Evaluation shows value of funding strategic legal action
The latest independent evaluation of the Strategic Legal Fund shows the value of investing small amounts in enabling NGOs to undertake strategic legal action. The evaluation focused on the outcomes and benefits from the work funded during phase three of the fund (Jan 2015 to date).
The evaluation showed that a wide range of issues have been challenged through SLF funding, many of which resulted in positive outcomes for young migrants. The findings include:
- SLF grants have helped both to prevent the introduction of discriminatory law and policy (e.g. the Legal Aid residence test); and to mount effective challenges to existing laws and policies causing significant disadvantage to young migrants, such as exclusion from student loans.
- SLF-funded work has influenced court judgments, contributed to policy change and is feeding further legal casework, for example for young migrants refused Jobseeker's Allowance.
- Relatively small injections of funding can have profound and long-lasting effects. The level of impact cannot be determined by the amount of funding invested, as the value of the SLF is sometimes in enabling critical research and thinking time when it matters.
- Incorporating legal challenge (or its threat) into a strategy to tackle the discrimination and disadvantage facing young migrants is proving effective, even when change through other routes has failed.
Finally, the evaluation concluded that the need for the SLF is increasing. In the context of the government's stated aim of making the environment 'hostile to migrants', the law is a critical tool to protect the needs of young people.
The evaluation is available to download below:
A full list of all grants made is here.