|TITLE:||ACCESS TO JUSTICE IN INDIA|
|PRINCIPLE INVESTIGATOR:||TUSHAUS, DAVID|
CRIMINAL JUSTICE, LEGAL STUDIES & SOCIAL WORK
File Created: July 7, 2012|
Department Chair Action Date: July 11, 2012
Current Status: Expedited Approval Granted
Action Date: July 11, 2012
Approval Expiration Date: July 11, 2013
|Confidentiality||Data are linked to individuals.|
STATEMENT OF PURPOSEI will evaluate how low-income populations receive legal assistance there, what types of legal problems are addressed and the effects legal services have on the poor. Increased understanding of their methods for delivering legal services, the effects of services on the poor, and other delivery methods may lead to new or improved approaches for expanding access to the poor in India and in other countries. The Fulbright Scholarship overseas part of the project will include observing, teaching and working in BHU’s legal clinic or other, similar venue. If possible, direct services will be provided while legal issues and delivery of services are studied. Involvement in the delivery of services sometimes helps to identify innovative approaches. The study will evaluate access to justice in terms of basic human needs for food, clothing, shelter, access to health care, peace in the home and criminal law issues. In the United States and India, individuals lack meaningful access to an attorney for civil and criminal legal problems. While low-income persons have a high number of legal related problems, many do not qualify for assistance from an over-burdened legal services system. Therefore, many low-income persons go without representation. This may affect people in numerous ways, including homelessness, unlawful evictions, state removal of children for failure to provide shelter, unpaid debts resulting in homelessness and bankruptcy, complicated blended families where legal rights to children and child support are almost impossible to sort out and loss of liberty while waiting for a trial to determine guilt in the criminal justice system.
STATEMENT OF RESEARCH METHODOLOGYI plan to take a qualitative and quantitative approach to the research of legal assistance to the poor and the effects of receiving or being denied legal services. Being in a foreign country where English is not the first language of my subjects may create some barriers in this research I will have to be flexible about to address. For the qualitative analysis I will make observations and interview clinic personnel and students (both of whom I anticipate will be able to speak English) to obtain data. I also hope to interview clients or enlist students to interview clients if the clients are not able to speak english. Information I would like to gather includes types of legal problems the clinic handles, the affects these legal problems have on the clinic’s clients, the workers perception of the effectiveness of the clinic and recommendations for improvements, from procedures used by the clinic to advocating for legislative changes to address a wide spread problem. I plan to develop a questionaire for this process. I hope to tape and have at least some of these interviews transcribed. For the quantitative analysis I plan to develop a survey which will be given anonymously to the clinic’s workers and clients to determine their impressions of the clinic and satisfaction with the results achieved and the service they received. Since the clinic may only do intake and referral, these interviews and surveys may be given outside the immediate clinic setting to where clients are referred (either a legal services organization or attorneys' offices). If a survey already exists for the clinic, then I will use that data. Input from clinic personnel and my host institution in India will be considered. Absent another model, I would like to use a survey similar to one that I developed as a Managing Attorney at Legal Aid of Western Missouri, which is still in use, and other surveys in use there.
ANTICIPATED RISKS AND BENEFITSThe risk in this study is minimal. There is no physical risk. Information gathered will only be taken from clients at the clinic. Surveys will be confidential. If interviews are conducted then either they will be confidential or releases will be obtained. Information will not likely be of a confidential nature as the focus of the study is on types of cases, access to justice and satisfaction with the process. However, confidential information will be kept confidential as necessary in a legal clinic setting.
SUBJECT SELECTIONThe clinic is open 2 hours per day five days a week. Any client acccessing the clinic may be interviewed or given a survey. There is no remuneration anticipated. There may be as many as 100 clients surveyed per week over a 20 week period.
CONFIDENTIALITYSurveys will be confidential. Interviewees will not be asked for names unless a release of confidentiality statement is requested consistent with oral history practices. This is not likely to be done on a wide basis; however, given the international nature of the project some flexibility needs to be available for this project.
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