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Vol 21 No 9 Sept/Oct 2016

Book of the Month

Cover of Goode on Commercial Law

Goode on Commercial Law

Edited by: Ewan McKendrick
Price: £170.00

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Legal Aid Lawyers and the Quest for Justice

ISBN13: 9781849464338
Published: August 2013
Publisher: Hart Publishing
Country of Publication: UK
Format: Hardback
Price: £45.00

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This book examines the state of access to criminal justice by considering the health of the lawyer-client relationship under legal aid. In the largest study of its kind for some two decades, ethnographic fieldwork is used to gain a fresh perspective upon the interaction that lies at the heart of the criminal justice system's equality of arms.

The research produces two contradictory messages; in interview, lawyers claim a positive relationship with their clients while, under participant observation, there emerges quite the opposite.

Paying more heed to what was seen than what was said, it is supposed that these lawyers were able to talk the talk but not walk the walk. The lawyers treat their clients with wanton disrespect; making fun of them, talking over them and pushing them to plead guilty – despite protestations to the contrary.

The evidence is damning for this branch of the legal profession – and tragic for the clients who depend on them. What is responsible for this malaise…inadequate financial remuneration? Increased time pressures? Lapsed ethical training? Whatever the origin, this book is intended to show the profession that there is a problem – one that could get worse unless they choose to learn from the mistakes made by the lawyers in this study.

General Interest
Chapter One - Access to Justice and the Lawyer-Client Relationship
Chapter Two - Investigating the Reality of Legally Aided Criminal Defence
Chapter Three - Attitudes What Lawyers said about Attitudes What I saw on Attitudes Attitudes
Chapter Four - Behaviour What Lawyers said about Behaviour What I saw on Behaviour Behaviour
Chapter Five - Outcomes What Lawyers said about Outcomes What I saw on Outcomes Outcomes
Chapter Six - Some Concluding Thoughts: Access to Justice and the Lawyer-Client Relationship Revisited