On 30 July 1949, the Legal Aid and Advice Act was granted royal
assent with the intention of ensuring that anyone who needed legal
advice would be able to access it. In this timely book the authors
describe the origins and history of legal aid as well as New
Labour's attempts to reform the system years on. They argue that on
its 60th anniversary legal aid has fallen short of its original
aims. There exists a marked difference between the numbers of cases
pursued to enforce rights and the many potential cases that people
never take up as they are either not aware of their rights or they
decide it is not worth the trouble to take it further - this is
'the justice gap'. Though UK legal aid is arguably the best funded
in the world the authors illustrate that the public are not being
well served by the current system which has emerged from the recent
reforms. They clearly articulate the necessary, essential reforms
to bridge the justice gap that has been created and also to bring
into reality the intentions of the original Act. This title will be
of great interest to all legal aid practitioners and commentators
and an essential purchase for policy-makers and students across the
legal and social policy sectors.
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