The image we have of ‘legal aid’ is that of a lawyer pleading before a court on behalf of an indigent client. This lawyer may act for free (pro bono or pro deo); or as a public defender (on a salary paid by the state); or as a private lawyer (contracted for services and paid by the state).
Most countries can boast a legal aid service which employs one, both or all of the above models. What fewer countries can claim is that their legal aid schemes measure up to the exacting standards required by international norms.
Why is the provision of legal aid services so difficult to get right? Is it a matter of cost? Numbers of lawyers? Quality of services?
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