Affective or defective? Exploring the LETR’s characterisation of affect and its translation into practice

Jones, Emma Jane (2018). Affective or defective? Exploring the LETR’s characterisation of affect and its translation into practice. The Law Teacher, 52(4) pp. 478–489.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/03069400.2018.1529275

Abstract

The Legal Education and Training Review (LETR) identified the affective dimension as being a critical component of legal practice. This article will review how this dimension was conceptualised within this 2013 report (the Report), to what extent it has since been acknowledged and incorporated by key stakeholders in the legal profession and whether this has resulted in any significant changes in the way the legal profession approaches its work. The article will suggest that the LETR’s characterisation of affect required further development to provide clear guidance on its translation into legal competencies. It will also suggest that the resulting competency frameworks produced by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and Bar Standards Board and others include little (if any) explicit engagement with affect. Overall, there remains a lack of engagement with the affective dimension of practice. This has resulted in the legal profession’s relatively uncritical acceptance of a few key buzzwords (such as the term “emotional intelligence”) whilst the full implications of incorporating affect in legal practice remain largely unexplored. This article will argue that a more coherent and critically informed approach is required to ensure that an important dimension of legal practice obtains the recognition, exploration and reflection which it deserves.

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