We are an independent grantmaking foundation distributing around £6million a year to organisations undertaking charitable work which promotes our strategic objectives.
We focus on the essential role of legal education in helping people and organisations to understand and use the law as a tool for change. In this work, we know that there are significant numbers of people who cannot obtain justice in relation to everyday problems, and that these unmet needs trigger or exacerbate clusters of issues that have a social and economic impact on individuals, communities and wider public policy goals. We believe the law should be readily available at the times and in the places where people need it.
The Foundation operates a combination of open and proactive grant programmes. These include the Justice First Fellowship, a scheme which we established in 2013 to support the next generation of social justice lawyers. We also support the organisations we fund in a variety of other ways including providing access to training, consultancy and networking to promote exchange, learning and collaboration. We also carry out our own development work, particularly in the fields of public policy and research and we place a strong emphasis on collaboration with other organisations in the field.
The Foundation is relatively new, being established in 2012, although our origins as an organisation date back rather longer to the 1870s. Originally operating as a law tutorial firm under the name Gibson and Weldon, in 1962 the organisation merged with The Law Society School of Law to form a charity called The College of Law. In 1975, the College was awarded a Royal Charter to promote legal education and the study of the law in all its branches. Over the years, the College developed its law courses and, by 2011, was educating over 7,500 students a year at eight centres across England and via distance learning.
Following a major strategic review concluding in 2012, the Governors of the College decided to sell the education and training business and to devote the funds generated by the sale to endow the organisation and to pursue our charitable purpose as a grantmaking foundation. At the time of the sale the charity received permission from the Privy Council to change its name from The College of Law to The Legal Education Foundation. The £200 million net proceeds from the sale have been invested and the return on these investments are distributed through our programmes.
In 2021, we received permission from the Privy Council and the Charity Commission to widen the charitable objects of the Foundation. Alongside the promotion of legal education and study of law, we also now promote the “sound development and administration of law.”
© 2013 - 2023 The Legal Education Foundation
Registered charity 271297 (England/Wales)