Bridging the Empirical Gap: New Insights into the Experience of Multiple Legal Problems and Advice Seeking

25 Pages Posted: 19 Jan 2013

See all articles by Marisol Smith

Marisol Smith

Government of the United Kingdom - Legal Services Research Centre (LSRC)

Alexy Buck

Legal Services Research Centre (LSRC)

Judith Sidaway

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Lesley Scanlan

Cardiff University Law School

Date Written: March 2013

Abstract

There is a substantial body of quantitative evidence that documents the incidence of legal problem clusters, the tendency of problems to occur together. It has also been shown that some people are at greater risk of multiple problem experience than others, in particular, disadvantaged groups. Various policy initiatives, most recently in England and Wales, have been implemented to address the links between civil legal problems. However, to date there has been little empirical research on how clients present with clusters and the success of legal advisors in detecting multiple problems, including the barriers and facilitators that might be relevant. This article presents findings from an extensive empirical study on Community Legal Advice Centres, which were introduced in England and Wales to deliver integrated advice provision. The data are drawn from a triangulated qualitative study comprising advice session observations, and first and follow‐up interviews with clients and advisors. The data confirm the existence of problem clusters, but provide a new dimension to research on problem clusters by demonstrating in detail how and why multiple problems are difficult to detect. This systematic insight offers important lessons for policy and service developments that target vulnerable groups with multiple problems.

Suggested Citation

Smith, Marisol and Buck, Alexy and Sidaway, Judith and Scanlan, Lesley, Bridging the Empirical Gap: New Insights into the Experience of Multiple Legal Problems and Advice Seeking (March 2013). Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, Vol. 10, Issue 1, pp. 146-170, 2013, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2203218 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jels.12006

Marisol Smith (Contact Author)

Government of the United Kingdom - Legal Services Research Centre (LSRC) ( email )

London WC1A 8TX
United Kingdom

Alexy Buck

Legal Services Research Centre (LSRC) ( email )

London WC1A 8TX
United Kingdom

Judith Sidaway

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

Lesley Scanlan

Cardiff University Law School ( email )

PO Box 427
Cardiff, Wales CF10 3AX
United Kingdom
+44 (0)29 2087 6789 (Phone)
+44 (0)29 2087 4097 (Fax)

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