Older people and legal advice – the need for joined up and creative approaches

Joe Duffy, Subhajit Basu, Katherine Pearson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This paper reports the findings from research conducted with older people in Northern
Ireland which investigated whether their needs for legal information and advice were
being met. One of the unique aspects of the research involved investigating the
potential of the internet as a possible source for advising older people in relation to
legal problems. The findings suggest that online legal information may frequently assist
older people in identifying potential answers to their legal questions, but may not be an
adequate substitute for personal communication and advice. The research also
highlights the need for professionals to work together to meet the needs of older
persons for legal advice and to safeguard their interests. Such ‘joined up’ approaches
are particularly important, for example at the point of dementia diagnosis, where
information sharing between health and social care professionals may significantly
promote the legal and welfare interests of older people at a vulnerable point in their
lives. This paper therefore turns to work by university-based legal clinics in the United
States, such as the Elder Law Clinic at Pennsylvania State University, where social
work or healthcare professionals, lawyers and law students collaborate to support older
people in their search for resolution of legal problems.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-47
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Social Welfare and Family Law
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 03 Jul 2012


  • older people; older adults; elderly; legal information/advice; internet;

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law
  • Sociology and Political Science


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