Centre for Access to Justice


Health Justice Research

Health Justice Research at UCL Laws

It has been well established by existing research that there is a close relationship between unresolved legal problems and health. The Faculty's own research has demonstrated that without intervention, these problems can "cascade", causing poor health through financial difficulties, worsening living conditions, stress and anxiety. For those already experiencing multiple disadvantage, legal advice and representation can play a key role in addressing the underlying social determinants which have contributed to ill health such as poor housing, homelessness, and financial instability. 

There is growing recognition that partnerships between health and legal advice services are fundamental to assisting patients in need. Legal advice services may also help doctors support pateints where legal problems are an underlying cause of poor health. 

Integrated into the work of the UCL Integrated Legal Advice Clinic (UCL iLAC), our current research focuses on the role and impact of health-justice partnerships. These are services where legal advice and healthcare services are working together to provide holistic support to patients. This research is investigating how the provision of free legal advice in a primary care setting is associated with the health and wellbeing of individuals who use the service. Specifically, the project is looking at the following aspects:

  • The burden of ill health (both mental and physical) among those seeking legal advice at the clinic, and how this is related to their legal problems.
  • Whether health status (both mental and physical) changes in the months following the receipt of legal advice.
  • How health-related behaviours (such as smoking and drinking) may be related to having a civil legal problem, and whether these behaviours change following the receipt of legal advice.
  • Whether receiving legal advice affects how often patients use the GP.
  • Clients’ perspectives on tackling legal problems in a primary healthcare setting.
  • Perspectives of GP practice staff on co-located legal advice services and how this can contribute to professional practice.

There are still important questions to be answered about the outcomes and health impact of legal advice services. We aim to contribute to this evidence base by undertaking robust research at UCL iLAC. We also champion the movement towards a recognised role for legal advice services as part of social prescribing schemes across the NHS.

Health Justice Videos 

"When Lawyers are Good for Your Health"- 2018 UCL Laws Bentham Association Presidential Address, Professor Dame Hazel Genn

"Why the courts are as important as hospitals to the nation's health"- 2009 UCL Lunch Hour Lecture, Professor Dame Hazel Genn  

The Value of Health Justice Partnerships Research Information 



FileParticipant Information Sheet

FileResearch Summary

FileConsent Form

For more information on the project, please see the listing on the ISRCTN database

Health Justice Research Reports and Materials

PDF iconHealth Justice Partnerships International Workshop Background Materials and Full Event Report