The Administrative Justice Council (AJC) is delighted to invite you to the launch of two reports which focus on social welfare advice during the COVID-19 pandemic. The first report, prepared by Dr. Naomi Creutzfeldt, Westminster University and Diane Sechi, Simmons & Simmons, on behalf of the AJC follows on from our ‘Digitisation and Accessing Justice in the Community Report’ published in April 2020, and looks at how frontline advice providers have adapted to the pandemic in delivering advice in social welfare law. It builds on the constructive advice from our first report to the Courts and Tribunals Reform Programme and highlights the impact of digitisation on frontline services and the people they serve.
The second report explores legal need and social welfare law advice in England and Wales during the COVID-19 pandemic. The research explores the idea of vulnerability and how it applies to both those experiencing social welfare-related issues, as well as the systems operating to give advice. Using this, the research considers the specific context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact that it has had on social welfare law needs, and the ability of the sector to meet these needs. Drawing on policy documents and three case studies accessed from law centres in England and Wales, it discusses the concept of legal need and the realities being experienced by the sector and the individuals who rely upon it. These case studies assist us in being able to critically consider the topics of vulnerability, changing needs and the role that technology is, and can play during the pandemic and beyond. Taken together, this research indicates that the COVID-19 crisis has in practice exposed several pre-existing fragilities between the state and its relationship with the advice sector, and the individuals who experience social welfare problems.
- Amanda Finlay CBE (Chair), Chair, Law for Life and JUSTICE Board member
- Dr. Naomi Creutzfeldt, Reader in Socio-Legal Studies, Westminster University and Co-Chair of the AJC Academic Panel
- Diane Sechi, Solicitor, Simmons & Simmons and member of the AJC Pro Bono and Advice Sector Panel
- Dr Daniel Newman, Senior Lecturer in Law, Cardiff University
- Dr Jess Mant, Lecturer in Law, Cardiff University
- Dr Faith Gordon, Senior Lecturer in Criminology, Australian National University
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