Access to Justice Report Launch in Surrey

Yesterday, the 20th March, we marked a pivotal moment in the quest for access to justice in Surrey with the launch of our Access to Justice in Surrey Report at the University of Surrey’s School of Law Access to Justice Clinic. The report was introduced by Sir Robin Knowles, KC, who shed light on the concerning status of Surrey as a ‘legal aid desert’, where a significant lack of support services leaves vulnerable individuals without the expert legal advice they critically need in areas such as community care, education, and immigration. 

Our report details the acute shortage of specialised legal advice in Surrey, highlighting the reliance on non-legal advice services in lieu of expert legal support. This situation is especially dire in employment, education, and immigration matters. Most social welfare advice currently stems from voluntary or not-for-profit agencies, with Citizens Advice taking a lead role, yet there is a clear deficiency in specialised legal services. 

Our Deputy CEO Stacey Edgar noted: 

“At the South West London Law Centres, we have directly observed the significant difficulties faced by individuals and families lacking proper guidance on matters such as immigration and education. Our findings now confirm that Surrey has limited mechanisms for accessing justice, signalling the urgency of leveraging insights from this new research to implement a strategy that addresses community needs. We’re pushing to fill these gaps because access to justice shouldn’t depend on where you live or what you can afford.”   

The report proposes several initiatives aimed at enhancing legal support within the county, including the establishment of a Family Law Court Help Desk, an Education Rights Advice Project, and dedicated Immigration and Asylum Caseworkers for Surrey. These proposals are part of our efforts to ensure that everyone has access to the legal support they need. 

Liz Williams, Associate Professor and Director of Clinical Legal Education at the University of Surrey, highlighted the importance of collaboration, stating: 

“The Access to Justice Clinic at the School of Law understands that social transformation and legal impact is only possible through a collaborative approach. The Clinic has been a flourishing initiative since its launch four years ago and plans to expand in partnership with South West London Law Centres, local charities and legal professionals on a broad range of collaborations to help solve the access to justice crisis in Surrey.”  

Professor Veronica Rodriguez-Blanco from the School of Law added to the discussion, affirming the School’s commitment to placing access to justice at the heart of legal education, thereby fostering social sensitivity among the future legal professionals. 

The successful launch of the Access to Justice Report not only brought to light the urgent need for enhanced legal aid in Surrey but also called on the community for support. We invite donations, volunteers, and partners to join us in our mission to extend access to justice to everyone affected in Surrey.  

This moment represents a significant step forward in our ongoing efforts to ensure that access to justice is not just an ideal but a reality for all. 

To find out more about the project, to receive a copy of the report or to get involved, please contact us at