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Exploring Access to Justice from a Variety of Perspectives (Program)

Liz Curran, Australian National University (Australia); Elaine Campbell, Northumbria University (UK); and Julian Webb, Melbourne Law School (Australia)

Moderator: Elaine Hall, Northumbria University (UK) 

Exploring Access to Justice from a Variety of Perspectives


Liz Curran: Health Justice Partnership - Multi-Disciplinary Practices Research Evidencing Working Ethically To Ensure Reach To Those In Most Need & Improve Outcomes 

This paper will examine the emergence of Health Justice Partnerships (HJP) in Australia and will discuss some action research evaluations that embedded in services from start-up that being undertaken by Dr Curran. The evaluation research not only measures service effectiveness but also examines and measures positive outcomes and any progress in the social determinants of health as a result of the intervention. As the research is gathered what is emerging is the elements leading to effectiveness for lawyers working in integrated models. Non legal professionals such as allied health and health professionals work with lawyers on site with a focus on problem solving a client/patients often complex and multiple problems. The paper will explore how they have found ways to not just work ethically but building a mutual capacity and an awareness of ethical boundaries as well as 'work arounds' that ensure ethical practice but also focus on client outcomes. This has seen a building of understandings of different roles and duties of different professionals, a breaking down of barriers and stereotypes of lawyers and closer co-operation and respect emerging. The paper will flag the types of lawyer and lawyering that are evidently helpful in ensuring multi disciplinary teams can work together more holistically and systemically to achieve better outcomes for clients and community.

Elaine Campbell and Victoria Murray: The Role of Clinical Legal Education in a New Age of Austerity: The Ethical Dilemma

There is a growing deficit in the availability of legal services for the poor. In this new age of austerity, low income people who find themselves in legal difficulty are increasingly unadvised and unrepresented.

Traditionally, clinical legal education programs have focused on the provision of free legal advice to those who cannot afford to pay for it. Law clinics have been part of a community of pro bono providers that have tried to plug the justice gap. However, in recent years there has been a movement towards clinic for education. Some clinics have concentrated on providing their students with the best possible educational experience, rather than delivering the greatest amount of free advice to the most vulnerable. This means choosing cases carefully, limiting the number of cases, and moving away from (or avoiding) means testing.

Ethically, is it incumbent on law school clinics to fill an ever increasing gap in legal provision for the poor? Or does the fact that law students are paying substantial fees means that it is ethically right to put education first? Would it be wrong to limit students’ experiences to the areas that traditionally affect low income clients? Or, morally, do we have a duty to help those in greatest need?

We are two experienced clinicians. We work in the same law school clinic. You would expect us to have the same view on the questions posed above. But we do not. Our paper is a unique opportunity for delegates to hear two clinicians debate the question of whether clinical legal education should be used to fill the void created by cuts to legal aid.

Julian Webb: The Ethics of the Gift: The Moral Economy of Pro Bono Publico

This paper seeks to bring a new perspective to the debate about the regulation of pro bono, by framing the practice conceptually within a 'moral economy' of legal professionalism. By tracing the development of norms of 'soft regulation' for pro bono activity in Australia and the UK, the paper argues that pro bono can be best understood as an activity located between the gift and market economies. In conclusion, some implications of this reframing of pro bono for ethics and regulation are considered. 

View other papers within this theme.