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Charity supporting litigants in person launches emergency appeal amid fears of MoJ funding cuts

A charity that supports people going through court without representation as litigants in person has this week launched an emergency appeal in response to recent funding cuts.

The charity, Support Through Court (STC), said that changes to the regular funding it receives from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) have left it with a £400,000 shortfall which threatens to end its services supporting litigants in person.

In November, STC stated it was informed that the MoJ would be changing the method of distributing funding to charities working in the space of access to justice.

The MoJ told the charity that its annual funding of around £540,000, which it has provided for the last eight years, will cease this month (June 2022).

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The charity said it has limited information about the funding available going forward, and with the prospect of a £400,000 gap in its finances, STC has launched an urgent appeal for funds.

STC's Chief Executive, Eileen Pereira, said that it "remains crucial" that the charity continues to be based in court buildings across the country. 

"Every day, we see hundreds of people who can't access legal aid who walk into court buildings in need of procedural support and guidance," Pereira added.

"Many don't have access to tech; we provide them with a space to be heard as well as helping with court bundles and by logging on to hearings with them.

"Without the funding we've received for eight years, we're facing the real possibility of closing the doors on the support we provide to these people. To end up closing any of our services would have a devastating impact, not just on the clients we support but on the whole court system."

STC operates from 17 courts across England and Wales and, over the last financial year, has assisted more than 49,000 people facing court alone without representation.

At the time of writing, the appeal has raised £9,700.

Adam Carey

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