In the United States, among the most common responses to justiciable problems – non-trivial problems that raise civil legal issues – is to do nothing. The probability of taking no action varies inversely with income, with poor households least likely to take any action to attempt to resolve problems. In focus groups comprised of low- and low-moderate income residents of a Midwestern American city, respondents were asked to discuss experiences of justiciable problems involving money or housing, including problems about which they did nothing. Five rationales for inaction emerged: shame, a sense of insufficient power, fear, gratitude, and frustrated resignation. Three themes – fear, gratitude and frustrated resignation – reflected lessons from people’s past experiences with justiciable problems. These themes suggest new, richer explanations for socio-economic differences in how such problems are handled.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||Transforming Lives|
|Subtitle of host publication||Law and Social Process|
|Editors||Pascoe Pleasence, Alexy Buck, Nigel J Balmer|
|Publisher||Legal Services Commission|
|State||Published - 2007|