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.
Dr Lisa Wintersteiger
Head of Communications and Deputy CEO
Head of legal information and pro bono
Dragica (Dada) Felja
Head of Education and Training
Office Manager / Personal Assistant to Chief Executive
Head of Housing Programmes
Research and Evaluation Officer
Trustees and patrons
- Amanda Finlay CBE, Chair
- Jon Spain, Treasurer
- Dr Vanessa Davies
- Prof Dawn Oliver
- Raymond Sheehy
- Joe Broadway
- Dr Simon Davey
- Michael Olatokun
Our Founding Patrons are:
- Professor Dame Hazel Genn DBE QC,
- The Rt Hon. Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury
- Lord Briggs of Westbourne
Amanda Finlay CBE - Chair
Amanda Finlay is a Council Member and Executive Board member of Justice. She was a member of the Justice Working Groups on Access to Justice in an Age of Austerity, and on What is a Court? and recently chaired the Justice Working Group on Preventing Digital Exclusion from Online Justice.
Amanda was a member of the Civil Justice Council (CJC) from 2009 -2012 and is a continuing member of the CJC Working Group on Litigants in Person Support Strategy and a member of the MOJ Litigants in Person Engagement Group. She is a member of the Greenwich University Law Advisory Forum . She was Vice Chair of the Low Commission, and until recently was a Trustee of LawWorks and a public governor of Oxleas NHS Mental Health Foundation Trust in South East London.
Amanda has been a Trustee of Law for Life since 2009, when she retired from the Ministry of Justice. During her career she was an advocate and supporter of Public Legal Education, and was a member of Professor Dame Hazel Genn’s PLEAS Task Force and of Lord Bach’s Public Legal Education Strategy Group.
During her long career in the Lord Chancellor’s Department, and then the Ministry of Justice, Amanda worked on many aspects of access to justice. She was the MOJ Director responsible for legal aid strategy and for legal services reform. She led work to improve the forecasting and control of legal aid, introducing more predictable fee schemes for lawyers. She built on research and client surveys to target legal aid on more vulnerable groups. She led the arrangements to set up the Legal Services Board. She worked with the legal profession, academics, social workers and client representatives to develop improved arrangements for both private law and public law children cases. She supported the case for tribunal reform set out by Sir Andrew Leggatt in his review “ Tribunals for Users” which in time resulted in the Unified Tribunal service. She worked with human rights and asylum lawyers, and with the immigration and asylum judiciary, to develop HR compliant new asylum appeals primary and secondary legislation.
Amanda led the work on the Human Rights Act in the Lord Chancellor’s Department, working with human rights lawyers to ensure that the scheme of the Act was workable in the courts and leading ten all day “walkthroughs” to test out compatibility with judges, lawyers and human rights experts in courts from the magistrates up to the Court of Appeal. She was Secretary to Lord Woolf’s Inquiry “Access to Justice”, working with the judiciary, lawyers, academics and lay people to devise improvements to the civil justice system.
Earlier in her career she was engaged in work to open up legal services to more competition, including work with the Advisory Committee on Legal Education and Conduct on rights of audience applications from solicitors and employed lawyers, and the establishment of the Legal Services Ombudsman. Amanda was secretary to the Legal Aid Advisory Committee; worked with Richard White and Cyril Glasser (founder members of the Legal Action Group) on their report on unmet need for legal services in the 1970s and was engaged in the work to set up the Crown Court and the Court Service following the Courts Act 1971.
Jon Spain -Treasurer
Jon Spain is a professional Actuary and a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, with experience in the private and public sectors, spanning 40 years. He is on the Board of his local synagogue and Treasurer of Community Voice Health, a patient/member-led community organisation monitoring NHS Trusts and CCGs. Mr Spain is about to retire from the Civil Service.
Dr Vanessa Davies
Vanessa Davies has been the Director General of the Bar Standards Board (BSB) since 2011. Prior to joining the BSB, Dr Davies was the Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Operations at Refugee and Migrant Justice (RMJ).
She started her working life as a linguist. She was the Director of the Language Centre at King's College, London and then spent nearly a decade at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, first as Director of the Diplomatic Service Language Centre and subsequently as a Group Director overseeing a range of services in support of UK foreign policy.
