Delivering legal aid in Newfoundland : an exploration of decision making, emotional labour and time management

MacDonald, Johanna Alexena (2001) Delivering legal aid in Newfoundland : an exploration of decision making, emotional labour and time management. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

This thesis explores the delivery of services to clients requiring legal representation in the Newfoundland Legal Aid System. Generally, the aim of legal aid is the provision of legal representation to persons that are unable to afford these services. A qualitative methodological approach, using semi-structured questionnaires, was used to collect data for this study. Twenty-four organizational members were interviewed including: thirteen staff lawyers, two intake workers, two receptionists, six legal secretaries and the Director of Legal Aid for Newfoundland. Because the Newfoundland Legal Aid System was intentionally sought as a research site, a non-probability sampling technique, known as purposive sampling, was used. In order to provide a varied perspective on service delivery to clients, a cross-sectional view of various work roles and practices was examined in conjunction with the organizational environment of legal aid. To facilitate this exploration the following three concepts were used: the decision making process, emotional labour (known as the management of client emotions) and the element of time. -- While organizational rules govern and structure the decision making process in an effort to dispense uniform delivery of services, research findings indicate that organizational members across various occupational categories have the capability to influence the determination of client eligibility for legal aid funding. Though a lack of uniformity with regard to service delivery could suggest unfairness, findings indicate that the acceptance of some cases requires the consideration of extenuating factors that may be particular to a case. Emotional labour, engendered by clients and accompanied by organizational pressures to provide services with limited budgets and voluminous caseloads, has the capacity to negatively influence the work roles of organizational members by usurping a valuable and limited commodity - work time. Also, the computer system, recently installed for administrative purposes within the Newfoundland Legal Aid Organization, is generally regarded as slowing down the production of work tasks. Consequently, the ensuant provision of services to clients can, at times, be negatively affected.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/1220
Item ID: 1220
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 164-174.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Sociology
Date: 2001
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Newfoundland and Labrador Legal Aid Commission;Legal aid--Newfoundland and Labrador;

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