Access to Justice in Family Matters in Post-War Britain

Mavis Maclean

in Cross Currents

Published in print December 2000 | ISBN: 9780198268208
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191683442 | DOI:
Access to Justice in Family Matters in Post-War Britain

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In 1948, T. H. Marshall argued that the acceptance of state funding for legal services was a necessary condition for the full and equal exercise of civil rights which legitimises Britain’s democratic form of government. The pressing need for help with divorce following the social stress of World War II provided the stimulus for a new system of access to justice not only in family matters but also in a far wider range of civil disputes. Family justice was to underpin a wider movement towards social equality and individual well-being, because the divorce lawyers played a key part in the setting-up of the Legal Aid Scheme, a publicly funded legal service. The story of access to justice in family matters over the last fifty years can well be told as a tale of containing public expenditure in the face of rising demand. A combination of administrative procedures has been adopted to deal with child support and encouragement to try alternative dispute resolution on divorce for those seeking access to family justice.

Keywords: Britain; legal services; legal aid; divorce; civil disputes; family justice; Legal Aid Scheme; public expenditure; child support; alternative dispute resolution

Chapter.  6226 words. 

Subjects: Family Law

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