The chapter serves as the introduction to the collection, and provides the background for, and overview of, the book. The goal of the collection is to examine and compare civil legal aid in the Nordic countries in relation to the welfare state. An introduction to the common background of the Nordic countries and their legal aid schemes is compared to international developments in the field. The Nordic legal aid research, mainly empirical research on ‘unmet legal needs’, is reviewed, indicating a current remaining unmet need for legal aid. This overview reviews the chapters on legal aid in the different Nordic countries (which serve to describe and analyse the national schemes), the case studies (which serve to develop on features and challenges of the public schemes), and a final section that serves to contextualise the studies of the Nordic schemes in a European and theoretical perspective.
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