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Pro bono work and social justice
Pro bono work and social justice

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2.1 Justice for society

The benefits of legal aid are not just to an individual but to society as a whole. If an individual cannot enforce their legal rights because of their financial circumstances, the rule of law cannot be maintained and this impacts on confidence and faith in the justice system. There are broader positive benefits to ensuring access to justice as well; for example, access to legal advice on a housing issue could prevent an eviction which negates the need to approach the local authority homelessness service. The inability to access legal advice can have a greater impact on a vulnerable person and this can lead to further problems which become a cost to the state. There is growing evidence of a link between health and social welfare problems: a recent report funded by the Legal Education Foundation (Advice Services Alliance and the Low Commission, 2015) describes how appropriate welfare advice had positive health benefits and welfare intervention could reduce the burden on the NHS.

You might want to reflect on the value of the legal profession and the wider benefits that legal advice may bring to society.

Figure 2 The Legal Aid Agency logo