One of the fundamental objectives of any legal system is to ensure that the
system is inherently fair and accessible. Many legal systems in the world today
are criticised for their lack of fairness, accessibility and, ultimately, legitimacy.
A legal system can only be legitimate when it is effective and when justice,
fairness and the protection of fundamental rights are provided. Some commentators
believe that this ideal legal environment can only be achieved through
the provision of proper legal aid and legal representation.1 Many modern states
provide for legal aid and legal representation, even at state expense, in both
criminal and civil legal matters. However, the extent of such legal aid and
representation differs from country to country, and also in respect of the people
and groups qualifying for such aid.