Dr Marie Burton specialises in access to justice, legal aid, the legal profession and social welfare law. She has over 30 years' experience of working in and around the civil and criminal justice system. Marie is a former practising solicitor and senior policy analyst whose work has influenced the development of national policy on legal aid, financial exclusion, high cost credit and debt.
In 2016, Marie was awarded a PhD by the London School of Economics. The title of her thesis is: ‘Calling for Justice: Comparing Telephone and Face-to-face Advice in Social Welfare Legal Aid.’ Her PhD was fully funded by an LSE ESRC Doctoral Training Award and an LSE Research Studentship.
Marie qualified as a solicitor in 1994. She worked primarily in the independent advice sector representing clients with a range of social welfare problems. She has practised in the areas of housing and homelessness, education, human rights, criminal and family law. She also acted for victims of crime and has taken actions against the police. She has conducted cases in the High Court, county court, criminal courts and before tribunals and has extensive frontline experience of contested litigation.
As a senior policy analyst, Marie influenced the development of national policy. The project she led for the Legal Services Commission (LSC) on the funding of housing possession court duty schemes grew into an essential element of the LSC’s strategy to respond to unmet need for social welfare legal aid. In 2010, her report into payday loans ‘Keeping the Plates Spinning: the perceptions of payday loans in Great Britain’ was one of the earliest in-depth studies of the problems faced by vulnerable consumers using this form of credit and highlighted the need for significant change.
Marie has been a Trustee of several voluntary sector organisations, including the Legal Action Group. She is currently a Friend of the Legal Aid Practitioners Group.
1990: Southampton University, Sally Kiff Prize for the most outstanding merit in the study of human rights and related areas
2014: London School of Economics, Law Department Class Teacher Award
LLB, MRes, PhD
English Legal System
Consumers and the Law
Social welfare law
Access to justice
Legal profession and practice
Burton, M (2018) Justice on the line? A comparison of telephone and face-to-face advice in social welfare legal aid, Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law, 40(2): 195-215.
‘Justice Calling? Comparing Telephone and Face-to-face Advice in Social Welfare Legal Aid’ (unpublished) presented at the University College London International Conference on Access to Justice and Legal Services 2018 (UCL)
‘Shame, anonymity and judgement in telephone and face-to-face advice’ (unpublished) presented at the SLSA Annual Conference 2018 (Bristol University)
‘Justice on the line? Telephone-only advice in social welfare legal aid’ (unpublished) presented at Access to Justice Workshop at Leeds University on 2 May 2017
‘The role of emotion in lawyer-client interaction: comparing telephone and face-to-face advice’ (unpublished) presented at SLSA Annual Conference 2017 (Newcastle University)
‘Place and the development of social welfare legal aid’ (unpublished) presented at SLSA Annual Conference 2014 (Robert Gordon University) and UCL International Conference on Access to Justice 2014 (UCL)
‘From mechanics to dynamics: lawyer-client interaction in practice – comparing telephone and face-to-face advice’ (unpublished) presented at LSE/Sciences Po Doctoral Law Students Workshop 2013 (Sciences Po)