University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Group > 'Let's get it over with': Early findings on the factors affecting detainees' access to custodial legal advice

'Let's get it over with': Early findings on the factors affecting detainees' access to custodial legal advice

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In this seminar I explore why detainees in police custody decline free and independent legal advice when it is offered to them on arrival at the police station. To do this, I draw on three kinds of data (participant-observation, interviews and custody records) collected in a predominantly privatised police custody area in the South-East of England. Detainees’ decisions to decline legal advice were shaped by their perceptions of it (e.g. how long they would have to wait to consult with a solicitor). These perceptions were in turn affected by the practices of solicitors (e.g. only attending the police station immediately prior to detainees’ interviews) and the practices of police and private security staff (e.g. their use of informal conversations and negative stereotypes about solicitors). To conclude I examine the implications of the research for police-solicitor relationships, the privatisation of the police custody process and importantly detainees’ access to justice.

This talk is part of the Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Group series.

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