Fast, Friendly and Expert?: Legal aid franchising in advice agencies without solicitors


The government is radically overhauling legal aid. In 1995, the Legal Aid Board began a one-year franchising pilot project in which it funded legal advice and assistance in advice agencies which did not employ solicitors. Citizens' advice bureaux, members of the Federation of Independent Advice Centres and Shelter Housing Advice Centres took part in the pilot. This book is the result of a research project designed by the Legal Aid Board to assess the benefits of extending legal aid funding to advice centres. The authors assess the impact of franchising on the 42 advice centres in the pilot. They consider the extent to which it can increase access to legal services and ensure services are of an acceptable quality, and explore the costs of providing services through advice centres. Their conclusion - that the pilot has been successful in enabling the Legal Aid Board to identify and address key issues for any future scheme.


  • Introduction
  • The Non-Solicitor Agencies Pilot
  • The Research
  • Services Provided by the Pilot Agencies
  • Quality of Services
  • Access to Legal Services
  • Costs of the Franchise Services
  • Extending Non-Solicitor Agency Franchising
  • Conclusions and Recommendations