This book considers how access to justice is affected by restrictions to legal aid budgets and increasingly prescriptive service guidelines. As common law jurisdictions, England and Wales and Australia, share similar ideals, policies and practices, but they differ in aspects of their legal and political culture, in the nature of the communities they serve and in their approaches to providing access to justice. These jurisdictions thus provide us with different perspectives on what constitutes justice and how we might seek to overcome the burgeoning crisis in unmet legal need.
The book fills an important gap in existing scholarship as the first to bring together new empirical and theoretical knowledge examining different responses to legal aid crises both in the domestic and comparative contexts, across criminal, civil and family law. It achieves this by examining the broader social, political, legal, health and welfare impacts of legal aid cuts and prescriptive service guidelines. Across both jurisdictions, this work suggests that it is the most vulnerable groups who lose out in the way the law now operates in the twenty-first century. This book is essential reading for academics, students, practitioners and policymakers interested in criminal and civil justice, access to justice, the provision of legal assistance and legal aid.