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English Lawyers between Market and StateThe Politics of Professionalism$
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Richard L Abel

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780198260349

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198260349.001.0001

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Conservatives Cut Legal Aid Costs

Conservatives Cut Legal Aid Costs

(p.240) 7 Conservatives Cut Legal Aid Costs
English Lawyers between Market and State


Oxford University Press

The classic professions — law and medicine — presented themselves as honoratiores, indifferent to material reward. Clients and patients were lucky to get their services. The rapid accumulation of capital and growth of the bourgeoisie in the nineteenth century stimulated demand for the emergent modern legal professions. By the 1980s, however, these comfortable arrangements were unravelling. The expansion of academic legal education dramatically increased the number of law graduates. The extraordinary increase in divorces from 38,000 in 1951 to 176,000 in 1981 explained much of the jump in civil legal aid certificates from 38,000 to 270,000. Between 1970 and 1983, the civil legal aid budget grew tenfold and the criminal more than twentyfold. Legal aid transformed the relationship between lawyers and clients from a neo-classical market in which no consumer could influence price or quality to something more monopsonistic.

Keywords:   honoratiores, bourgeoisie, civil legal aid, lawyers, neo-classical market

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