The Legal Services Board has today launched research into the experiences of consumers in vulnerable circumstances when they use legal service.
Focusing specifically on people with dementia and mental health problems (and their carers) this research set out to explore their experiences of accessing legal services and to identify what can be done to improve accessibility, service experience and outcomes.
This research is published at a time when a study in the British Medical Journal last week by University College London and the University of Liverpool suggests more than 1.2 million people in England and Wales will be living with dementia by 2040.
Neil Buckley, LSB Chief Executive remarking on the research said:
“This qualitative research improves our understanding of how consumers with mental health problems and dementia (and those caring for them) experience legal services.
Sometimes small actions can make a big difference to consumers, particularly those who are vulnerable. When providers take simple practical steps this can a big difference to the consumer experience.
Consumers can help too, for example by telling their lawyer if there are things they could do that would help make things easier for them.”
David Sinclair of Solicitors for the Elderly said:
“Solicitors for the Elderly welcomes the report’s findings, which throws light on an important part of the legal sector. Our accreditation is designed to ensure professionals have a wealth of experience and training to help put older and vulnerable people at ease when dealing with complex legal issues, and we encourage any increased awareness and improvement of accessibility for these consumers.”
Amit Popat, Head of Equality and Access to Justice, Bar Standards Board said:
“Bar Standards Board Head of Equality and Access to Justice, Amit Popat said: "We welcome this important piece of research by the Legal Services Board. As one of the frontline legal regulators, our focus is on helping to protect vulnerable members of our society and to help them access legal services when they need them. We will study carefully the findings of this research amongst people with dementia and mental health problems and assess where we might use it to inform our own regulations in relation to access to barristers.”