Self-Helpers Need Help Too

Department of Justice research carried out in 2010 examined the problem solving strategies adopted by those who attempt to resolve legal problems without resorting to either legal or non-legal advice or assistance. Self-helpers are more likely to be older, high income, formally educated and not disabled. More than one third of respondents reported feeling that they would have obtained a better outcome had they been able to access legal assistance. The author argues for further research to examine the ways in which people use PLEI, the degree of success based on its use and the reasons people resort to self-help. PLEI providers are urged to consider the provision not only of legal information but also approaches to effective problem solving. Further, while PLEI providers are increasing drawn to web based delivery approaches, the research suggests that users of these materials are more likely to do so out of causal interest rather than purposefully seek out the information when confronted with legal issues.