We support all areas of legal education where this advances the following objectives:
To increase public understanding of the law and the capability to use it.
We want to support people of all ages to build broader legal knowledge and capability. Helping people to learn about when problems may have a law-related solution and about how to be confident in pursuing this or securing help to do so means that beneficial opportunities to use the law are not missed. We recognise that having the capability to use legal knowledge inevitably involves tackling how people interact with the legal system and how the system can, in turn, learn about how to be accessible, efficient and effective.
To advance high quality thinking, training and practice in legal education and legal services so as to ensure legal needs are met.
We want to support work that explores effective ways of meeting legal needs in sustainable ways and at scale. This may involve a range of areas including training for lawyers and legal service providers in areas of law where needs could be better met, as well helping to learn about developing delivery models, income streams, collaboration between legal services organisations and with others outside the legal sector, early intervention and proactive use of the law as well as the replication of approaches that are working.
To increase access to employment in the legal profession and, in particular, to advance social mobility and diversity.
We want to ensure that people are attracted to, and are able to, pursue careers in legal services at all levels, particularly to reflect the diversity of the population. We believe that it is vital to support the next generation of skilled and committed people who will ensure that the law plays the role set out in our vision.
In response to current developments and opportunities the Foundation has also identified the following areas of focus and interest where applications are encouraged:
To support civil society engagement with constitutional and rule of law principles in relation to the exercise of executive power, and Brexit.
Following the decision to leave the European Union, the UK has recently experienced and continues to undergo a number of constitutional changes, with consequences for public law and the rule of law. The Foundation is interested in receiving applications that explore the implications for the areas covered by our strategic objectives through constructive engagement by civil society with constitutional, public law, and rule of law questions. The Foundation is also interested in applications for work to address the rule of law and public law challenges relating to government use of data processing for government decisions. Read more.
To develop the role of social welfare legal advice needs in health settings through legal education with health professionals and development of models to expand the provision of services.
We want to explore methods of integrating and embedding social welfare legal services in places where people most need them and at the earliest opportunity. The Foundation is committed to exploring this further and to finding effective models that work for clinicians and social welfare specialists and, most of all, for patients.
To influence the development and operation of the online court in a manner that maximises the ability of individuals to secure just outcomes in relation to their rights and protections.
In addition to funding direct legal education activities relating to the above, the Governors recognise that the following approaches can contribute to the progress of all of the above objectives.
Research to develop a robust evidence base of needs in each of the areas above and of effective ways of meeting these needs.
We want to build robust evidence of needs and of effective legal education and legal services that meet these needs. This will include understanding more about the nature of needs amongst individuals and organisations and the environment in which these needs exist; finding existing good practice and examining how it works; rigorously examining the outcomes of our own work and capturing and sharing evidence so that it is widely acted upon.
PLEASE NOTE: In 2018 the Foundation will be undertaking a scoping exercise to assess the feasibility of a What Works Centre for Civil and Administrative Justice. As a result, we will not be accepting applications for research under our open programme.
Work to understand the role that technology can play in achieving these objectives.
We believe that information technology has an important role to play in achieving our Strategic Objectives. As such, this work operates across our entire grants programme. With funding for legal services under pressure, IT will continue to be a primary way of increasing capacity by improving both the reach and productivity of the sector. Examples of where the Foundation has assisted organisations to expand the use of IT can be seen on the IT grants page.
We encourage organisations who are making grant applications to consider how IT can be used to improve the impact of their work.
Work on law reform, policy and regulation to create a supportive environment for the delivery of these objectives.
We recognise that the legal, policy and regulatory framework can enable or inhibit the understanding and use of the law. Civil society often plays an important role providing expertise and evidence to policymakers and regulators. We are keen to support such engagement where these areas directly impact upon the objectives that the Foundation pursues.
Communications activity to disseminate learning and to create a supportive environment for the delivery of these objectives.
We believe that a vital skill for individuals and organisations committed to legal education is the ability to communicate clearly and powerfully, with key local and national audiences.
We think that communication and legal skills are complementary to each other. We encourage efforts to help people understand and use the law, not just inside the courtroom or classroom, but beyond – to the media, politicians, policymakers, and others.
Whether supporting a client to navigate through a legal process, or bringing a challenge in the Supreme Court, we believe it is important for lawyers to understand the value of being able to explain how often complex legal issues affect the lives of ordinary people.
We assist grantees to bring in communications expertise, where needed, and by providing direct assistance, via communications consultants, who have considerable experience in the legal and social justice sector.
© 2013 - 2019 The Legal Education Foundation
Registered charity 271297 (England/Wales)