Journal of Social Policy


Proxy Models of Legal Need: Can They Contribute to Equity of Access to Justice?

a1 Centre for Public Health Research, University of Salford, 7th Floor, Allerton Building, Frederick Road Campus, Salford M6 6PU. Tel: 0161 295 2800. Fax: 0161 295 2818. email:
a2 Centre for Public Health Research, University of Salford, Salford M6 6PU

Article author query
baker d   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
barrow s   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


Prioritisation of cases and resources as a means of rationing the limited legal aid budget has recently become a feature of access to justice in the UK. This article explores the utility of devising proxy models of ‘legal need’ as a means of enabling the rational and equitable planning of legal services in these circumstances. Different conceptual and methodological approaches are considered, highlighting preliminary development work in Scotland. The likelihood of developing ‘legal needs’ measures that promote equity of access to appropriate legal services is discussed in the light of problems with defining ‘legal need’ and the diversity of services available for the resolution of legal problems.

(Published Online March 3 2006)