Decentering Law through Public Legal Education

24 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2017 Last revised: 23 Dec 2017

See all articles by Lisa Wintersteiger

Lisa Wintersteiger

Law for Life; University of London, Birkbeck College

Tara Mulqueen

University of London - Birkbeck College; University of Warwick - School of Law

Date Written: October 25, 2017

Abstract

English Abstract: Public legal education (PLE) has received renewed attention in the context of deregulation and recent cuts to publicly funded legal assistance in the UK. However, while PLE practices can support access to justice and supplement provision, they also risk placing the burden of responsibility for coping with legal problems on those most in need of support. In this paper we will argue this tension plays on a false dichotomy between education and advice, one that we suggest arises partly as a consequence of the discourse of legal need, in which law can come to seem like the best or the only way of framing social relations. However PLE works an important ‘boundary of law’: the division between who can know, speak about and access the law, and who cannot. As such, we argue that it can critically ‘decenter’ the law and expose law’s political contingency.

Spanish Abstract: Si bien la práctica de la Educación Jurídica Pública (EJP) puede ayudar a acceder a la justicia y complementar sus servicios, también presenta el riesgo de cargar a los necesitados de ayuda con la responsabilidad de lidiar con los problemas legales. En este artículo, argumentaremos que esa tensión se alimenta de una falsa dicotomía entre educación y asistencia, dicotomía que, en nuestra opinión, surge en parte como consecuencia del discurso de la necesidad jurídica, en el cual el derecho viene a presentarse como la mejor o la única manera de enmarcar las relaciones sociales. Sin embargo, la EJP desempeña un papel importante en un 'límite de la legalidad': el que existe entre los que conocen, tratan y acceden al derecho, y aquellos que no. Así pues, argumentamos que puede 'descentralizar' de forma crítica el derecho y exponer la contingencia política del derecho.

Keywords: Public Legal Education, Access to Justice, Law and the Political, Educación jurídica pública, acceso a la justicia, derecho y política

Suggested Citation

Wintersteiger, Lisa and Mulqueen, Tara and Mulqueen, Tara, Decentering Law through Public Legal Education (October 25, 2017). Oñati Socio-Legal Series, Vol. 7, No. 7, 2017, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3058991

Lisa Wintersteiger (Contact Author)

Law for Life ( email )

Tagwright House, 35-41 Westland Pl
London, N1 7LP
United Kingdom

University of London, Birkbeck College ( email )

Malet Street
London
United Kingdom

Tara Mulqueen

University of London - Birkbeck College ( email )

Malet Street
London, WC1E 7HX
United Kingdom

University of Warwick - School of Law ( email )

Gibbet Hill Road
Coventry CV4 7AL, CV4 7AL
United Kingdom

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