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More support for those representing themselves in court

Date:20 AUG 2020
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In a joint initiative with the Access to Justice Foundation, funding will be provided to not for profit organisations across the country to provide free legal support - ensuring better advice and clear guidance for those without legal representation in court. Crucially, alongside helping litigants in person to understand legal processes and their rights within them, they will also be provided with practical support throughout the duration of proceedings.

This is a key milestone in the MOJ’s Legal Support Action Plan, which is helping people resolve legal problems at the earliest opportunity.

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MOJ has already awarded over £500,000 to national charities through this grant, delivering:

  • an improved helpline that provides practical and emotional support to clients throughout the court process
  • web-based legal advice that enables people on low incomes to access free legal advice sooner
  • an online hub that offers a greater range of solutions to legal problems, including advice for remote hearings

Around £270,000 of the grant has been diverted for emergency support to several organisations providing vital expert advice to litigants in person, ensuring they can continue to offer their services during the coronavirus pandemic.

Justice Minister, Alex Chalk said: "This money will improve legal support for those representing themselves – helping them to navigate the justice system. I am delighted to deliver this with our partners at the Access to Justice Foundation, and look forward to building similar partnerships to ensure people across the country have the necessary support."

Lord Goldsmith QC, Chair of the Access to Justice Foundation, said: "The Foundation is pleased to be working in partnership with the MOJ to deliver this new funding that will further improve the experience of vulnerable people facing the legal process alone. The new services covered by the national funding stream will help to ensure that litigants in person have routes to free or affordable legal advice and that people in need are able to access the right type of support, at the right time. We look forward to continuing our work with the MOJ to distribute additional grants to support a wide range of projects at a local and regional level later this year."

Martin Barnes, Chief Executive of LawWorks, said: "We are delighted to receive funding to enable us to scale up and put on a sustainable basis our new Free Legal Answers website. The website will help enable access to initial legal advice for people on low incomes, supported by a network of referral organisations and a growing number of solicitors willing to support people in need through pro bono volunteering."