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Cross CurrentsFamily Law and Policy in the US and England$
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Sanford N. Katz, John Eekelaar, and Mavis MacLean

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198268208

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198268208.001.0001

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Access to Justice in Family Matters in Post-War Britain

Access to Justice in Family Matters in Post-War Britain

(p.532) (p.533) 24 Access to Justice in Family Matters in Post-War Britain
Cross Currents

Mavis Maclean

Oxford University Press

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

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