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Publication - Professor Morag McDermont

    Working in Law’s Borderlands

    Translation and the Work of an Advice Office


    McDermont, M & Kirk, E, 2017, ‘Working in Law’s Borderlands: Translation and the Work of an Advice Office’. Oñati Socio-Legal Series, vol 7., pp. 1445-1464


    Increasingly people in the UK are turning to voluntary sector advice organisations for help and support in dealing with everyday problems. Here we argue that advice organisations, who work in the borderlands of law, are nevertheless key players in legal arenas, focusing on local Citizens Advice offices supporting clients with employment problems. We look at the making of advisers as border-workers through programmes which turn volunteers into employment advisers; and the paid advisers who inhabit spaces on the edges of the profession. We examine the social practices of these advisers, the ways in which law-work becomes translation and advice-work becomes a process of co-production between adviser and client. In concluding, we consider how far into the legal arena it is possible to go with limited resources; and what happens when translating the technicalities of law no longer works. Translation comes to mean advisers turning to their activist-selves and adopting political tactics.

    Full details in the University publications repository