Legal advice, voluntary action and citizenship in England, 1890–199
Lawyers for the Poor explores the development of legal advice and aid provision in England between 1890 and 1990. It is the first book-length study to place legal advice provision in the wider context of English civil society and the welfare state, and it demonstrates how making it easier for people to get advice on their problems was shaped by changing ideas of what it meant to be a citizen. This book examines the origins in the after-hours ‘Poor Man’s Lawyer’ voluntary work of individual lawyers in late Victorian London through to the state-subsidised legal aid schemes of post-war Britain. It considers how affordable access to help with legal matters came to be seen as a right for all, and how charities, the main political parties, the trade unions and the media were involved in trying to achieve this by the 1940s. It also reveals the problems and advantages of offering legal advice services as part of the welfare state after 1949 and the ongoing concerns about using public money on private troubles – issues that remain unresolved in the twenty-first century. This book will be of interest to students and researchers of welfare, citizenship, politics, social policy and voluntary action in twentieth-century Britain, and to practitioners.