Where the wild things are: the challenges and opportunities of the unregulated legal services landscape in family law

Leanne Smith, Emma Hitchings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

This article connects two trends in contemporary legal scholarship that do not often intersect, namely commentary on the increasingly diverse nature of family law advice and support services, and calls for a refresh of the regulatory environment in which legal services in general are provided. Focusing on the law and landscape in England and Wales, we argue that regulatory challenges are particularly acute in the field of family law, where the range and reach of services provided by non-lawyers is extraordinary. We illustrate how particular aspects of debates over regulating and diversifying legal services apply to the family law context, noting that such concerns as there are have not always been well targeted. Finally, we identify a sub-set of innovative ‘extra-legal’ services that set private family law even further apart from other sub-fields of law when it comes to regulatory and professional challenge. These services clearly sit inside the landscape of family dispute resolution but equally clearly fall outside the boundaries of what is usually considered ‘legal’. This, we suggest, highlights the need for a concerted effort to define the contours of family law and family legal services so that a holistic approach might be taken to understanding and managing the standards and effectiveness of different service and support types.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages18
JournalLegal Studies
Volume61
Issue number4
Early online date29 Mar 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2023 The Author(s).

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