Centre for Access to Justice



Find out about the people that make up the Centre for Access to Justice


Hazel Genn

Professor Dame Hazel Genn 

Executive Director

Dame Hazel Genn is the Centre's Director and a Professor of Socio-Legal Studies in the Faculty of Laws at UCL.  She is internationally recognised as a leading authority on access to administrative and civil justice. Her prize winning scholarship focuses on the experiences of ordinary people caught up in legal problems and the responsiveness of the justice system to the needs of citizens.  She has conducted numerous empirical studies on public access to the justice system and has published widely in her specialist fields.  She is author of Paths to Justice: What People Do and Think About Going to Law (1999) a seminal study of public access to justice which has since been replicated in 27 jurisdictions around the globe.

She was the Dean of the UCL Faculty of Laws from 2000-2017. She previously held a Chair and was Head of the Department of Law at Queen Mary, University of London. Before joining London University, she held full-time research posts at Oxford University Centre for Socio-Legal Studies (1974-1985) and the Cambridge Institute of Criminology (1972-74). In January 2006, she was appointed an Inaugural Commissioner of the new Judicial Appointments Commission established under the Constitutional Reform Act 2005 and was a member of the Committee on Standards in Public Life 2003-7. In April 2009 she was appointed to the Secretary of State's Advisory Panel on Judicial Diversity. She has been a Fellow of the British Academy since 2000, a member of its Council 2001-2004 and was Chair of Communications and Publications Committee (2008-2011). In 2005, she was awarded the US Law and Society International Prize for distinguished scholarship and she holds Honorary Doctorates from the Universities of  Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Hull, Leicester, Keele, Kingston and York . She worked with the Judicial Studies Board for 12 years, serving as a member of the Main Board and the Tribunals Committee, and contributing to the design and delivery of training for the judiciary at all levels. She served for eight years as Deputy Chair and then Chair of the Economic and Social Research Council's Research Grants Board. In recognition of her work on civil justice, she was awarded a CBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in 2000 and appointed DBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List in 2006. In 2006 she was also appointed Queen's Counsel Honoris Causa. In 2008 she was elected Honorary Master of the Bench of Gray's Inn.  


Jennifer Akinola

Clinic Coordinator

Jennifer is the Centre’s Clinic Coordinator. She assists with the day-to-day running of the UCL Integrated Legal Advice Clinic in Stratford. Jennifer leads the extra-curricular volunteering programme at the clinic.

Jennifer holds a LLB from the University of Warwick. After graduating Jennifer completed a death penalty internship in Phoenix, Arizona.


Anjumon Ali

Projects Coordinator

Anjumon is the Centre's Projects Coordinator. She coordinates the Faculty's pro bono programme, responsible for developing new projects and external partnerships, supervising student-led projects, and the recruitment of volunteers. Anjumon is also responsible for the day to day running of the CAJ, communications, and the monitoring & evaluation of the programme. 

Anjumon has experience of volunteer management in Higher Education, having previously worked at Students' Union UCL to supervise student-led projects. 

Sarah Joy

Sarah Joy

Welfare Benefits Advisor

Sarah is a Welfare Benefits Adviser in the Centre’s legal advice clinic supporting people with disability benefit claims, reviews and appeals.

She has many years of experience working in welfare rights advice and social research roles in the UK Voluntary Sector including working with refugees and asylum seekers at the British Red Cross. Sarah also works for a local Citizens Advice, in their health outreach service, where she has worked in different GP surgeries and is currently based in a hospital working with Macmillan Cancer patients. She is a firm believer and advocate for the integration of legal advice in local health settings.

Rachel Knowles

Rachel Knowles

Head of Legal Practice/Associate Professor (teaching)

Rachel is the Centre’s Head of Legal Practice and Senior Teaching Fellow. She is responsible for the UCL Integrated Legal Advice Clinic (UCL iLAC) and supervises all solicitors and staff working from UCL iLAC.  She also runs her own caseload of Education and Community care cases, and supervises students undertaking this casework. She teaches on both our LLB and LLM courses and provides clinical supervision to LLB students undertaking their placement at UCL iLAC.

