Earlier in the summer, we launched a new fund to support organisations who are using legal action to address racial injustice in all aspects of the criminal justice system: policing, courts, prisons, and the probation service.
This funding will support all types of legal action, whether that action seeks to empower, persuade, challenge, or use a mix of all three. We will award between 7-8 grants of up to £50,000 for up to 18 months.
In this blog, we outline some key points you need to know before proceeding with an application.
1. Just existing activities
This funding is for organisations that are already using legal action to address racial injustice in the criminal justice system. We will consider applications from organisations which have had plans for this work but for haven’t yet been able to get it off the ground. We might be able to support wholly new work in the future, but not in this round.
2. Judicial review, yes, but more than that!
We will support judicial review, but we will also support other kinds of legal action, whether that’s delivering training on legal topics; monitoring developments in national law; or providing specialist legal advice (or more!).
3. Please talk to us first
As part of the application process, you need to have a phone call with us so we can establish your eligibility for this funding. We do get a number of applications that fall outside of the parameters of our funding calls in every funding round – so we hope to save others’ time by checking eligibility first. We also know that we will get more applications than we are able to fund – please do read the guidelines for the fund and if you meet all the criteria, please get in touch for a chat.
4. Legal action as part of a bigger equation
As long-time funders of legal action for social change, we know the legal action doesn’t achieve the change on its own. Tell us about your innovative campaigning activities, talk about any exciting communication activities you hope to do, shout about your plans for community engagement – we want to hear how legal action fits in with your wider work.
5. We know things can change
If the last 16 months have taught us anything, it’s how quickly a situation can change in mere hours let alone in months. As we enter some sort of post-pandemic period in the UK and with new legislation coming before Parliament that is likely to be relevant for your work, we know the context we are working in is likely to change. We will be flexible with successful applicants, working together to make appropriate changes.
Over the years, we have commissioned various pieces of research on the use of legal action to challenge discrimination and disadvantage and achieve wider social change.
We recommend taking a look at the following research before beginning your application:
- a paper on the successful use of strategic litigation by the voluntary sector;
- an exploration of civil society organisations deploying a range of legal tools and tactics to achieve social change;
- a framework for better use of the law by civil society organisations; and
- a paper on the value of using legal based approaches (which informed the focus of our Strengthening Civil Society programme).