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To Lawyer or Not to Lawyer, Is that the question?

Citation: Kritzer, Herbert M. (2007) To Lawyer or Not to Lawyer, Is that the question? In: W G Hart Legal Workshop 2007: Access to Justice, 26th - 28th June 2007, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, London.


Creative Commons: Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0

A central aspect of much of the debate over access to justice is the cost of legal services. The presumption of most participants in the debate is that individuals of limited or modest means do not obtain legal assistance because they cannot afford the cost of that assistance. The question I consider in this paper is whether income is a major factor in the decision to obtain the assistance of a qualified legal professional. Drawing upon data from five different countries (the United States, England and Wales, Canada, Australia, and Japan) I examine the relationship between income and using a legal professional. The results are remarkably consistent across the five countries: income has relatively little relationship with the decision to forego that assistance. The analysis suggests that those considering access to justice issues need to grapple with the more general issues of how those with legal needs, regardless of the resources they have available, evaluate the costs and benefits of hiring a lawyer.

Additional Information: Paper presented by Professor Herbert M. Kritzer, William Mitchell College of Law, Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA. This paper was subsequently published in the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies (Oxford : Blackwell) Volume 5, Issue 4, pp. 875-906, December 2008 . The published version is available for the author’s own website (by agreement with the publisher). A prepublication version is also available on SSRN.
Creators: Kritzer, Herbert M. and
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Subjects: Law
Keywords: Access to justice, Legal aid, Justice - administration of, United States, England and Wales, Australia, Canada, Japan
Divisions: Institute of Advanced Legal Studies
Collections: W G Hart Legal Workshop papers
  • June 2007 (completed)


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