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Justice

We believe that an effective and accessible justice system is fundamental to a fair society, and to social well-being. We want to see a modern justice system that delivers effective legal and social justice for all.

£1.3m

Given in grants for justice projects in 2018.

31

Justice projects are currently underway worth a total value of £6.8m

We aim to improve outcomes for people who are seeking to resolve legal problems and exercise their rights by facilitating evidence-based change in the justice system. We do this by funding research and development projects relating to all aspects of justice.

In recent years, cuts to the civil and criminal justice system have made justice increasingly difficult to access. We want to understand people’s everyday experiences of the law in this new world, including their knowledge of it and their ability to access appropriate services. We also want to know more about the role and efficacy of the people and organisations responsible for delivering justice, and the functioning of courts and tribunals.

Vulnerable groups, including children and young people, are a particular focus for our research. We want to improve outcomes for children involved in both public and private family law, and in the criminal justice system.

 

Why justice needs research


What do we fund in justice?


We are currently funding research, development, and analysis projects, with a focus on:

  • Family justice, and wider links with child welfare both in public and private law. We have set up the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory to support better outcomes for children in the family justice system in England and Wales by improving the use of data and research evidence in decision-making.
  • Youth justice, particularly the factors that lead to young people entering the criminal justice system and interventions that might prevent this.
  • Supporting effective early decision-making to avoid downstream legal problems, particularly exploration of the incentives and structures that might encourage such decision-making.
  • Participation and rights, particularly the accessibility of the legal system for those who are vulnerable and those who lack legal representation.

Our team


  • Ash Patel
    Programme Head, Justice
  • Director, Nuffield Family Justice Observatory

  • Director, Justice
Our impact in justice
See our impact
01

A Bill currently before Parliament seeks to change the law on divorce to provide a more honest and straightforward process for separating couples, and to reduce conflict and suffering. The change has been driven in part by the Finding Fault project, led by Professor Liz Trinder, which has shown that the current law encourages dishonesty and undermines the aims of the family justice system.

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02

Developing resources and support to help Litigants in Person (LIP) navigate and use the Northern Ireland Court and Tribunal Service (NICTS). Dr Grainne McKeever’s project has led to the Department of Justice setting up an LIP reference group to advise both the Department and NICTS, the provision of new resources for LIPs on the NICTS website and the delivery of training to the judiciary.

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03

We have been influential in revealing the true extent of the relationship between deprivation and the rate of intervention from child protection services. Professor Paul Bywaters’ study on the impact of poverty on child welfare interventions has led to a change of policy from Ofsted, who acknowledged for the first time the relationship between deprivation and the capacity of children’s social care to provide high quality services.

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See our impact

Justice projects

In progress

Justice | Welfare | 2017 – 2019

Birth fathers’ recurrent appearance in care proceedings

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Couple discuss divorce-finding fault divorce reform
In progress

Justice | Welfare | 2017 – 2020

Pensions on divorce interdisciplinary working group

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In progress

Justice | 2017 – 2019

Challenging the ombudsman: are review processes adequate?

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In progress

Justice | 2017 – 2020

Enhancing problem-solving practice in youth court

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In progress

Justice | 2017 – 2019

Vulnerability in the courts: A research and policy project

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Reported

Justice | Welfare | 2017 – 2019

Measuring outcomes for children’s social care services

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In progress

Education | Justice | Welfare | 2016 – 2020

Socio-economic status and child antisocial behaviour

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Reported

Justice | 2016 – 2018

The dissemination of lessons from research to the Judiciary

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Justice | 2016 – 2018

The impact of Litigants in Person on the Northern Ireland court system

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Reported

Justice | 2016 – 2017

Transparency and privacy in family courts

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In progress

Justice | 2016 – 2019

Implementation of recommendations of the Carlile report

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Reported

Justice | Welfare | 2015 – 2016

Feasibility study for research into improving children’s social services

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We aim to improve people’s lives by funding research that informs social policy, primarily in Education, Welfare and Justice. We also fund student programmes that give young people skills and confidence in science and research.

We are an open, collaborative and engaged funder that offers more than money. Through connecting the individual projects we fund, we strengthen their collective impact and give voice to an overarching narrative.

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