UCL Faculty of Laws


Access to Justice: Theory and Practice (LAWS0321)

This module explores contemporary issues concerning access legal advice, representation and ‘justice’, including detailed examination of the impacts of Covid-19 on the delivery of justice.

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 Covid-19 pandemic, the module will explore the principle of access to justice as central to the rule of law, and how courts and lawyers responded to the dramatic changes caused by the virus.

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 and other 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 UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Module syllabus

This module is subject to change: because the module addresses topical issues, some areas of focus may be updated to reflect changing circumstances.

  • 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
  • Covid-19 Case Study: Criminal Law
  • 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 and viewing

Key information

Module details
Credit value:22.5 credits (11.25 ECTS, 225 learning hours)
Convenor:Sonia Kalsi; Karen Noakes
Other Teachers:Dr John Sorabji, Rachel Knowles
Teaching Delivery:Face to Face Seminar
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:TBD
Final Assessment:3,000 Word Essay (100%)