Lost in space? The role of place in the delivery of social welfare law advice over the telephone and face-to-face

Burton, Marie ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1540-605X (2020) Lost in space? The role of place in the delivery of social welfare law advice over the telephone and face-to-face. Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law . ISSN 0964-9069 (Published online first) (doi:10.1080/09649069.2020.1796217)

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Abstract

Advice that is provided exclusively over the telephone has been promoted by government as more convenient and accessible than face-to-face appointments. The resulting push towards telephone-only provision, as implemented by the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, challenges the long history of association between social welfare law advice and local delivery within disadvantaged communities. This article reports on qualitative research comparing telephone and face-to-face advice which uncovers the continuing relevance of place in the dynamics and mechanics of social welfare law provision. Familiarity with the geographical location, knowledge of local policies and procedures, relationships with opponents and allies, and an understanding of the ‘local legal culture’ mean that face-to-face advisers are often able to conduct their legal casework more effectively. Conversely, local knowledge is unlikely to be available to Community Legal Advice telephone advisers. This research suggests that, in addition, telephone-only advisers may be developing a more narrow understanding of the essential qualities of casework. These findings are particularly significant in view of the likely future expansion of remote methods of delivery in legal aid work.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Law > Law and Politics
Item ID: 28579
Notes on copyright: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law on 06 Aug 2020, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/09649069.2020.1796217
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Depositing User: Marie Burton
Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2019 17:16
Last Modified: 12 Aug 2020 10:03
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/28579

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