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Dr Jess Mant

Dr Jess Mant

Lecturer in Law

School of Law and Politics

Email
mantj@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2087 5597
Campuses
2.07, Law Building, Museum Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3AX

Overview

I joined Cardiff Law School as a Lecturer in Law in July 2018, where I currently co-lead the Family Law module, teach on the Legal Foundations (LeFo) module, and supervise undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations.

My research specialises in family law, access to justice, legal aid and issues of structural inequality. I was recently awarded my PhD, which was based in the Centre for Law and Social Justice, at the University of Leeds. The title of this project was 'Litigants in Person and the Family Court: The Accessibility of Private Family Justice After LASPO'. The purpose of this research was to explore the impact of recent legal aid cuts to private family law, imposed by the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act (LASPO), particularly for those who are now consequently self-representing in private family law proceedings. By interviewing litigants in person about their experiences of the family court process, this project identifies several problems that exist for lay individuals attempting to navigate the family court without a lawyer, and emphasises the importance of conceptualising access to justice from the perspectives of court users themselves.

As part of completing this research, I have contributed to political consultations for law reform to the issues of domestic abuse and legal aid policy. Recently, this involved presenting my research findings to the Ministry of Justice, while they were undertaking a review of LASPO and its consequences for organisations, individuals, the court system and the legal professions.

Following the completion of this project, I am now working on plans to continue with this research, and I am particularly interested in thinking more broadly about how the family justice system may be reformed in a way that learns from the important changes implemented by LASPO. For example, I frequently work with not-for-profit, voluntary and charitable organisations such as Public Law Project and Welsh Women's Aid in order to inform best practices when assisting clients who are self-representing in family proceedings. In the past, this has involved organising joint academic and NFP workshops and events, which enabled academics, organistion representatives and volunteers to collaborate and inform each others work.

In addition to my role at Cardiff, I also sit on the Executive Board of the Socio-Legal Studies Association (SLSA), where I act as Social Media Officer and Blog Editor, as well as sit on the Book Committee and EDI Committee. As part of this role, I am responsible for managing the social media profiles of the Association, as well as co-judging nominations which are made to the annual SLSA socio-legal book prizes.

Since arriving in Cardiff, I have devoted time to learning basic Welsh Language skills, and passed my Mynediad exam in July 2019.

I actively tweet about my research (and other subjects of interest) from @JessMant1.

Biography

Before I arrived at Cardiff in 2018, I was working towards my PhD at the Centre for Social Justice, at the University of Leeds. Whilst I was based in Leeds, I lectured and taught on a variety of law modules within the School of Law.

My hobbies include reading sci-fi and running. I completed my first full marathon in May 2019, where I raised money for Public Law Project. For a while, I am going to stick to half marathons until I pull together the courage to try the full distance again!

Professional memberships

  • I act as an Executive Officer on the board of the Socio-Legal Studies Association (SLSA).
  • I am also a member of the Litigant in Person Network (part of the Litigant in Person Support Strategy).
  • I work closely with charitable organisations such as the Public Law Project.

Publications

2020

2019

2017

Teaching

I currently co-lead the final year Family Law module, and teach on the first year Legal Foundations (LeFo) module. I also supervise undergraduate and postgraduate dissertations in the area of family law.

Previously, before I arrived at Cardiff, I have also lectured and taught subjects including jurisprudence, gender and the law, and land law.

My research focuses broadly on private family law, access to justice, legal aid and issues of structural inequality.

In this sense, rather than studying family law as a framework of rules, I am interested in understanding the ways in which the processes of family law are experienced by individuals in their everyday lives. Due to the subject of my PhD research, my particular expertise is the ways in which a restrictive legal aid policy for family law cases can have a disproportionate effect on those who are structurally disadvantaged for the task of attending court without legal representation. In addition to understanding the ways in which individuals experience family law processes, I am also interested in how notions of access to justice are understood and defined by different individuals within this context.

In addition to family justice, my expertise also includes the use of feminist methodological approaches and postmodern/theoretical frameworks - particularly Actor-Network Theory - which I also made use of during my PhD research.