The findings reported above are drawn from the best available research evidence on the design and impact of outreach legal services to disadvantaged people with complex needs. While there was a notable consistency in the findings of these studies, the scale of the studies reported, and the outreach programs they report on, varied significantly. While this report goes some way to filling a knowledge gap on the effectiveness of legal outreach, the review process we have followed highlights the need for further high quality independent research on the design and impact of outreach legal services, particularly in Australia. In particular, further high quality research in Australia is needed on the:
- effectiveness of legal outreach for different client groups, different legal issues and in different locations
- relative costs and benefits of outreach legal assistance to 'hard-to-reach' clients and the community compared to other service delivery models
- role of community legal education in outreach services
- longer term impact of outreach legal assistance on 'hard-to-reach' disadvantaged clients.