Law for Life welcomes new Trustees
Law for Life is delighted to welcome two new Trustees, Dr Simon Davey and Michael Olatokun, to join the Law for Life Board during an exciting time for public legal education and in a challenging climate for access to justice.
Law for Life Chair, Amanda Finlay CBE says:
‘Now more than ever, people need the knowledge, skills and confidence that public legal education provides. I am delighted that we have attracted trustees with such a track record of commitment to access to justice and enthusiasm for PLE. Simon and Michael bring us a wealth of new skills and expertise across a range of disciplines from their working and trustee experience and I look forward to working with them to ensure that PLE reaches more people and supports them as they tackle life’s challenges. ‘
Dr Simon Davey is Managing Director of Omega Alpha, working across strategy, digital, data and change. He has twenty years’ experience with charities, including as the first Director of the national IT volunteering programme IT4Communities, and has worked with over fifteen access to justice organisations since early 2016 alongside targeting whole system change. Simon’s educational interest lies in the development of confidence, resilience and problem solving skills and he co-founded and led the Emerging Scholars’ Intervention Programme (ESIP) in East London.
Simon serves as an Independent Commissioner for the Data and Marketing Commission, leads digital transformation as a volunteer (and member of) the Worshipful Company of Management Consultants, is a guest lecturer at Cass Business School Centre for Charity Effectiveness and enjoys using Lego when designing strategy to help see, and show, how the pieces fit together.
Michael Olatokun is a researcher and project manager focused on exploring the connection between rights, citizenship and education. He is the Head of Public and Youth Engagement at the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law. This year he developed an online course called 'Citizenship and the Rule of Law' (https://www.coursera.org/learn/citizenship-rule-of-law), in collaboration with the University of London. He is also the Coordinator of 'The Rule of Law for Citizenship Education', a nationwide programme in which young people are taught about the rule of law and human rights. Michael is a member of the Solicitor General's PLE Committee and helped to draft the minister's vision statement in 2019.
Michael has also worked as a political organiser encouraging young people and disenfranchised groups to participate in public life. He has led voter registration projects that have successfully registered hundreds of thousands of first-time voters, working with the Cabinet Office and other partners to promote voter engagement in the run-up to the 2016 European Union Referendum. Michael helped to establish the charity ‘Product of a Postcode’ in East London and has been a trustee of three other organisations in addition to Law for Life.
About Public Legal Education
Each year around one million non-criminal legal problems, such as money difficulties, loss of job, or housing issues, go unresolved.
Only 11% of people accurately recognise their problems as legal issues. The vast majority of people tackle their legal problems alone – only 6% use a lawyer and 4% use advice agencies. A quarter (25%) of those with a legal problem seek help on the internet.
Using survey data from the Legal Services Research Centre, economists at the Ministry of Justice estimated that the problems people experienced over the three and a half years covered by the survey cost individuals and the public purse around £13 billion.
Effective public legal education would help people avoid these problems in the first place, enable them to identify legal issues and take action early before problems escalate.
In 2018-19 Law for Life’s award winning Advicenow website received 1.9 million pageviews. Advicenow’s curated information service brings together 1,600 pieces of public legal information from over 250 UK websites. Every piece is reviewed against our inclusion criteria. We also provide our own popular self-help guides and films for people facing going to court without a lawyer, appealing unfair disability benefit decisions, or dealing with family problems or housing problems. Our interactive tools that help users to challenge an unfair disability benefit decision produced 16825 individual personalised letters to be sent to the DWP.
We worked with over 30 community organisations across 5 regions in England and Wales to deliver training, education and information to organisations working to support vulnerable people, including migrants and refugees, faith groups, LGBT groups and housing support organisations. 75% of participants in our housing training programme said that as a result of the training they would be able to help private renters who have received S21 eviction notices. 90% of participants reported that that the information received would enable them to help people who are homeless or threatened with homelessness.
We developed an information guide and a short film for Roma families explaining the legal framework of child protection and delivered three community training sessions for Roma community members: in London, Rotherham and Derby.