Legal education and wellbeing: considerations for student social workers

Machin, R. ORCID: 0000-0003-2296-2123 and Benbow, P., 2021. Legal education and wellbeing: considerations for student social workers. Journal of Rights and Justice, 2 (i), pp. 37-49. ISSN 2732-4265

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This paper explores the challenges of delivering legal education to social work students, while at the same time promoting wellbeing. Social Work degrees should produce compassionate individuals who are able to make decisions based on legal provisions. It is the responsibility of social workers to safeguard the needs of some of the most vulnerable groups in society, but ethical dilemmas and challenges to wellbeing can be evident when legislation is not always aligned to core social work values. A key role of social work education is to provide students with the coping strategies to deal with the pressure of the job. However, working in a complex and often-stressful environment can challenge wellbeing.

Two specific areas of UK legislation will be discussed to explore the issue of wellbeing in a social work legal context. Firstly, the Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) will be analysed. The MHA gives significant powers to the Approved Mental Health Professional implementing it. Decisions are made on whether to apply the MHA and compulsorily detain someone against their wishes. Secondly, the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016 will be discussed. This introduced a two-child limit for means-tested benefits in the UK. This raises ethical questions as entitlement to state benefits is based on the size of the family rather than the needs of the family. There are a number of exceptions to this provision, most controversially the so called ‘rape clause’.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Journal of Rights and Justice
Creators: Machin, R. and Benbow, P.
Publisher: Nottingham Law School, Nottingham Trent University
Date: 1 July 2021
Volume: 2
Number: i
ISSN: 2732-4265
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 05 Jul 2021 09:52
Last Modified: 05 Jul 2021 09:52
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