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Law for Life is a small charity that packs a big punch. We work to build people’s knowledge, skills and confidence to deal with the law-related issues that affect their lives.
- Education and training that equips people to use the law to better their lives and the lives of the communities they support.
- Award-winning information website, Advicenow, which brings together the best information on rights and the law, selected and quality-checked by experts, and a host of in-depth guides, films, and interactive tools produced by Law for Life, offering practical help in managing and resolving legal problems without the support of a lawyer or adviser.
- Research into legal need and how PLE works best
- Evaluation of our own and others’ PLE work so we can all learn what works and what doesn’t, and
- Policy work – to make the world a fairer, more legally capable place.
We employ eight part-time women and have nine dedicated Trustees. We work with pro bono legal volunteers to support our information review and curriculum design. Our staff and team of associates have expertise in law, community education, empowerment work and work with refugees and migrant groups. Our work has been recognised through a number of national awards including Legal Aid lawyer awards: Access to Justice Through Technology and Plain English awards.
We reach many of the most vulnerable people around the country who are facing legal problems on their own. In 2020-21, 50% of Advicenow’s survey respondents identified as disabled, 48% said that they have a household income of below £1,100 per month and 19% identified as BAME. Our targeted education projects currently focus on Roma families, vulnerable women, refugees and BME communities at risk of homelessness.
Advicenow is the go to website of the Litigant in Person Support Strategy (LIPSS) funded by the Ministry of Justice. As such we have many resources for those facing going to court or tribunal without the help of a lawyer, and we can help our users to find the advice, representation and practical support that is available from our partners in the strategy. You can find this in Advicenow's Going to court section.
Advicenow’s recently developed unique Affordable Advice Service provides a blended assistance that serves low income families by providing free legal information, low cost extended information and access to low-cost, fixed-fee family lawyers on our panel for help with just the most complex parts.
We also try to tackle systemic issues through our research and advocacy. For example, our recent high impact work with sector partners garnered evidence from hundreds of DWP claimants who had been contacted by telephone to press them to withdraw their appeal for disability benefits and accept a lower settlement. The DWP withdrew from Judicial Review proceedings at the 11th hour and agreed to cease the practice. This achieved wide media recognition in the Mirror, Independent and Guardian. See our blog for more details.
Why we need better public legal education and information
Half of the population experience a civil justice issue every 36 months.
- 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.
- People with low levels of legal capability are less likely to take action, and less able to successfully solve legal problems. They are twice as likely to experience negative consequences as a result of their legal problems, including stress-related ill-health, loss of income and family breakdown.
Our reach and impact
2019 - 2020
Our spokespeople are available for interview on a range of issues related to public legal education.
Dr Lisa Wintersteiger, Chief Executive
Lisa’s early career was in the advice and community sector including legal aid casework, youth and community development and regeneration programmes. She has also been a policy consultant and researcher in advice needs, international human rights and more recently has been leading public legal education research and programming. She specialises in access to justice interventions both in the UK and abroad. Her expertise is in bringing together theory and practice, policy development and designing programmes to meet the needs of vulnerable people. In 2011 she co-founded Law for Life. She holds a PhD in law on the intersection of Frankfurt School Critical Theory and education. She has taught at Birkbeck, University of London where she co-convened clinical education and as visiting faculty at the Central European University. Lisa talks powerfully and persuasively about the case for improved public knowledge and understanding of the law, and the impact on human rights, access to justice and community empowerment.
Mary Marvel, Deputy Chief Executive and Head of Communications
Mary specialises in translating the law into accessible and engaging materials, drawing on her experience delivering public legal education and advice on the ground in student, community and mental health projects. Mary can provide excellent real-world insight into common legal issues in areas ranging from the private rental market and benefit disputes, to divorce, and individuals representing themselves in court.
Dada Felja, Head of Education and Training
Dada has spent years working with refugees and asylum seekers, and particularly with Roma communities in the UK, providing a range of support including advice and advocacy, mentoring, education and training. Dada is well placed to discuss issues relating to minority communities and their experience of complex and multiple legal issues.
Beth Kirkland, Head of Legal Information and Pro Bono
Beth is a non-practising solicitor with over ten years’ experience of working in family law, primarily advising and representing legally aided clients. She is now responsible for researching the law, designing, writing and updating a range of legal information resources for the Advicenow website. She is well placed to discuss issues around divorce and the division of pensions, property and other assets on divorce, cohabitees’ rights, and domestic abuse.
Law for Life won the access to justice through IT prize from Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Awards
Law for Life won the Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year (LALYS) award for access to justice through IT for its Advicenow website in 2017. The LALYS are run by the Legal Aid Practitioners Group and celebrate the work of the legal profession in improving access to justice.
The Advicenow website is one of a range of services provided by Law for Life to help build people’s knowledge, confidence and skills in dealing with law-related issues. It brings together information on rights and the law, selected and quality-checked by experts, and a host of in-depth guides and tools, produced by Law for Life, offering practical help in managing and resolving legal problems without the support of a lawyer or adviser.
Mary Marvel, Head of Policy and Communications at Law for Life, says: "We are delighted to have won the award for Access to Justice through IT, particularly as the field was so strong. It has further energised us in our work of providing access to justice solutions that work for everybody."