Lawyers for the poor

Legal advice, voluntary action and citizenship in England, 1890-1990

By Katherine Bradley

Lawyers for the poor

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-3605-3
  • Pages: 216
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: September 2019
  • BIC Category: Modern History, History, HISTORY / Social History, Legal History, Humanities / Social & cultural history, HISTORY / General, United Kingdom, Great Britain, Poverty & Unemployment


From the 1890s onwards, social reformers, volunteer lawyers, and politicians increasingly came to see access to affordable or free legal advice as a critical part of helping working-class people uphold their rights with landlords, employers, and retailers - and, from the 1940s, with the welfare state. Whilst a state scheme was launched in 1949, it was never fully implemented and help from a lawyer remained out of the reach of many people. Lawyers for the poor is the first full-length study of the development of voluntary action and mutual schemes to make the law more accessible, and the pressure put on the legal profession and governments to bring in further reforms. It offers new insights of the role of access to the law in shaping ideas about citizenship and civil rights in the twentieth century.


'In addition to providing a rich history of twentieth-century England, Lawyers for the Poor might offer some lessons in how to protect citizens' rights today.'
Twentieth Century British History


List of abbreviations
1 Making free legal aid and advice the business of state and profession
2 The Poor Man's Lawyer
3 The political law
4 The trade unions and legal services
5 Technology, access and education
6 Advice services in the post-war welfare state
Select Bibliography


Kate Bradley is Senior Lecturer in Social History and Social Policy at the University of Kent

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