Access to justice is increasingly significant as public funding of legal services is reduced. Research has consistently shown that huge numbers of those with multiple legal problems do not access effective legal help.
On Monday 22nd November we were delighted to play host to a fascinating and uplifting research seminar given by our visiting scholar, Dr Liz Curran from Australian National University. Liz has led a number of projects evaluating the work of organisations which place lawyers in the premises of health providers. Health staff act as trusted intermediaries for disadvantaged patients, arranging for them to see the lawyers on site about their unmet legal needs, including family violence, debt and housing. In addition, these professionals can consult a lawyer about the legal process and better support their patients/clients which builds professional capacity of the health staff. This not only helps patients address their legal problems, but relieving the legal problems has a postive effect on their health.
The session, which also involved a powerful discussion, was attended by law school and NLS legal advice centre staff and students (including LLM Health Law), as well as colleagues from social sciences and participants from local NGOs.