Encyclopedia of Law and Economics

2019 Edition
| Editors: Alain Marciano, Giovanni Battista Ramello

Legal Aid

  • Myriam Doriat-DubanEmail author
  • Eve-Angéline Lambert
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-7753-2_683


Legal aid is a type of financial aid in which the State bears the costs of litigation to allow the poorest people access to the courts. It therefore reduces the litigation costs borne by the beneficiary litigant. It may thereby have an impact on the litigants’ behavior (decision to sue, dispute resolution procedure, precaution taking, incentive to engage in a criminal activity). It may also have an impact on lawyers’ activities and the effort they devote to defending their clients’ interests. It may therefore be useful to compare this method of financing access to justice with other possible alternatives, such as contingent/conditional fees and legal expenses insurance.


Legal aid is a financial aid of the State to make access to justice for poor people easier. Law and economics scholars study its impact on the litigants’ behaviour (decision to sue, dispute resolution procedure, precaution taking, incentive to engage in a criminal activity) but also on lawyers'...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsBETA UMR 7522, Université de LorraineNancyFrance
  2. 2.BETA, CNRSUniversity of StrasbourgStrasbourgFrance
  3. 3.BETA UMR 7522Université de LorraineNancyFrance