This article examines the government-funded legal aid system of Bangladesh. It indicates that the Bangladeshi legal aid system is lacking in terms of both legal provisions and the actual performance of the Legal Aid Services Act. The inadequacies in the implementation of the Act even raise the concern of whether the government has any intention to use the legal system to improve the condition of the poor or whether it intends to establish a legal aid system that is directed to providing mere lip service to the poor. The Bangladeshi legal aid system is therefore in a paradox; the state has established an institution that exposes its drawbacks and is not able to meet the needs of the beneficiaries. The article finally makes recommendations in order to redress the deficiencies of the system and thus to ensure effective access to justice for those who are in need of the service.