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Research Report: Justice made to measure: NSW legal needs survey in disadvantaged areas
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Justice made to measure: NSW legal needs survey in disadvantaged areas  ( 2006 )  Cite this report

Ch 3. The incidence of legal events



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Number of legal events reported


The participants were asked about legal events they had experienced in the 12 months prior to the survey. Overall, the 2431 participants across the six LGAs reported experiencing a total of 5776 legal events in the 12-month period. The maximum number of legal events reported by any individual was 33.

Almost one-third of participants (752 or 30.9%) reported that they did not experience any legal events during the reference period (see Figure 3.1). The remaining two-thirds (1679 or 69.1%) reported experiencing at least one legal event during the reference period, with approximately one-third of all participants reporting either one or two legal events, and one-third reporting three or more legal events. The average number of legal events reported across all 2431 participants was 2.4, while the median number was 1.0. The average number of legal events reported by the 1679 participants who reported at least one event was 3.4.

Figure 3.1: Number of events reported per participant, all six LGAs, 2003

Note: N=2431 participants.

Table 3.1 presents a cumulative frequency distribution of legal events. It can be seen that a minority of participants accounted for a disproportionate number of the legal events reported. For example, the third of participants who reported three or more legal events accounted for more than three-quarters (79.0%) of the 5776 legal events reported. Less than one-quarter of the sample (23.9%) accounted for two-thirds of the events (67.5%) and about one-sixth of the sample (16.4%) accounted for over half the events (54.9%).

Table 3.1: Cumulative frequency distribution of legal events, all six LGAs, 2003

No. of events
reported per
participant
Participants
Events
No.
Cumulative
%
No.
Cumulative
%
16+
16
0.7
308
5.3
15
6
0.9
90
6.9
14
7
1.2
98
8.6
13
10
1.6
130
10.8
12
14
2.2
168
13.7
11
17
2.9
187
17
10
29
4.1
290
22
9
30
5.3
270
26.7
8
41
7
328
32.4
7
45
8.8
315
37.8
6
71
11.8
426
45.2
5
112
16.4
560
54.9
4
182
23.9
728
67.5
3
221
32.9
663
79
2
337
46.8
674
90.6
1
541
69.1
541
100
0
752
100
0
Total
2431
5776


  


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Coumarelos, C, Wei , Z & Zhou, AH 2006, Justice made to measure: NSW legal needs survey in disadvantaged areas, Law and Justice Foundation of NSW, Sydney