JustRight Scotland is disappointed to note recent media and social media commentary suggesting that we operate with less than full compliance with the high standards expected of all charities when it comes to engaging in policy and legislative debates, and using charitable funds for charitable purposes. We are making this statement to ensure our position is on the public record.
Our annual accounts are independently audited and submitted to the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) each year. We also publish our accounts on our website in the interests of transparency. You can find more information about how we are funded in our most recent audited accounts for 2021-22, which were published in November 2022: https://www.justrightscotland.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/JRS-Signed-Accounts-2022.pdf
As noted on page 15 of our accounts, for the period 2021-22, our principal sources of funding were:
- Charitable trusts and foundations – £409k (43%)
- Scottish government grants – £401k (42%)
- Legal aid fee income – £73k (8%)
- Training income – £26k (3%)
- Donations, management charges and other income – £45k (5%)
Scottish Government funding is provided specifically to support our legal centres working on women’s rights, anti-trafficking and exploitation, and anti-discrimination.
Our Independence and Political Impartiality
JustRight Scotland was founded in 2017 as an independent charity that uses the law to defend and extend people’s rights.
We provide direct legal advice and representation to people across Scotland in areas of law where there are gaps in access to justice, and we are often the only specialist legal experts in Scotland working on these issues. Examples include our Scottish Anti-Trafficking and Exploitation Centre and our Ukraine Advice Scotland Project.
This year, we and our third sector partners have provided free, confidential, impartial legal advice to thousands of people, about legal issues that matter to them – ranging from advice and support to women and children fleeing domestic violence, to people facing homelessness and destitution, to people facing sexual harassment in employment or discrimination because of disability.
Where we choose to raise awareness of a legal issue and to engage in policy and campaigning work, we do so on the basis of the legal cases that people seeking our advice bring to us, and in the interests of the people and communities we work with.
As a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO), we follow guidance and requirements of the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR). Our legal services are provided through a Limited Liability Partnership, JustRight Scotland LLP, which has been authorised to act as solicitors, and is regulated, by the Law Society of Scotland.
The funding we receive, including from Scottish Government, does not prevent or preclude us from criticising Scottish Government policy and practice, nor from challenging the Scottish Government or any other Scottish public authority, through legal action. Indeed, it has been necessary on several occasions for us to do this, and we have done so without hesitation.
- Our successful discrimination challenge against Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) regulations which prevented a group of migrant young people, living in Scotland since childhood, from accessing funding for further or higher education alongside their peers.
- Our evidence highlighting the unequal impact of the Covid-19 pandemic for vulnerable and marginalised groups across Scotland, and critical of the failure of the Scottish Government’s response to the pandemic to adequately address these inequalities, which called for a range of immediate actions.
- Our correspondence with the Scottish Legal Aid Board (SLAB) challenging the lack of legal aid funding for representation in appeals before the Asylum Support Tribunal, where people face eviction from Home Office housing – resulting in SLAB announcing a new category of legal aid for these actions.
- Our landmark case challenging the use of the “not proven” verdict in Scots criminal law when prosecuting crimes of sexual violence – in which we represented a female survivor of rape who successfully recovered damages in a civil court, where the criminal case had resulted in a “not proven” verdict.
JustRight Scotland is proud of its work to defend and extend people’s rights using the law. We will continue to further our charitable purposes through legal advice and representation, influencing and engaging with policy and legislative processes, providing training and information about rights, and all of our other charitable activities.
We thank our partners, funders and supporters for all their contributions to enabling us to do so.