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1st Jun 2023

Justice Lab leadership changes announced

Justice Lab founder and Director Dr Natalie Byrom is to step down from her position following the announcement that she is leaving her role as Director of Research and Learning at the Legal Education Foundation (LEF).

Dr Byrom joined LEF – the funder of Justice Lab – eight years ago and her work has focused on bringing about an enduring commitment to learning and the use of evidence in the design and operation of the justice system.

She led the creation, development and public launch of Justice Lab, a major new research and policy initiative that uses data and evidence to tackle the most pressing problems facing the justice system. She set the strategy, shaped its programmes and secured ongoing funding for data and research across the justice system.

Natalie will continue to serve on a range of government and judicial panels relating to her expertise on data and justice issues, including The Civil Justice Council and the Senior Data Governance Panel.

Dr Byrom said:

“It was a difficult decision to leave the Foundation after eight years. Over that time, I have been able to focus on advancing the cause of good data and I am particularly proud to have led the Justice Lab initiative to its public launch in February 2023.

“As part of my work for LEF to create Justice Lab, I worked to support HM Courts & Tribunals Service develop a data strategy in 2019 in support of its reform programme which led to the creation of a new publicly available online repository of court judgements at the National Archives.

“I am also pleased that the Senior Data Governance Panel within the MoJ has now been formalised. The wider work is, however, far from complete and there is much more that needs to be done. I will continue to sit on a number of bodies relating to justice and data and am very much looking forward to this next chapter in my work.”

LEF CEO Matthew Smerdon said:

“The Foundation is immensely grateful to Natalie for the expertise, leadership and commitment she has brought to this work. She has delivered an ambitious work programme and significantly advanced the objectives of Justice Lab and the Foundation. She has built networks and reputation across the justice system and delivered substantial policy impact. We wish her well with the next steps in her work.”

LEF is fully committed to the vital work of the Justice Lab. In the immediate interim, the Lab’s projects and programmes will be overseen by LEF’s Chief Executive, Matthew Smerdon.