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Bega legal needs pilot survey  ( 2003 )  Cite this report

Ch 5. The experience of seeking help

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  • The two most common sources of assistance were a private barrister or solicitor (32 per cent) or a friend or relative (27 per cent). A legal source was used in 41 per cent of events where help was sought.
  • Most participants (60 per cent) sought help from only one source. However, in a quarter of events participants sought help from two sources, and the maximum number of sources approached for help was eight.
  • The vast majority (85 per cent) of participants wanted specific assistance or advice to ‘fix the problem’. Only 26 per cent specified that they wanted legal representation. The only event type where a majority of participants sought legal representation was Family Law (68 per cent of events where help sought). Fifty-one per cent of the survey participants wanted to know where to go for help, and 65 per cent wanted to know more about the law.
  • In 23 per cent of events participants received information about the law and in 19 per cent of events participants received information about available services. Advice was provided in 64 per cent of events, and active assistance in 38 per cent of events. In seven per cent of events where help was sought, the participant considered that they received no assistance at all.
  • Participants were satisfied with assistance in 69 per cent of events, dissatisfied in 23 per cent and neither satisfied nor dissatisfied in eight per cent. Satisfaction with assistance was strongly related to both satisfaction with outcome, and to the participant considering that the legal event was either resolved or in the process of resolution.
  • Participants born in an English speaking country were significantly more likely to be satisfied with assistance received than those born in a non-English speaking country.
  • Participants experienced some sort of problem getting assistance in 51 per cent of events where help was sought. These included difficulty getting through/being kept on hold on telephone lines (28 per cent); lack of local services (25 per cent); difficulty getting an appointment (21 per cent); difficulty affording assistance (16 per cent); and problems with opening hours (15 per cent).
  • In 32 per cent of events where help was sought the participant did not need to travel. The remainder travelled:
    • over 80 kilometres to get help in 11 per cent of events
    • over 20 kilometres to get help in 26 per cent of events
    • over 10 kilometres in 34 per cent of events.
  • Eight per cent of participants needed some form of special assistance associated with a disability or other personal circumstances.


Law and Justice Foundation of NSW 2003, Quantitative legal needs survey: Bega Valley (Pilot), Sydney