Justice on the line? A comparison of telephone and face-to-face advice in social welfare legal aid

Burton, Marie ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1540-605X (2018) Justice on the line? A comparison of telephone and face-to-face advice in social welfare legal aid. Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, 40 (2) . pp. 195-215. ISSN 0964-9069 [Article] (doi:10.1080/09649069.2018.1444444)

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This paper investigates the impact on legal advice of the major shift to telephone-only services in social welfare legal aid, which took place in April 2013. An empirical study comparing telephone and face-to-face advice reveals that face-to-face contact has considerable advantages in the advice interview. Based on interviews and observations with housing law clients, their lawyers and advisers, the findings of this qualitative study demonstrate that clients and lawyers often find it easier to express themselves and understand each other face-to-face. The face-to-face interview benefits from features including the stronger emotional connection between lawyer and client, non-verbal communication, more expansive conversation and the greater ability to consult and confer over documents. Telephone-only advice may be suitable for some more capable clients and uncomplicated matters, but this qualitative research shows that vulnerable clients are more likely to be adversely affected by the potential disadvantages of telephone-only contact. Clients with more complex social needs or with more serious or urgent cases are better served by face-to-face advice. The findings of this research should inform the LASPO review and future priorities for legal aid funding.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > School of Law > Law and Politics
Item ID: 23831
Notes on copyright: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law on 28/02/2018, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/09649069.2018.1444444
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Depositing User: Marie Burton
Date Deposited: 08 Mar 2018 15:08
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2022 20:02
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/23831

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