Times are beyond challenging for those seeking access to justice and the organisations supporting them. The report from Lord Bach at the end of last year highlighted that the number of not-for-profit legal advice centres fell from over 3000 to under 1500 in 10 years due to funding cuts in legal aid and local authority spending. Half of the 700 organisations who responded to the Ministry of Justice survey were reporting that there were unable to reach groups for lack of resources and expertise. Our firm recently conducted a survey of over 300 MP's surgery appointments and found over 80% related to legal issues – a full report in conjunction will be published shortly.
All solicitors firms can help in a very simple way, by engaging with the Access to Justice Foundation's re-launch of the #NotJustPeanuts campaign. It is vital and it isn't complex.
It offers a charitable solution to a perennial law firm problem of unclaimed client account balances. The Access to Justice Foundation offers a simple information pack which can be used by law firm finance people – [and there's a prize on offer to for the first 50 firms in 2017 to do it..]
In 2011, the Access to Justice Foundation raised £43,000 to help fund support for those who cannot afford legal advice. Incredibly, with the small amounts of funds that have come in, the total now stands at £800,000.
The importance of the #NotJustPeanuts campaign is that so many small efforts from firms collecting pennies across the country can add up to an extensive amount of money supporting access to justice for so many individuals nationwide.
The official re-launch date for the #NotJustPeanuts campaign is Monday 16th January 2017. Visit itsnotjustpeanuts.org, follow the Access to Justice Foundation on Twitter @Access2JusticeF and use the hashtag #NotJustPeanuts.