Using the law to address unfair systems

The Public Law Project’s (PLP) collaborative approach to public law has featured in a case study of the landmark legal challenge to the personal independence payments scheme, a case that changed the assessment criteria for thousands of people on disability benefits.

The research carried out by Dr Lisa Vanhala and Dr Jacqui Kinghan of UCL identifies strategic lessons for third sector organisations that use public law to challenge unfair systems and highlights the ‘pivotal role’ PLP played in coordinating with a wide network of individuals and organisations.

‘Using the law to address unfair systems’ is based on interviews with some of those most involved in the legal challenge, including PLP Deputy Legal Director Sara Lomri, and gives first-hand insights into how NGOs, funders and litigators won the judicial review brought by PLP’s client, RF.

Co-published by The Baring Foundation and Lankelly Chase, the report also looks at the post-litigation ‘legacy’ phase and raises important questions such as how the Government can be held to account to implement such rulings, and who has responsibility for communicating subsequent policy changes to those affected.

PLP Deputy Legal Director Sara Lomri said: “PLP is grateful to The Baring Foundation and the Lankelly Chase Foundation for enabling this research which we hope will contribute to wider learning about how the law can be used to address unfair systems.

“As the authors point out, public law can empower individuals to challenge unfair systems, but there is more work to be done to ensure that legal ‘victories’ deliver meaningful change for the people they are meant to help.”

The full report can be read here