Dr Davies left the world of languages in 2005 and trained for the Bar. She is an unregistered barrister, and a Bencher of Inner Temple. She was a volunteer at the Personal Support Unit and a Trustee at the PSU until 2016.
Raymond Sheehy has been the Chief Executive of Bridge Mental Health in Woolwich since 2009. Previously the CEO of a learning disability and mental health charity, he is currently Lead Governor of Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust and a Panel Member on the Monitor Independent Advisory Panel.
Mr Sheehy is now working with his team on the development of new models of delivering services; social and commercial enterprises, and a range of innovative support and housing options for people who have experienced or continue to live with a mental health problem. He has established the first non NHS run Recovery College which now serves the people in Woolwich"
Joe Broadway is Director of Legal Affairs and Company Secretary at CFH Docmail Ltd. He created and ran Velopost, a fossil fuel free postal delivery service, as a separate business unit within CFH Docmail, for three years. He received the 2015 Business Insider Magazines 42 Under 42 award which "recognises some of the South West’s most dynamic and inspirational young entrepreneurs and celebrates their success in helping grow the regional economy”. He has recently become a volunteer advocate at the Free Representation Unit, is a Trustee of the CFH Total Document Management Retirement Benefit Scheme, and was a fundraiser and volunteer at READ International.
Dr Simon Davey
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-lawLink opens in a new window), 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.
Lord Briggs of Westbourne
Lord Briggs of Westbourne is a Justice of the Supreme Court. He focussed on the needs of litigants in person in the Chancery Modernisation Review which he conducted in 2013. He highlighted the importance of public legal education in his Civil Courts Structure review in 2015 and 2016 . In that report he said that the level of success of the new online court in extending access to justice would depend critically upon parallel progress being made with public legal education generally, and recognised the need for affordable legal advice on the merits of any case.
Lord Briggs was appointed as a Lord Justice of Appeal in 2013 and as a Justice of the Supreme Court in 2017.He was Deputy Head of Civil Justice from January 2016 until his appointment to the Supreme Court.
Professor Dame Hazel Genn DBE QC
Professor Dame Hazel Genn is a leading authority on civil justice whose work has had a major influence on policy-makers around the world. She is currently Dean of the Faculty of Laws, Professor of Socio-Legal Studies at University College London.
She has held full-time research posts at Oxford University Centre for Socio-Legal Studies and the Cambridge Institute of Criminology. She served on the Committee on Standards in Public Life and in 2009 was appointed to the Secretary of State's Advisory Panel on Judicial Diversity. In 2005, she was awarded the US Law and Society International Prize for distinguished scholarship and she holds Honorary Doctorates from the Universities of Keele, Edinburgh, Leicester, and Kingston.
Hazel was chair of the Public Legal Education and Support (PLEAS) task force and was chair of the Advisory Panel for research on Family Advice and Information for the Legal Services Commission.
She served for eight years as deputy chair and then chair of the Economic and Social Research Council's Research Grants Board and in 2008 she was elected Honorary Master of the Bench of Gray's Inn.
Hazel Genn is a leading authority on civil justice and has published widely in the field including Meeting Legal Needs? (1981), Understanding Civil Justice (1997) and Tribunals for Diverse Users (2006). She is author of companion volumes Paths to Justice: What People Do and Think About Going to Law (1999), and, with Alan Paterson, Paths to Justice Scotland: What Scottish People Do and Think About going to Law (2001), which report the findings of two major national surveys into public use of and attitudes to the legal system.
She was one of the team leading the Nuffield Foundation's Inquiry on Empirical Legal Research and is one of the authors of the final report Law in the Real World: Improving our Understanding of How Law Works, published in November 2006. In November/December 2008 she delivered the 2008 Hamlyn Lectures on civil justice.
The Rt Hon Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury
The Rt. Hon. Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury was appointed as Master of the Rolls in 2009 and then became President of the Supreme Court in October 2012.
He was called to the Bar in 1974 and was made a Queen’s Counsel (QC) in 1987. He became a Bencher for Lincolns Inn in 1993. His first judicial appointment was as a Recorder from 1990 until 1996 when he was appointed a High Court judge in the Chancery Division and was then the Supervisory Chancery Judge for the Midland, Wales and Chester and Western Circuits 2000 - 2004.
