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A worldwide survey of legal aid containing more than 70 responses from ministries of justice, attorney generals, law societies, bar councils and individual lawyers to a detailed questionnaire.;This directory covers the ground work of legal aid systems in some of the most diverse legal jurisdictions from the Common Law countries of England and the Commonwealth to those that employ the approach of the Napoleonic Code. Here are systems adapted to the needs of the inhabitants of Caribbean islands, central European and Baltic states, emerging African peoples, the successors to ancient Indian empires, and countries of the Pacific Rim.;The different forms of legal aid should be of interest to practitioners and academics but the claims of the book go further than that. It argues that just and fair societies depend on the maintenance of the rule of law. If the legal system, and in the last resort, the courts themselves are not within the reach of all citizens then talk of their rights is empty. If poor, weak, or powerless members of society are denied access to the courts because of lack of means, or if that access depends on the willingness of some lawyers to undertake cases pro bono, it is difficult to argue that in that state human rights are any more than forms rather than reality. If lawyers themselves exchange their independence for involvement in the very process of litigation (so-called ""no win, no fee""), can it be said that freedom is not compromised? Here the reader can judge what in his or her opinion is the standing in these debates of each of the jurisdictions surveyed, with the help of editorial comments and the Editor's Introduction.