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Title: The impact of criminal legal aid finance reduction on the work of defence lawyers
Author: Thornton, J. W. A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7225 339X
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis investigates the criminal justice system of England and Wales – in particular, the criminal legal aid system: how those who are unable to afford their own defence lawyer are provided with advice and representation. Building on the work of Packer’s criminal justice process models of Due Process and Crime Control; later works critical of Packer’s approach; and Bourdieu’s concepts of habitus, field and capital, it constructs a new and enhanced way of understanding and analysing the values at play in the criminal justice process: the toolbox approach. Using this framework, it analyses the findings from empirical research into how changes to defence lawyer fees impact their work. Drawing on 29 in-depth qualitative interviews with solicitors and barristers of varying levels of experience, it uncovers the impact of criminal legal aid finance on defence lawyer behaviour and how this operates. It also makes findings as to the state and operation of the criminal justice process in broader terms. Chapter 1 outlines the legal aid system and introduces the research question in detail. Chapter 2 builds on this by analysing how to answer the research question, discussing the research methods and methodology and introducing the role played by criminal justice process models and Bourdieu’s concepts of habitus, field and capital. Chapter 3 considers the literature on criminal justice process models in detail, advancing an argument that criticisms of Packer’s work are useful, but ultimately misplaced. Chapter 4 builds on the foregoing discussion to construct the multi-dimensional analysis tool: the toolbox approach. Chapters 5 and 6 apply this framework to analyse the empirical data and draw conclusions from it about legal aid finance. Finally, in Chapter 7, there are some concluding remarks, which reflect on the overall analysis and consider its implications.
Supervisor: Gurnham, David Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available