Welcome to the October edition of the Law for Life newsletter. This issue promotes the first in our series of informal after-work seminars; reviews our report into the information needs of self-represented litigants; and profiles our work of developing e-learning modules.
We also welcome two new staff members to Law for Life. Tara Mulqueen joins us as Education Coordinator and Janette McCulloch as Project Administrator.
Meeting the information needs of litigants in person
Last week, the Ministry of Justice announced funding to support people who have to represent themselves in court - 'litigants in person'. It is clear that this funding can't fill the gap left by cuts to legal aid and it will take time to develop a national service, but the focus on the needs of litigants in person (LiPs) is very welcome.
Against this background, the publication of the report ‘Meeting the information needs of litigants in person’, commissioned by the Civil Justice Council from Law for Life’s Advicenow team is very timely.
The report makes three key recommendations:
- Put litigants in person at the centre of legal information production
- Fill topic gaps by producing effective LiP focused materials
- Build the capacity and expertise of those involved in producing public legal information
The report includes the results of a survey of 182 judges, litigants in person and organisations producing information for litigants in person. It also reviews best practice from other sectors and a wide range of jurisdictions around the world.
The report goes well beyond making the case for re-thinking the way information for litigants in person is produced. It includes considerable detail on how this could be done and provides the basis of an information strategy for the future.
Read the full article
Read the report: Meeting the information needs of litigants in person
Law for Life is in the process of producing our first two e-learning modules designed for community groups to use with people in their communities.
The first module, ‘Finding out about the law’, focuses on the vital skills of how to recognise law-related situations and how to find and use reliable information on rights and the law.
The second module ‘Sanctions’, looks both at how to avoid benefit sanctions and how to deal with them when they do happen.
Our community-based public legal education projects have been shown to have enormous potential for effecting lasting change in the ability of individuals to understand legal frameworks, develop the core legal skills, and secure legal entitlements. In this project, we want to test if an e-learning approach might also have an impact. If it is successful, the availability of e-learning could increase the ability of community groups, advice agencies and support services to undertake PLE interventions with their client groups.
We have chosen to focus on individuals in disadvantaged groups for these first two modules as they are more likely to struggle to resolve law-related issues. Individuals from high-need groups are less likely to have access to technology or the ability to use it confidently. Consequently, we have designed these e-learning modules to be used with support in a community setting. Thanks to the Legal Education Foundation for funding this project.
If you would be interested in receiving details of these modules when they become available please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Read the full article
29 October 2014