The present study aimed to examine legal need across Australia by assessing a broad range of legal problems in each state and territory via a large-scale telephone survey using a representative sample of the general population. It examined the nature of legal problems, the pathways to their resolution and the demographic groups that are particularly vulnerable to experiencing legal problems. The more specific aims of the present study were to assess, in Australia as a whole and in each state/territory separately, the following:
- the prevalence of legal problems
- the nature of legal problems
- the strategies used in response to legal problems
- the advice received for legal problems
- the finalisation of legal problems
- the outcome of legal problems
- the factors that may influence each of the above.
In relation to aim 7, the influence of the following factors was examined:
- demographic characteristics (e.g. gender, age, Indigenous status, disability status, education, employment status, family status, housing type, main income, main language and remoteness of residential area(1))
- characteristics of legal problems (e.g. type, recency and severity of problems).
By addressing the above aims, the main objective of the present study was to provide valuable evidence-based data to inform debate and policy directions concerning legal service provision and access to justice in Australia.
1. Given that the ACT almost exclusively comprises major city areas, remoteness of residential area was not examined in the ACT.