Legale Frame and Social Process
While the task of social work is holistic and a comprehensive challenge of social injustice approaching users in a social context and considering all aspects of their lives, the lawyer’s task is the assessment of facts without considering other aspects of their lives, as well as the user’s emotions. The intention of law is social control as a whole and the maintenance of security; however, in a contemporary fast changing society this is a problem. The law should be stable while continually adapting to change. Social work, conversely, is the most apt to respond to unpredictable situations in contemporary society. Law is the frame, social work the flow.
Thus, as Roscoe Pound strongly pointed out ‘social worker and lawyer should be co-workers ... bringing together the technique and the experience of lawyers and of social workers and of making each fruitful for the advancement of justice.’
We will explore the legal context of social work practice and social context of law (sources of law, the legal system, the role of social workers in the legal system, human rights in social work practice, the issue of discrimination). We will draw from the different fields of: children rights and family law, juvenile justice, labour, protection of vulnerable adults (mental health, mental capacity, older adults, refugees, asylum). We will look at the unresolved issues of legal capacity and guardianship, restraint and no-restraint, try to untangle the knots of bad practices in social work (bureaucratisation, stigmatisation, disabling, etc.) and point the way to empowering ways in socio-legal procedures.
Is social work law’s hidden desire to become more human? And social?
Key lecturer for the topic:
Branka Rešetar, Faculty of Law (and founder of the Social Work course), University of Osijek