Decentering Law through Public Legal Education

Authors

  • Lisa Wintersteiger Birkbeck College
  • Tara Mulqueen University of Warwick

Keywords:

Public legal education, juridification, legal need

Abstract

Public legal education (PLE) has received renewed attention in the context of deregulation and recent cuts to publicly funded legal assistance in the UK. However, while PLE practices can support access to justice and supplement provision, they also risk placing the burden of responsibility for coping with legal problems on those most in need of support. In this paper we will argue this tension plays on a false dichotomy between education and advice, one that we suggest arises partly as a consequence of the discourse of legal need, in which law can come to seem like the best or the only way of framing social relations. However PLE works an important boundary of law: the division between who can know, speak about and access the law, and who cannot. As such, we argue that it can critically decenter the law and expose law’s political contingency..

Si bien la práctica de la Educación Jurídica Pública (EJP) puede ayudar a acceder a la justicia y complementar sus servicios, también presenta el riesgo de cargar a los necesitados de ayuda con la responsabilidad de lidiar con los problemas legales. En este artículo, argumentaremos que esa tensión se alimenta de una falsa dicotomía entre educación y asistencia, dicotomía que, en nuestra opinión, surge en parte como consecuencia del discurso de la necesidad jurídica, en el cual el derecho viene a presentarse como la mejor o la única manera de enmarcar las relaciones sociales. Sin embargo, la EJP desempeña un papel importante en un límite de la legalidad: el que existe entre los que conocen, tratan y acceden al derecho, y aquellos que no. Así pues, argumentamos que puede descentralizar de forma crítica el derecho y exponer la contingencia política del derecho.

DOWNLOAD THIS PAPER FROM SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=3058991

Author Biographies

Lisa Wintersteiger, Birkbeck College

Lisa Wintersteiger is the CEO of Law for Life: the Foundation for Public Legal Education. She is currently completing a PhD at Birkbeck College, School of Law.

Tara Mulqueen, University of Warwick

Tara Mulqueen is an Assistant Professor at the Law School of the University of Warwick. She is also currently completing a PhD at Birkbeck College, School of Law. 

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Published

27-03-2017

How to Cite

Wintersteiger, L. and Mulqueen, T. (2017) “Decentering Law through Public Legal Education”, Oñati Socio-Legal Series, 7(7), pp. 1557–1580. Available at: https://opo.iisj.net/index.php/osls/article/view/867 (Accessed: 28 September 2021).