Closing the gate: family lawyers as gatekeepers to a holistic service

Angela Melville, Karen Laing

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    In 2001, the Legal Services Commission (LSC) introduced a new pilot, the Family Advice and Information Network (FAInS), which recognised that family law clients typically face a cluster of legal and non-legal issues. Family lawyers involved in FAInS were encouraged to address a client's legal problems, and then refer the client to other services for assistance with non-legal issues. In this way, family law clients were to be offered a holistic service, with the lawyer acting as a ‘case manager’ who helped match services to their client's individual needs. This article presents data drawn from an evaluation of FAInS, and shows that lawyers did not regularly refer their clients to other services, with referrals largely being limited to mediation. We conclude that family lawyers are not necessarily the most appropriate gatekeepers, and propose a number of alternatives for providing a multi-agency approach to resolving family law issues.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)167-189
    Number of pages23
    JournalInternational Journal of Law in Context
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


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