New Book Spotlight: Access to Justice in Brazil: the Brazilian Legal Aid Model

From the back cover: During the second half of the twentieth century there was a broad expansion and development of legal aid mechanisms, especially in the main industrialized democracies of the western world. Amongst all of these examples, one notes the legal aid scheme established in England & Wales, that attained its peak at the end of the 70’s and the beginning of the 80’s of the last century. However, beginning in the 90’s and in the first two decades of the 21st century, in the majority of countries that had otherwise possessed legal aid systems thought to be “advanced”, the scenario has been one of regression and a cutting of the provision of services, with severe restrictions in terms of funding and support. In contrast to these scenarios, some underdeveloped and developing nations, such as in the case of Brazil, are experiencing a continuous process of expansion and consolidation of legal aid services subsidized by the state. Specifically in the Brazilian case, beyond the quantitative growth, one also sees a process of instituting a very particular model, in certain respects sui generis, of public service legal aid through a public defender system. It is a model that is also being consolidated in various other countries in Latin America, and which has awoken interest in the academic world. In this study a brief analysis on the Brazilian legal aid will be made, analyzing its virtues and deficiencies.

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