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Digital Divide, Ageing and Online Legal Advice

Research Assistant : Helen Davey
Collaborators : , Prof Philip Leith and Mr Joe Duffy
Room : 020 Institute of Governance, 63 University Road
Tel : 3119          
Email : h.davey@qub.ac.uk

Older people have been perceived as requiring support with regard to legal and soft law advice (for example the special practice area indicated by www.solicitorsfortheelderly.com) but they have also been that part of the population which is the least internet enabled. With the development of eGov, it is clear that there are a number of developing issues which merit study.  Our aim in this research is to analyse these issues and to construct a set of parameters which those intending to provide legal advice (in its widest sense) via internet based resources should take into account in terms of good information system design.

There are opportunities to develop innovative and accessible first stops for legal advice for older people.  Providing legal advice online could be an effective way of both empowering older people and promoting their rights in a multitude of areas which are particularly specific to the older community such as care,housing, finance etc.

Hence we will evaluate generally:

  • The legal information needs of older people and whether these are currently being catered for, or whether improvement to advice available is required
  • Awareness among the older people in Northern Ireland of the need to promote digital literacy
  • Understanding of the extent of digital literacy in the NI and international context
  • Awareness of confidence and competence in the use of new communications technologies among the older people of NI
    Our project aim is to analyse the currently accessible legal advice systems available to older people and rebuild the foundation requirements in terms of what might be possible in an internet context.