UCL Faculty of Laws


Legal Needs and Legal Assistance (LAWS0163)

YouTube Widget Placeholderhttps://youtu.be/6FMkrC9Z6ro

Legal needs and Legal Assistance takes a step away from the traditional legal classroom and formal court system, to explore the experience of law, dispute resolution behaviour and nature of support services employed by citizens of England and Wales, and beyond. This exploration is conducted from the perspective of (potential) users of legal assistance services and legal assistance services policy makers. It is relevant to those with an interest in access to justice, social justice, and the nature and development of public legal assistance, including legal aid.

Module syllabus

  • Legal problems and real lives
  • Public legal assistance services: A demography
  • Public understanding of law and legal services
  • How the public resolve legal problems
  • Legal needs in the police station
  • Legal needs, ‘one shotters’ and ‘repeat players’
  • Mirroring legal needs: The challenge of matching legal assistance to legal needs
  • Meeting legal needs: Regulatory and legal aid reform
  • Lawyer and client: Roles and expectations
  • Does it matter anyway? The impact of advice and legal representation

Recommended materials

Module reading lists and other module materials will be provided via online module pages, available at the beginning of term once students have enrolled.

Preliminary reading

Background reading (optional):

  • Galanter, M. (1974) “Why the ‘Haves’ Come Out Ahead: Speculations on the Limits of Legal Change,” in 9(1) Law and Society Review, pp. 95-160
  • Heinz, J.P., Nelson, R.L., Sandefur, R.L., Laumann, E.O. (2005), Urban Lawyers: The New Social Structure of the Bar, Chicago: University of Chicago Press
  • Moorhead, R., Sherr, A. and Paterson, A. (2003), “Contesting Professionalism: Legal Aid and Non-lawyers in England and Wales” in 37(4) Law and Society Review, pp. 765-808
  • Pleasence, P. (2006) Causes of Action: Civil Law and Social Justice, Norwich: TSO
  • Pleasence, P., Kemp, V. and Balmer, N.J. (2011) The “The Justice Lottery: Police Station Advice 25 Years on from PACE” in Criminal Law Review, January 2011
  • Pleasence, P., Coumarelos, C., Forell, S. and McDonald, H. (2014), Reshaping Legal Assistance Services: Building on the Evidence Base. Sydney: Law and Justice Foundation of New South Wales.
  • Seron, C., Van Ryzin, G., Frankel, M. and Kovath, J. (2001), “The Impact of Legal Counsel on Outcomes for Poor Tenants in New York City’s Housing Court: Results of a Randomized Experiment,” 35(2) Law and Society Review, pp. 419-434

Key information

Module details
Credit value:15 credits (7.5 ECTS, 150 learning hours)
Convenor:Pascoe Pleasence
Other Teachers:None
Teaching Delivery:10 x 2-hour weekly seminars, Term Two
Who may enrol:LLM students only
Must not be taken with:None
Qualifying module for:LLM in Criminal Justice, Family, and Social Welfare;
LLM in Human Rights Law;
LLM in Public Law
Practice Assessment:Opportunity for feedback on essay plan or draft essay
Final Assessment:Essay (100%)