Law and the 'Stbx': Online Fora and the 'Delegalised Space' of Family Law

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Following the cuts to Legal Aid enacted in the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO), this paper addresses the ways in which the boundaries of law are being re-drawn in the field in which the effects of these changes have been most immediate and visible, namely Family Law. It uses the term delegalised space to describe the situation in which large numbers of ex-partners who would previously have been able to access legal advice and information are now having to make arrangements with regard their finances and children with little or no contact with the courts or any formal legal advice. The paper presents a case study of the two most frequented online fora in this field – Mumsnet Talk and Netmums Coffeehouse – describing how the delegalised space also indicates a period of significant re-composition of the role of law in shaping the separation process.
Original languageEnglish
Article number865
Pages (from-to)1421-1444
Number of pages24
JournalOñati Socio-Legal Series
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 5 Dec 2017


  • Divorce
  • legal consciousness
  • gender
  • legal aid


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