Contesting professionalism: legal aid and non lawyers in England and Wales

Richard Moorhead, Avrom Sherr, Alan Paterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Professions are granted a form of cartel that enables them to charge more than would arise in a free market on the assumption that they provide better quality and are more trustworthy than free-market actors would be. The theoretical assumption that lawyers are more competent than nonlawyers has given rise to significant formal protections for professions in many jurisdictions. Two testable propositions arise from this theory: (1) lawyers cost more, but (2) they deliver higher quality. It is a testing of these twin propositions that is the subject of this article, with well-triangulated data and a deeper understanding of the theoretical differences between lawyers and nonlawyers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)765-808
Number of pages43
JournalLaw and Society Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2003


  • legal aid
  • lawyers
  • legal system

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