Developing a strategy for access to advice and support on Social Welfare Law in England and Wales
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New Campaigns and Research Manager appointed

James Sandbach

To take the Commission’s work into phase 2 – using the report to actively influence policy, communications and strengthening the evidence base around the Commission’s proposals, the Legal Action Group has recruited James Sandbach as Campaigns and Research Manager to support the Commission.

James has worked for over 10 years for Citizens Advice (as Social Policy Officer) on access to justice, advice services issues and social policy research and campaigns. He has published numerous reports and articles on legal aid and justice topics, and was a key figure in the Justice4All campaign and lobbying around the LASPO reforms. Trained both in law (Called to Bar) and social sciences (D.Phil) he also brings experience from having worked for other NGOs, Parliamentarians and on political campaigns.

Commenting on the role, James said:-

“I am delighted to be joining the Low Commission’s team at this time and to push forwards the Commission’s recommendations into practical policy-making and the political debate. The Commission’s initiative in producing a finely balanced, expert report on social welfare law services is a cause extremely close to my head and heart.”

“The first piece work of I undertook for Citizens Advice was an evidence report on the state of community legal services; I was so impressed with the work that goes on throughout legal advice and support networks – CABx, Law Centres and civil practitioners – and the help this provides for the most vulnerable in different communities, that it has made me a life-time advocate for the cause of community advice. But the story of deterioration and under-appreciation by public funders, and the growth of “advice deserts” is a long term one –this must be challenged and reversed.

“The Low Commission is proposing practical solutions to the plight of the social welfare law sector. But, the Commission needs to up its public engagement, profile and draw in support from a wide range of policy stakeholders; also the stronger the evidence base is, the stronger the case that can be made to Government. I look forward to helping the Commission to advance its case.”