Legal Choices - Silent Process: Engaging legal services when you do not hear

Jim G Kyle, Hilary L Sutherland, Sheryl Stockley

    Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

    Abstract

    Deaf and hard of hearing people offer a severe test of our aspirations for access to justice and equality of service. In Legal Choices-Silent Process, we have examined the experiences of Deaf and hard of hearing people in their contact with the complex and varied legal services in England and Wales.
    Between late October 2011 and early January 2012, we have identified and interviewed 26 Deaf and 15 hard of hearing people who have had direct experience of legal services in recent years. Semi-structured interviews were conducted in British Sign Language and in speech and text as appropriate. Analysis has been carried out in the same medium as the recordings (rather than having to transcribe the data) and the qualitative analysis has attempted to draw out the primary themes of Deaf and hard of hearing engagement with legal services.
    We have also interviewed 8 (mostly) younger people who have not had recent experience of legal services, in order to determine their foresight in regard to the engagement in future with legal professionals.
    The project report presents this qualitative analysis and sets in the context of the LSCP objectives and the statutory duties of the Legal Services Board.
    Deaf and deafened people encounter problems at every level from receptionist through advisers, solicitors, barristers to judges. There were no reports of any central support infrastructure to aid in this access. Hard of hearing people experience these difficulties to a different extent. Problems reported tend to outweigh the few examples of very good practice.
    We have tried to set the findings in both a historical and cultural context and to build a picture of the not only what Deaf and hard of hearing people say, but of the meaning which underpins their perceptions and their discourse.
    We have offered some suggestions for change and development and have tried to set the highest priority in the understanding of the way in which Deaf and hard of hearing people engage with legal professionals. Only by understanding this do we believe will the necessary adjustments be made.
    Original languageEnglish
    PublisherLegal Services Consumer Panel & Solicitors Regulation Authority
    Commissioning bodyLegal Services Consumer Panel & Solicitors Regulation Authority
    Number of pages68
    Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2012

    Bibliographical note

    Report commissioned by the Legal Services Consumer Panel, the Solicitors Regulation Authority, and Action on Hearing Loss.

    Keywords

    • Deaf
    • Hard of Hearing
    • Access to Legal Services

    Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Legal Choices - Silent Process: Engaging legal services when you do not hear'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this