness to play this role effectively.

The next phase of the project involves qualitative interviews with people who have struggled with a law-related issue to explore these issues in more depth. This will be followed by a public legal education project developed with the intermediaries to tackle the issues identified in the study. The project will contribute to a greater understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on legal needs and the intersection between legal and digital capability. It will also create a research-informed model to support frontline legal services to develop effective PLE strategies with community groups to help them reach more people.

Interviews with the organisations, as well as background data collection and a local stakeholder workshop, have provided such valuable insight into the experiences of marginalised groups that the researchers have published a briefing on the emerging findings.

We started this research in April 2022 and expect to publish the report in Summer 2023.

We are grateful to our research and project partners at the University of Warwick and Central England Law Centre.

Thanks to the Nuffield Foundation for funding this research.

Defending rights, defending communities

Law for Life is working to protect and defend access to justice and democratic accountability. We are bringing together a coalition of groups to support the right to protest and the rights of nomadic communities threatened by the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 and Public Order Bill. We are also instigating media campaigns and strategic litigation to challenge unlawful Government practices impacting disability entitlements, tackling rogue landlords, and homelessness vulnerability assessments with housing groups and collectives. This project is funded by Necessity and will help protect civil and social rights and entitlements in welfare, housing, protection from discrimination, and the right to protest.

We have created a resource and support hub for those participating in protests in response to the new Policing Act. We are working on challenging these laws and upholding the right to peaceful assembly.

We are currently developing a national campaign to provide clear and accessible information about protestors' rights during protests.

Feasibility study for a public legal education strategy on employment law help

This project derived from the emerging evidence of the need to raise people’s awareness of how legal information and assistance can help with the employment problems that so many experienced as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and existing evidence of how employment problems can cluster with debt, benefit, family and health problems.

We are very grateful to Bar Standards Board for funding this work.