Located within the UCL Faculty of Laws, the Centre for Access to Justice combines innovative teaching and research-based learning with the provision of pro bono legal advice to local communities
Our work predominantly centres around the areas of social welfare, community care, education, and employment law.
UCL Laws has been a leader in access to justice and the incorporation of casework and social justice awareness into the law degree programmes we offer. Working with charity organisations and legal professionals, the Centre provides legal assistance to members of the local community while giving students an opportunity to gain hands on experience in meeting legal needs and critically reflect on the role of law in society.
At the core of our activities is the Faculty’s own access to justice research, underpinning both our approach to teaching as well as how we provide services and engage with the community. Understanding the broader implications that a lack of access to justice can have, we take a holistic approach to resolving the legal problems our clients face while also placing an emphasis on community engagement and outreach.
For the last 20 years, the Faculty’s ground-breaking research has had significant impact on access to justice policies and the delivery of legal services both in the UK and abroad. Building on this history, the Centre continues to produce research which aims to stimulate debate and inform policy around access to justice issues.
To encourage students to make the most of their degree while at UCL, the Centre also runs a wide-ranging pro bono programme to allow students to develop both personally and professionally and to place their degree in the context of the real world.
Founded in 2013 within UCL Faculty of Laws, the Centre for Access to Justice (CAJ) combines progressive experiential teaching and multi-disciplinary research-based learning with the provision of pro bono legal advice and representation to low income and vulnerable local communities.
The central mission of the Centre is to promote access to justice through research-led education, community activities and evidence-based policy advice. This is achieved through five core objectives:
- To provide holistic and high quality, free legal advice and representation to members of the local community who would otherwise be unable to afford it
- To shape and develop policy agendas underpinned by robust and rigorous research
- To engender an awareness of social justice issues in our students and foster a commitment to public interest work
- To implement innovative teaching and learning methods
- To develop our students’ ethical and professional awareness
Our objectives are achieved through projects and activities which focus on:
- Provision of free legal advice and representation
- Social justice education and practice
- Student engagement and pro bono opportunities with faculty oversight
- Rigorous research and data collection to inform and influence policy
- Partnerships with internal and external organisations
- Widening participation
- Community engagement and outreach