Third-party funder Therium has launched a ground-breaking £1m fund to provide not-for-profit litigation funding in order to facilitate access to justice.
Former Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer is chairing the advisory committee that will assist the company in choosing where to put the money.
Grants awarded by Therium Access are intended to provide assist those who lack the funds necessary to pursue or defend claims, as well as to projects that seek to improve access to justice.
It “dispenses with the criteria of funding for profit and has the sole purpose of facilitating access to justice by funding cases and projects which could not usually be funded on a commercial basis”, the company said.
The launch, the centrepiece of Therium’s corporate and social responsibility programme, coincides with its tenth anniversary.
It will put around £1m a year into Therium Access, which is intended to be a global initiative, although the initial focus is on the UK.
Lord Falconer said he hoped the move would “lead the way for further initiatives” of this nature.
He continued: “The choking of legal support that we have witnessed in this country as a result of unprecedented cuts to legal aid has had drastic consequences on the vulnerable who are being denied access to justice, and on those individuals and organisations who work tirelessly to support them.
“The not-for-profit funding that Therium Access will provide through grants for cases and projects is urgently required to make some contribution towards restoring the right to legal support, which is the bedrock of our justice system.”
Therium Access aims to support access to justice in the broadest terms and said it would consider applications that further the following causes (in no particular order):
- The right to legal representation or due process;
- The proper and efficient administration of justice;
- The advancement of human rights;
- The promotion of equality of rights and diversity;
- The protection of children, the elderly, the disabled, minorities, asylum seekers and other vulnerable or disadvantaged groups;
- The advancement of environmental protection or improvement;
- The promotion of legal education that furthers the causes listed above; and
- Any other case or project in which a person, group, or entity will not have access to justice without financial assistance.
The first grants will be announced next month, with 30 August the deadline for submissions for the next round of grant applications.
Applications will need to be made by legal representatives or the entity seeking the grant. Click here  for the details.