Research activity per year

Personal profile


Jess is a socio-legal empirical researcher, specialising in issues of access to justice and family law. She is particularly interested in innovations that improve the accessibility of legal systems as well as the empowerment and capabilities of those experiencing legal need.

Jess has published widely on these issues in a variety of leading academic journals and book publishers. One of her recent monographs, Litigants in Person and the Family Justice System (Hart, 2022), examines the issue of self-representation in the family courts. A key objective of her research agenda is to produce research and evidence that can make impactful improvements to the accessibility of justice. For instance, her most recent co-authored monograph Legal Aid and the Future of Access to Justice (Hart, 2023), reports the findings of the largest ever census of legal aid practitioners in England and Wales, and was published as an open access (free to read) resource that is being used by not-for-profit organisations and practitioners to support service enhancements as well as advocacy and campaign work within the legal aid sector.

Jess joined Monash Law in 2022 after establishing her career in the UK, where she previously held the position of Lecturer in the School of Law and Politics at Cardiff University, and prior to that, Sessional Lecturer at the Centre for Law and Social Justice at the University of Leeds.

Research interests

Specific areas of interest include:

  • Self representation and lay participation in legal systems
  • Family dispute resolution
  • The role of technologies in faciliating access to justice, including blended/hybrid legal support and remote court hearings
  • Legal aid policy and governance
  • Innovations in advice provision and legal support
  • Understandings of legal need, legal capability and legal literacy
  • Family violence and legal systems abuse
  • Socio legal theory and approaches
  • Empirical legal methods and qualitative methodology


Jess has an established record of consulting with the public and third sectors in the UK and Australia across her research interests. Previously she has undertaken consultancy work for organisation including: The Access to Justice Foundation, The Ministry of Justice, the Legal Aid Practitioners Group, and the Victorian Legal Services Board + Commissioner.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

PhD, University of Leeds

Award Date: 20 May 2020

Research area keywords

  • Access to Justice
  • Family Law
  • Legal Technology
  • dispute resolution
  • Empirical Legal Research
  • Socio-Legal Studies

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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