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Research Report: Legal Australia-Wide Survey: Legal need in Australia
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Legal Australia-Wide Survey: Legal need in Australia  ( 2012 )  Cite this report

3. Prevalence of legal problems



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Prevalence of different types of legal problems


As noted earlier, the survey measured the prevalence of 129 specific types of legal problems. These 129 problem types were categorised into 12 problem groups and 27 problem subgroups (see Appendix Table A2.1).

Table 3.2 presents the reported prevalence of legal problems during the 12-month reference period broken down by problem group and problem subgroup. Appendix Table A2.1 details the classification of specific types of legal problems into problem groups and problem subgroups.

Table 3.2: Prevalence of legal problems by problem group and problem subgroup, Australia

Problem group
Problem subgroup
Respondents
with problems
All problems
N
%
N
%
Accidents
1 605
7.7
1 780
3.4
Consumer
4 269
20.6
11 040
20.8
Goods
1 423
6.9
2 589
4.9
Services
3 491
16.8
8 451
16.0
Credit/debt
1 327
6.4
3 488
6.6
Crime
2 954
14.3
7 870
14.9
Crime offender
350
1.7
695
1.3
Crime victim
2 748
13.3
7 174
13.5
Employment
1 290
6.2
3 404
6.4
Family
1 037
5.0
3 751
7.1
Childrena
714
3.4
2 831
5.3
Relationships
429
2.1
920
1.7
Government
2 224
10.7
4 418
8.3
Fines
560
2.7
1 201
2.3
Government payments
485
2.3
823
1.6
Local government
982
4.7
1 691
3.2
State/federal government
553
2.7
703
1.3
Health
691
3.3
1 531
2.9
Clinical negligence
462
2.2
718
1.4
Health services
215
1.0
638
1.2
Mental health
104
0.5
175
0.3
Housing
2 439
11.8
6 643
12.5
Neighbours
1 639
7.9
4 555
8.6
Owned housing
414
2.0
874
1.7
Rented housing
599
2.9
1 190
2.2
Other housing
18
0.1
25
0.0
Money
1 183
5.7
2 621
4.9
Business/investment
871
4.2
2 003
3.8
Wills/estates
384
1.9
618
1.2
Personal injury
1 444
7.0
2 369
4.5
Rights
1 202
5.8
4 024
7.6
Discrimination (outside work)
506
2.4
1 622
3.1
Education
505
2.4
1 569
3.0
Unfair treatment by police
299
1.4
801
1.5
Other civil
26
0.1
32
0.1
Unclassifiedb
5
0.0
11
0.0
All problem groups
10 289
49.7
52 950
100.0

a Includes problems related to grandchildren (see Appendix A1, question P28). Some respondents (1075) had missing information on whether they had grandchildren (see Appendix A1, question D6) and were not asked about legal problems related to grandchildren. Thus, the prevalence reported for the children problem subgroup may slightly underestimate the true prevalence.


b Comprises problems that were unclearly described by respondents at question P40 (see Appendix A1).
Note: N=20 716 respondents. Percentages do not sum to 100, because multiple problems were experienced by some respondents.


As shown in Table 3.2, there was considerable variation in the prevalence of different legal problem groups. The problem groups with the highest prevalence rates were the consumer, crime, housing and government problem groups, which were experienced by 20.6, 14.3, 11.8 and 10.7 per cent of Australian respondents, respectively. In contrast, only 3.3 per cent of Australian respondents experienced legal problems from the health problem group, and only 5.0 per cent of respondents experienced legal problems from the family problem group. Legal problems related to mental health were experienced by only 0.5 per cent of respondents.

  


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Coumarelos, C, Macourt, D, People, J, MacDonald, HM, Wei, Z, Iriana, R & Ramsey, S 2012, Legal Australia-Wide Survey: legal need in Australia, Law and Justice Foundation of NSW, Sydney