Access to Justice for Disadvantaged Communities

Marjorie Mayo, Gerald Koessl, Imogen Slater, and Matthew Scott

Marjorie Mayo, Gerald Koessl, Imogen Slater, and Matthew Scott

Distributed for Policy Press at the University of Bristol

176 pages | 6 3/4 x 9 1/2 | © 2014
Cloth $99.00 ISBN: 9781447311027 Published April 2014 For sale in North and South America only
Justice is a basic human right in all democratic doctrines, but in Britain, where welfare has faced recent market-based reforms, it’s increasingly a right available only to those who can afford it. Professionals and volunteers are struggling to provide services such as legal counselling and representation to disadvantaged communities. This book explores how strategies to safeguard these vital services can strengthen, rather than undermine, the basic ethics and principles of public service provision. The authors show how such safeguarding might improve the positions of those who administer—as well as those who need—publicly provided legal services. Though focused on Britain, their findings reverberate to the United States and all democracies undergoing similar challenges in the public sphere.
Gary Craig, Durham University
“The question of access to justice was a fundamental keystone in the creation of the welfare state. This exhaustive review of the history of legal aid and advice, and of the Coalition government’s determination to destroy it, reminds us of how much other struggles to defend welfare depend on it. It is a must-read and not just for those concerned narrowly with the law.”
John Gaventa, director of the Coady International Institute, STFX University, Canada
“An important read for all of those concerned about the role of the state in creating a more equal and just society for all.”
Journal of Social Policy
“A valuable and readable account of the complex issues facing Law Centres in a political climate that is increasingly hostile to the provision of good quality legal aid services to those most in need. It is particularly useful for the way in which it brings together in one place a number of different accounts of Law Centres and their role in providing access to justice, both historical and contemporary.”
LSE Review of Books
“This book should be read by anyone with an interest in public policy, law, sociology, and access to justice.”


Abbreviations and glossary

Introduction: accessing social justice in disadvantaged communities

1. Social justice and the welfare state

2. Concepts of justice and access to justice

3. Ethos and values

4. Challenges and dilemmas

5. Public service modernisation, restructuring and recommodification

6. Conflict and competition versus collaboration and planning

7. Public service modernisation and time

8. Alienation and demoralisation, or continuing labours of love?

9. Access to social justice for disadvantaged communities: value and values

Appendix 1: Research methodology and questionnaire

Appendix 2: Law Centres included

Appendix 3: Topic guides for semi-structured interviews



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