After the Act describes the aftermath of the recent removal under LASPO of public funding from legal services in family matters other than in defined cases such as child protection and domestic abuse. Through analysis of the policy context, interviews with key players, observation of services provided by lawyers, students, lay support workers and the advice sector, the authors outline the work being done and the skills being used in a range of settings.
The book raises questions not only about access to family justice, but about the role of law in family matters in an increasingly post-legal society.
Fragmentation of the market in the new services offering information, initial advice, online or alternative dispute resolution - but rarely ongoing casework - raises questions about where costs fall and how quality can be assured. Many of these services are forms of private ordering, where outcomes are hard to assess.
If neither the state nor the individual can afford full legal services where the best interests of any child involved are of paramount importance, and lawyers negotiate to make best use of the resources available, perhaps it is time to consider using lawyers differently, with lay support, to solve problems before they become disputes.
Mavis Maclean CBE was a co-founder of the Oxford Centre for Family Law and Policy, and is currently Senior Associate at the Department of Social Policy and Intervention, and Senior Research Fellow, St Hilda's College, University of Oxford. John Eekelaar is Emeritus Fellow of Pembroke College, University of Oxford.
1. Family Legal Problems and the Collapse of the Supportive State I. Introduction II. The Scope of the Problem III. The Post-War Changes to Legal Aid IV. Family Law: a Victim of its Own Success? V. Legal Aid in Family Matters After 2013 VI. The Renewed Push for Mediation VII. Paucity of Legal Provision VIII. Child Support IX. Are These Purely Private Matters? X. Conclusions, Methodology and What Follows 2. Government Activity After LASPO I. Community Legal Services II. Assisting Litigants III. Government Information Provision IV. Conclusions 3. The Response of the Legal Professions to LASPO: I Solicitors' Innovative and Pro Bono Activity I. Innovative Practices II. Pro Bono Activity III. Regulation and Liability 4. Legal Advice Clinics: Observational Data I. Clinic A: A Court-based Family Legal Advice Clinic (Staffed by Solicitors Assisted by PSU) II. Clinic B: A University-based Clinic Comprising a Legal Advice Centre with Local Practitioners and Students and a Separate Student Family Help Desk at Court, Run by a `Pracademic' (A Faculty Member with a Practising Certificate as a Family Solicitor) III. Clinic C: A Family Legal Advice Clinic Linked with an Advice Agency IV. Concluding Observations 5. The Response of the Legal Professions to LASPO: II Barristers in Action Pro Bono I. Structural Issues II. Liability and Insurance III. Interview Data IV. Conclusions 6. Judicial Initiatives I. Introduction II. Specific Problems and Initiatives III. Observational Data IV. Conclusions 4 7. Support in Court by Non-Lawyers I. The Personal Support Unit (PSU) II. McKenzie Friends 8. The Student Contribution: Clinical Legal Education I. Aims II. Organisation of CLE III. Regulating CLE IV. CLE Training and Student Preparation for Family Work: Observational Data V. Conclusions on Student Pro Bono Activity 9. The Third Sector I. Introduction II. Observational Data III. `Advice' in the Third Sector 10. Public Legal Education - Legal Capability and the Boundaries of Law I. The Legal Education Foundation II. Law for Life III. AdviceNow IV. Reflections on PLE 11. A Post-Legal World for Family Disputes? I. The Initiatives Summarised II. Impact Evaluation III. Which Way Forward? IV. The Place of Law in Family Matters