UCL Faculty of Laws


Access to Justice: Theory and Practice (LAWS0321)

This module explores contemporary issues concerning public access legal advice, representation and ‘justice’ within the legal system.

This module explores contemporary issues concerning public access legal advice, representation and ‘justice’ within the legal system and the role of access to justice in mitigating inequalities and promoting social justice.  In the context of the recent Covid-19 pandemic, the module will explore the principle of access to justice as central to the rule of law, and how unmet legal need can exacerbate health-harming inequalities

Students will engage with research on the challenges faced by underserved, disadvantaged and vulnerable groups in accessing and benefiting from legal services as a result of lack of knowledge about rights and entitlements, inability to pay for legal services, and decreasing supply of free sources of advice and representation.

Focusing on law in action rather than law on the books, the course adopts an interdisciplinary approach drawing on the Faculty’s world-leading research and the work of its Centre for Access to Justice pro-bono activity. It demonstrates the connections between legal, social and health problems; the obstacles to getting legal advice and potential remedies offered through grassroots and strategic levels via courts and tribunals.

Students will explore leading empirical research in the field as well as practical examples of Covid-19 related impacts and recent strategic litigation. While the course will have a strong focus on England and Wales, there will be some comparative components with other jurisdictions and draw on international sources such as the OECD and the United National Sustainable Development Goal 16.

Module syllabus

This module is subject to change.

  • Access to Justice in Critical Context
  • The Theoretical Framework for Access to Justice
  • Funding Access to Justice
  • Legal Services and Legal Aid Provision
  • Invisible Disability and Access to Justice
  • Criminal Law and Access to Justice
  • Covid-19 Case Study: Family Justice
  • Covid-19 Case Study: Social Care
  • Online courts and access to justice after Covid-19
  • The Future of Access to Justice Legal Practice

Recommended materials

Module reading lists and other module materials will be provided via online module pages, once students have made their module selections upon enrolment.

Preliminary reading

Key information

Module details
Credit value:22.5 credits (225 learning hours)
Convenor:Dr Rob George, Sonia Kalsi
Other Teachers:Dr John Sorabji, Rachel Knowles
Teaching Delivery:Teaching for all LLM modules in 2020-21 will be delivered through a combination of pre-recorded and synchronous live teaching
Who may enrol:LLM Students Only
Must not be taken with:None
Qualifying module for:LLM in Law and Social Justice;
LLM in Human Rights Law;
LLM in Public Law
Practice Assessment:TBC
Final Assessment:Essay (3,000 words)