Mind the Gap 2: An assessment of unmet legal need in England and Wales

LawWorks are delighted to once again be part of the Mind the Gap Project, run in conjunction with Hogan Lovells, Mishcon de Reya, Addleshaw Goddard, and Eversheds Sutherland. This innovative pro bono project, will see legal volunteers observe MP surgeries in order to record the types of legal problems that arise.


The Mind the Gap 2023 report is available to download from the Hogan Lovells website.


In 2016, Hogan Lovells ran a project called Mind the Gap: An assessment of unmet legal needs in London, in conjunction with the All Party Parliamentary Group on Pro Bono & Public Legal Education (“the APPG”), and LawWorks. At the time, a cohort of pro bono volunteer lawyers were trained up to spot legal and non-legal issues, and sat in 40 surgeries (at the invitation of 21 London MPs from across the political parties) and observed 325 constituent appointments, filling in a short survey each time about the needs presented at the surgeries. Following this groundwork, the observations were pulled together into a report and published: Mind the gap: an assessment of unmet legal need in London | a survey of MPs’ surgeries  

The aim of this report was to:

  • Assess current access to justice issues in London;
  • Discover the main areas of the law where access to justice issues occur;
  • Help inform future decision making at a policy level; and
  • Provide evidence to assist with allocation of future pro bono and financial resource.

By collecting data relating to the problems faced by constituents, the solutions offered by MPs and the availability of legal aid, it provided a snapshot of the issues in our system.

Following the 2016 project, Hogan Lovells worked with Southwark Law Centre to conduct a further, localised survey of Lewisham MPs and analyse other data regarding unmet legal need in Lewisham.  The report was published in 2018 (available from the Hogan Lovells website). This helped build the business case to establish a new Law Centre in Lewisham, which became a member of the Law Centres Network in 2020 and provides advice in areas including housing and immigration.

Five years after the initial Mind the Gap project, Hogan Lovells, LawWorks and the APPG, are joined by Mishcon de Reya, Eversheds Sutherland and Addleshaw Goddard to repeat this project, but on a larger scale, working with MPs across the country, to compare and contrast the lessons learnt from 2016 with 2022. We hope to once again produce evidence which can be used to identify legal needs, and potentially understand more about the relationship between the increased cost of living and the impact on the need for legal advice.   

For further information, please contact: mindthegap@lawworks.org.uk


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