Rachel has been a practising solicitor since 2009 and has specialised in representing children and vulnerable young children directly to access the support they need from statutory services. Through her work at the CAJ, Rachel has also become interested in access to justice issues, in particular for children and young people. She has also developed an interest in clinical legal education and strategic litigation.

She joined the UCL Centre for Access to Justice from Just for Kids Law where she was head of the Education and Community Care Law team and had supervised UCL students undertaking casework with her there.

Reported cases include R(Tigere) (Appellant) v Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills [2015] UKSC 57 (responsible for drafting the intervention with assistance from UCL students), R(SJ and LJ) v Surrey CC [2014] EWHC 449 (Admin), and  SA v London Borough of Camden Independent Appeal Panel and H School [2013] EWHC 3152 (Admin).

In 2015, Rachel was shortlisted as a Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year finalist in the category of Children’s Rights.


Thul Khan

Housing Solicitor

Thul is the Centre’s Housing Solicitor. He works in the Centre’s legal advice clinic, UCL iLAC.

 Thul graduated from the University of Essex and qualified as a practising solicitor in 2009 in a not for profit law firm.  Since qualifying Thul has worked for the Citizen’s Advice Bureaux and Shelter.  Thul last worked in a busy private practice in North London where his role included representing tenants at the solicitor duty desk scheme at the Clerkenwell & Shoreditch County Court and volunteering at a local law centre.  Thul’s previous experience includes taking instructions on all types of homelessness and possession cases, including those involving warrants for possession, to trial. Thul has also specialised in housing disrepair and unlawful eviction and he has been successful in obtaining significant damages for clients in such circumstances. Thul additionally has experience in obtaining and challenging community care assessments and in cases involving the provision of services for young people under the Children Act 1989.

Case highlights include:

  • Acting for a client with mental health issues in defending a possession claim.  The local authority agreed to discontinue the claim, ensure that a community care assessment took place and made reasonable adjustments when corresponding with the client in future.
  • Successfully obtaining an injunction from the High Court requiring the local authority to accommodate a homeless client where the local authority were refusing to accept a homeless application.
  • In a claim for disrepair Thul secured damages of £25,000 for his client where the property was suffering from severe penetrating dampness and mould.
  • Successfully challenging a Social Services department decision not to maintain the welfare of a 19 year old person who was previously looked after by the local authority.
  • In a possession case the local authority consented to a possession order being set aside after Thul made submissions to show that a client was entitled to housing benefit when he was absent from the property.

Thul appears in the 2017 edition of Legal 500 and is described as a “cool customer in a crisis.”

Outside of work Thul enjoys live theatre and comedy and following the mighty West Ham United.


Michael Marshall

Michael Marshall

Trainee Solicitor

Michael works in the Centre’s legal advice clinic, working on welfare benefits, community care and housing cases. He is also responsible for delivering UCL's Rare Dementia Support Advice Project.

Michael completed his LLB at the UCL Faculty of Laws, graduating in 2019. Over the course of his law degree he studied, volunteered and worked at UCL iLAC. He has a number of years of experience advising on welfare benefits issues, working as an adviser for a Newham-based charity, and then as a volunteer with Citizens Advice. 

Shiva Riahi

Shiva Riahi

Head of Projects

Shiva is the Centre's Head of Projects. She manages the Faculty's pro bono programme, developing new projects, monitoring outcomes and providing pastoral support for students. Shiva is also responsible for the day to day management of the CAJ, overseeing the Centre's finances, communications, development, and other operational matters across the Centre's activities. 

As a graduate of the UCL Faculty of Laws, Shiva was part of the Access to Justice and Community Engagement course pilot year where she undertook casework with Just for Kids Law. She also holds a BA in Philosophy and International Relations from Tufts University. She is currently undertaking a Masters in Public Administration at the UCL Department of Political Science.