Legal Aid and Advice Act 1949

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The Legal Aid and Advice Act 1949 was a British Act of Parliament which extended the welfare state so that those unable to pay for a solicitor were able to access free legal help.[1] Its precursor was the Poor Prisoners Defence Act of 1930 which introduced criminal legal aid for appearances in magistrates’ courts.[2] Described by Lord Beecham as "one of the great pillars of the post war welfare state",[3] its scope was substantially reduced following the contested Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012.


  1. ^ Mastering Economic and Social History by David Taylor
  2. ^ Hattenstone, Simon. "Fighting for legal aid is my family tradition". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 July 2014. 
  3. ^ Bowcott, Owen. "Legal aid debate - House of Lords". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 July 2014.