Refereed article in compilation book (A3)

Introduction: Understanding the History of Legal Aid in an International and Comparative Perspective

List of Authors: Batlan Felice, Vasara-Aaltonen Marianne

Publication year: 2021

Book title *: Histories of Legal Aid: A Comparative and International Perspective

Title of series: World Histories of Crime, Culture and Violence

ISBN: 978-3-030-80270-7

eISBN: 978-3-030-80271-4

ISSN: 2730-9630



The introduction to this book argues that the history of legal aid in various countries needs to be examined from a comparative perspective to fully grasp the development of legal aid, which has taken on different forms in different countries and at different times. After providing a general overview on the long history of legal aid, the introduction focuses on the modern, nineteenth- and twentieth-century history of legal aid. It then connects the various chapters of this book interrogating the reasons for establishing legal aid, its recipients and providers, and its perhaps inevitable shortcomings. Employing examples from various countries, the introduction shows how legal aid historically has always been connected to a variety of political considerations including the role of the state as well as the fear of the poor and working class. Moreover, it discusses the multifaceted—and sometimes strained—relationship between legal aid and the legal profession, including the role lay lawyers, particularly lay women, have played in providing legal assistance to those in need. The introduction offers a broad context and framework for the reader to reflect upon and ponder while reading the book’s chapters.

Last updated on 2022-26-01 at 16:01