Cultural patterns of disputing behaviour?
This essay builds on my previous comparative work on Ombuds users and develops the notion of cultural patterns, and attitudes, towards disputing in Germany and the UK. I argue here that expectations of Ombuds processes are grounded in our socialization to particular expectations of legal or legal-adjacent processes. I explore, through the lens of legal consciousness, the role that legal culture plays in our interactions with the Ombuds in two countries. I do this through drawing on evidence from my existing empirical datasets. Then, I discuss the impact of the pandemic on the developed notion of cultural disputing behaviour in Germany and in the UK and I posit that the role of legal culture, determining our disputing behaviour, shifts towards an online justice space that claims its own hegemony. For instance, an indication of the things which shape, or problems which arise out of, or are enhanced by, the digital space impacting on our legal consciousness. The essay concludes by suggesting new ways of thinking about our patterns of disputing, detached from our national cultural context, embracing an emerging digital legal consciousness with an enduring impact on our expectations from a justice system and the Ombuds process.