Our vision is of a society that is just and fair.
Our mission is to support communities to use the law to improve their lives and the lives of others.
Our values are:
Trust – We trust our partners, valuing their lived and learned experience, supporting them to make their voices heard, and seeking to be a trusted voice ourselves.
Mutuality – We stand with those taking action to bring collective benefit, and we collaborate and build partnerships with them to accelerate change.
Inclusion – We aim to challenge the systems and structures, including our own, that perpetuate oppression, discrimination, inequity and exclusion. We are clear about our mission and how we decide to use our resources.
Courage – We use the freedom of our independence to confront injustice, and to be energising in supporting work over the long term that will bring about real change.
Reflection – We recognise the complexity of the issues we are tackling and the importance of listening and increasing understanding. We learn from those affected, and we share robust evidence about what is working and how this can be used elsewhere.
We are currently working on how these values relate to our work within the organisation.
The UK justice system is undergoing a period of challenge and rapid change which has far-reaching consequences for people’s ability to understand and use the law. There has been chronic under-resourcing of legal organisations at the same time as legal needs have risen. Sustainable employment, career development and access to the profession have all come under pressure. Meanwhile, legal and constitutional changes brought about by the UK’s exit from the EU, along with the increasing adoption of digital technology and automated data processing by government, are producing fundamental changes to UK institutions and the exercise of public power.
This matters particularly for the significant numbers of people who cannot obtain justice in relation to their fundamental rights. We know that these unmet needs trigger or exacerbate cluster of problems that have significant impacts on individuals, communities and wider public policy goals.
Legal education sits at the heart of activities to ensure law plays its role effectively: It is how people can be helped to know and access legal remedies; it is how people and organisations working in the law can improve the ways they identify and resolve legal needs; and the study and analysis of evidence arising out of this activity can positively influence wider policy and justice systems.
Organisations tackling these challenges have experienced significant constraints that have affected their ability to deliver services at the scale needed, to invest in their infrastructure, to develop related fields of policy, research and communications and to attract and retain skilled staff. These organisations face a task of such scale and complexity that significant and sustained strategic investment is needed to help them play their roles. The Foundation’s resources put us in a position to support organisations to address this challenge.
We support work in all four nations of the UK, recognising the need to reflect local needs and differences, including the different legal jurisdictions and devolved powers. The focus of our work is in the UK, but we also look to learn from and to inform international practice and experience.
Our work to 2025 will be divided into three programmes:
Our strategic plan takes forward lessons from our first phase of activity between 2015 and 2020.
Our current strategy at the LEF runs from 2020-2025, so we are in the process of developing our next strategy for 2025-2030. Below is a summary of the timeline for this process and the key points for grant applicants to be aware of.
In 2024, our Spring and Autumn grant rounds will take place as usual under our Stronger Sector and Fairer Systems funding programmes. Make sure to check our guidelines for any updates before submitting your application.
In 2025, our Spring grant round will be open for renewals for current partners only, but closed to all other applications as we prepare to announce our new strategy. Our Autumn 2025 grant round will then be open for new applications under our new strategy.
If you have any questions, please contact your LEF grant officer if you are a current grant partner, or get in touch via our website.
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