Legal Advice and Assistance


The present legal advice and assistance scheme came into operation in 1973. Since then use of the scheme has increased dramatically, so that it now covers over one million legal cases a year at a total cost of over £60 million. About a quarter of these cases involve some aspect of social welfare law.

Over the same period there has been a parallel growth in social welfare advice centres. Currently there are over 2000 such services handling an estimated ten million enquiries a year. Successive governments have been concerned at the increasing costs of providing legal advice and assistance, and the newly formed Legal Aid Board has been given the task of reviewing this provision.

PSI was commissioned by the Law Society to examine the social welfare advice and assistance work undertaken by both solicitors in private practice and advice services. The research focuses on three geographical areas - the London Borough of Newham, the Metropolitan Borough of Oldham and Cornwall. In each of these it looks at the nature of the work of both solicitors and advice services and studies their inter-relationship.

The Legal Aid Board is reviewing alternative ways of providing legal advice and assistance, preferably at a reduced cost. This book examines some of the proposals for change and provides, for the first time, detailed information for those involved in the debate on the future publicly funded legal services

Read the report

1. Background to the research
2. Previous research
3. Social welfare work by solicitors' offices
4. Advice and legal services in Cornwall
5. Advice and legal services in Oldham
6. Advice and legal services in the London Borough of Newham
7. Future policies for legal advice and assistance

Kempson, E. (1989) Legal Advice and Assistance, Policy Studies Institute

ISBN: 0853744769