All under one umbrella? The Family Guide to National Insurance 1948

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Jackie Gulland


national insurance, public legal information, legal consciousness, welfare state, Beveridge Report


The Family Guide to National Insurance was produced in 1948 to coincide with the introduction of the British National Insurance scheme, inspired by the Beveridge Report. The Guide tells people about their legal rights, but it also symbolises a mid-twentieth-century enthusiasm for the welfare state. Making a model of the Guide for a socio-legal workshop helped to consider the physicality of the booklet and to think about how it might have been received by its readers. This article explores the meaning of the booklet, considering its form and its content but also its reception by the public. A survey conducted in 1948 concluded that the Guide had been unsuccessful in reaching those who could most benefit from it, particularly women. This article uses the findings of this survey to consider the booklet as a piece of public legal information and the role of legal consciousness in legal information provision.

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