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Enhancing Research Culture in Social Justice Lawyering

Reclaiming access to social justice.

This project developed a programme of events in partnership with the Law Centres Network that brought together grassroots lawyers and academics working on social welfare and social justice in order to cultivate connections between them.

Led by Dr Tara Mulqueen from the School of Law, the research team aimed to gain a better understanding of the barriers to creating these connections and explore ways of overcoming them.

Over the course of the project, the team worked closely with the Law Centres Network to develop the overarching theme for the collaboration: Reclaiming Access to Justice. Within this theme, the team identified three main topics which reflect contemporary concerns and challenges in access to justice work from both an academic and a practical perspective. These topics were:

  • Access to What

  • Beyond Digital Exclusion

  • Community Lawyering and Movement Building.

Public engagement

The team created a public event on each of these topics, with each event featuring 5-7 academic and practitioner speakers.

The speakers were invited to give short ‘provocations’ on the topic and these were followed by discussions. In total, 17 speakers from 15 different organisations attended, including universities, law centres, third sector organisations and activist groups.

The events were collectively attended by more than 120 people, with two events taking place online and one in-person event at Warwick.

Sharing the conversation more widely

The team also produced a series of podcasts (available soon) drawing on the events and featuring interviews with many of the speakers as a way of sharing the conversation more widely and helping to establish a recognisable space for conversation and collaboration.

Outcomes from the activities

  • A strong working relationship between Warwick Law in the Community and the Law Centres Network that will serve as the basis for continued collaboration

  • A better understanding of shared areas of concern and potential collaboration between academics and practitioners in relation to social justice lawyering, as well as barriers to participation and ways of overcoming them

  • A reproducible model for convening public research events that feature both academics and practitioners on equal terms, fostering conversation between these groups that would not otherwise have happened

  • An emerging conversation around the theme of reclaiming access to justice and an expanded community of academics and practitioners engaged with one another in questions of social justice lawyering

  • A longer-term strategy for enhancing research cultures around social justice lawyering.

Find out more about the project.