There are three main strands in law and society scholarship on access to justice and legal aid, which concern the delivery of free or subsidized legal services to those who cannot afford them. The first is a philosophical question: why promote access to justice? Traditional justifications center on making good the promise of the rule of law and the equal enforcement of rights. Approaches that are more radical see social citizenship, or advancing the interests of the poor, as crucial. Conversely, critical approaches often perceive legal aid as sustaining (rather than challenging) traditional power relationships.

The second strand asks: to what extent should legal aid services be funded to ensure these underpinning values? This strand is particularly pertinent to the explicit rationing of legal aid services, ...

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