Legal Fund

The Legal Fund has been established to ensure that freelance journalists can access legal assistance, even when they are unable to afford a lawyer or trial costs.

About the Fund.

What support do we offer?

Our Legal Fund grants are meant to help professional freelance journalists cover the costs and fees related to legal action taken against them because of their reporting. The amount of assistance varies according to the applicant’s circumstances, which may include: arbitrary detention, deprivation of liberty because of the exercise of freedom of expression, and, in some cases, issues with visas/asylum and employment disputes. Our aim is to help grantees overcome a crisis and, where possible, resume work.

Are you eligible for a grant?

Are you a professional freelance news journalist whose main source of income comes from journalism? If so, you may be eligible to apply.

To be eligible for a Legal Fund grant, you must satisfy all of the essential criteria:

  • You are not entitled to any contractual benefits such as sick pay, annual leave, social security or pension, as you are not a permanent staff member of any media organisation;
  • Your income for the last 12 months has come mainly from professional news journalism (this does not include material produced for trade publications, travel guides, advocacy and campaigning materials, etc);
  • You can provide evidence of the case against you, proof of income and outgoings for the last three months, two reference letters and evidence of your latest published work;
  • You are able to receive a grant from a British registered charity.

How long does it take to receive a grant?

The application process usually takes from one to several weeks, during which time one of our researchers will work with you to find out how our financial support can best help you. We aim to reply to every request, but please note that we cannot provide individual feedback to those we are not able to support.

We also work closely with an international network of partners and may refer applicants to appropriate organisations around the world for specific advice and expertise, specialist needs or additional funds.

How to apply

If you are a freelancer or family of a freelancer in need of funding to cover legal fees related to your work, please complete the online application form on the link below, providing as much detail as possible. The application form is currently only available in English, but you are welcome to complete it in any language.

Your application will be assessed, and all information will be treated in the strictest confidence. Once we confirm that you are eligible for a grant, you will be asked to supply reference letters, provide copies of the main legal documents relating to the case (if any), bank statements, invoices and/or other documentation to support your application (e.g. provide a link to or copy of the relevant article/s or post/s associated with the case).

All decisions made by the Trust will be final.

If you have any questions about the application process, please contact us at assistance@rorypecktrust.org.

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