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Effective Mobilisation of Social Welfare Law Advice in Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic

Hansen, Lee (2020) 'Effective Mobilisation of Social Welfare Law Advice in Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic.' In: Ferstman, Carla and Fagan, Andrew, (eds.) Covid-19, Law and Human Rights : Essex Dialogues. A Project of the School of Law and Human Rights Centre. University of Essex, 217 - 227. ISBN 978-1-5272-6632-2

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Abstract

The Covid-19 pandemic has the potential to spell the demise of access to justice for all but a select few. Prior to the crisis, the infrastructure for free and low-cost legal advice had been severely weakened by UK government policy and austerity-era budget cuts. Now, as solicitors are on furlough, law centres are on the brink of collapse and lockdowns have led to widespread service closures and restrictions, the legal needs of many members of society are set to multiply and may remain unmet. In the face of other crises (9/11, Bushfires, Grenfell), members of the legal support sector (legal aid providers, law centres, pro bono practitioners) worked together. This resulted in much needed help in the form of free legal advice to the affected communities. This paper surveys the lessons learned from such interventions. It explores the extent to which these experiences may serve as guidance to address the legal needs arising from the current crisis posed by the pandemic. It also highlights the unique features of the Covid-19 crisis. This suggests the need to look beyond ad hoc and technologically based measures (which worked in the past) to assert a more prominent role for the state in the legal advice sector.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: Legal Advice; Social Welfare Law; Solicitors; Covid-19; Access to Justice
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Law, School of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 30 Jun 2020 12:53
Last Modified: 30 Jun 2020 14:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/28045

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