The 'ombuds watchers': collective dissent and legal protest amongst users of public services ombuds

Gill, C. and Creutzfeldt, N. (2018) The 'ombuds watchers': collective dissent and legal protest amongst users of public services ombuds. Social and Legal Studies, 27(3), pp. 367-388. (doi: 10.1177/0964663917721313)

145348.pdf - Accepted Version



This article examines the phenomenon of the ‘ombuds watchers’. These are groups of dissatisfied users of public service ombuds schemes who engage in legal protest against the current system of redress for citizen-state complaints. Through the lens of legal consciousness scholarship we propose a framework that conceptualizes the collectivized protest of the ombuds watchers. Based on an empirical dataset, our analysis shows that the ombuds watchers meet each of the defining characteristics of dissenting collectivism and demonstrates the existence of forms of legal consciousness which present ‘opportunities to build alternative imaginaries and institutions’ (Morgan and Kutch 2015, p. 567). Our case study provides an insight into the potential for dissenting collectives to challenge the hegemonic structures of state law, while at the same time emphasising the continuing power of legal ideology in shaping popular understandings of justice. The article also suggests a pathway for future empirical research into user experiences of justice systems.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Legal consciousness, administrative justice, ombuds, ombudsman, collective dissent, legal protest.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Gill, Professor Chris
Authors: Gill, C., and Creutzfeldt, N.
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
K Law > K Law (General)
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Research Group:Law Reform and Public Policy
Journal Name:Social and Legal Studies
Journal Abbr.:SLS
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN (Online):1461-7390
Published Online:11 August 2017
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2017 The Authors
First Published:First published in Law Reform and Public Policy 27(3): 367-388
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher

University Staff: Request a correction | Enlighten Editors: Update this record