In January 2004 he was appointed a Lord Justice of Appeal and led an investigation for the Bar Council into widening access to the barrister profession. In 2007 he was made a Lord of Appeal in Ordinary and created a life peer as Baron Neuberger of Abbotsbury in the county of Dorset.
We are very grateful for the support and expertise of our Academic Advisory Group, which consists of five internationally-known experts in the field of legal capabilities.
The Advisory Group was established in November 2020, primarily to support the research element of the Legal Services to Litigants in Person (LSLIP) grant funded by the Ministry of Justice.
Anne Barlow, Professor of Family Law and Policy, Exeter University
Anne has a particular interest in Family Law and Policy, especially the regulation of adult relationships such as cohabitation and marriage, but has also taught and researched in the areas of comparative law, housing law and welfare law and policy. She led a 3 year interdisciplinary study funded by the ESRC on Mapping Paths to Family Justice, looking at Out-of-Court Dispute Resolution of private family law issues. This was followed by 3 phases of ESRC Impact Accelerator Awards, Creating Paths to Family Justice where she worked with a number of agencies including OnePlusOne, Relate, the Ministry of Justice, the Family Mediation Council, Resolution and CAFCASS to draw on research findings to develop online and offline mediation services and information for couples and children. She is a co-investigator in an interdisciplinary team for the Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health - a new, world-leading research centre dedicated to providing innovative approaches to enabling health and well-being across the life course.
Sharon Collard, Professor of Personal Finance & Research Director, University of Bristol
Sharon is Research Director at the University of Bristol’s Personal Finance Research Centre. Her research explores the intersections between vulnerability and personal finance. For example, the Centre has examined ways to address the Poverty Premium faced by low-income households; and delivered a programme of work on how financial services firms identify and treat consumers in vulnerable circumstances.She is also a Research Affiliate at the University of Sydney; a member of the UK Financial Services Consumer Panel, a statutory panel that represents the interests of consumers in the development of policy for the regulation of financial services; the UK Financial Inclusion Commission; the government’s Financial Inclusion Policy Forum; and is on the Council of the Pensions Policy Institute.
Grainne McKeever, Professor: School of Law, Ulster University
Gráinne is a Professor of Law and Social Justice, and Co-Director of the Ulster University Law Clinic. Her research has examined the interplay between social justice and administrative justice, focusing on participation in, and structural reform of, tribunal processes; the overlaps between the social security and criminal justice systems in a niche area of research examining social security fraud and associated social security sanctions; and comparative processes of legal decision making in administrative and public law systems and the access to justice implications that arise, particularly for litigants in person.
She is currently Chair of the Discretionary Support Review expert panel to review the Discretionary Support (DS) scheme which provides financial support to individuals in crisis situations in Northern Ireland.
Ash Patel, Programme Head: Justice, Nuffield Foundation
Ash leads a team undertaking and commissioning civil justice research to improve understanding of the accessibility of the legal system for people, particularly those who are vulnerable and those without legal representation. The team aims to explore incentives and structures for encouraging good early decision-making that could avoid disputes which may later require resolution in court, but which also enable people to take appropriate legal action where needed. This includes seeking to understand more about how research and data science could be used alongside professional judgment and legal precedent in framing and making decisions in formal justice mechanisms and the effect of digital technology used to deliver justice and dispute resolution on people’s ability to exercise their rights and solve their problems.
Pascoe Pleasence, Professor, Empirical Legal Studies, UCL
Pascoe is a leading international expert in social science research methods, access to justice and legal capability. His research is primarily focused on issues of access to justice; also extending to the methods used in this field. Following his successful stewardship of the English and Welsh Civil and Social Justice Survey, much of his recent work has continued to concern the design, development and analysis of data from 'legal needs' surveys (surveys of citizen and business experience of legal problems). He was lead author of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Open Society Justice Initiative’s (OSJI) 2019 global guidance Legal Needs Surveys and Access to Justice, and the access to justice chapter of the United Nations Praia City Group’s 2020 Handbook on Governance Statistics. These two publications were instrumental in the United Nation’s 2020 adoption of a first global Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) concerning access to civil justice (Target 16.3.3).
We have worked, and continue to work, with many people who kindly volunteer their time. Thanks to their generosity we are able to constantly improve and expand our resources and services. For a list of all the people who have volunteered with us over the years see our Thank you! pages.
For more information on volunteering with Law for Life take a look at Job and volunteering opportunities.