Capability for everyday life
Our successfull community education project ‘Legal capability for everyday life’ has now been evaluated. The project, which ran through 2012, delivered a course of six legal education sessions to three different groups in London. The evaluation, by the Gilfillan Partnership, used the public legal education evaluation framework developed by the University of Bristol.
The project involved three advice agencies and a national brain injuries charity. A six week course was designed for their learners: refugees from Afghanistan, local community activists and adults with acquired brain injuries.
The sessions were based on a curriculum that helped learners recognise the legal dimension of issues, understand basic legal concepts and how to deal with problems, plus more detailed knowledge of welfare benefits, housing, and employment discrimination rights.
The evaluation results showed a strong improvement in the legal capability of the people participating in the course; they were better able to recognise the legal dimension of issues and more confident that they could tackle these issues or seek appropriate help when necessary. The evaluation report said:
‘The PLE course represents an accessible and relatively low-cost measure which advice agencies can use to help their users to become better able to manage their everyday lives without recourse to increasingly limited advice service provision
The evaluation report noted that there was a strong need for continuing support from Law for Life to promote high quality PLE, develop resources, share good practice and evidence the impacts of PLE. They also recommend that Law for Life’s pilot work be extended to cover a wider range of advice agencies.
The project was funded by the Barings Foundation as part of its strategy to promote prevention and early action as an integral part of the work of advice services.
Read more and download the report: Legal capability for everyday life
Director, Law for LIfe
Self efficacy and legal empowerment
Why do some people feel able to act to deal with legal problems when others don’t? What makes some people feel empowered when others lack confidence?
Robert Porter and colleagues at Tilburg University in the Netherlands have created the concept of Subjective Legal Empowerment (SLE) to establish how people view their ability to solve legal problems.
His work builds on the self efficacy theory developed by Albert Bandura in the late 1960s and aims to provide a way of accurately assessing legal empowerment in individuals. The challenge is to measure legal empowerment, and through measuring it, to evaluate improvements.
Research is currently being carried out in the UK, Netherlands, Kenya and Azerbaijan with promising results. The model should be enable providers of PLE to pinpoint when interventions are likely to have the greatest effect.
Read Robert’s article on subjective legal empowerment and self efficacy