In 2002 the Foundation commenced the Access to Justice and Legal Needs research program, which aims to examine the ability of disadvantaged people to:
An important feature of the program is the examination of the particular access to justice and legal needs of selected disadvantaged demographic groups. This report is a qualitative study examining the legal needs of older people. Other groups to be examined as part of the program include homeless people and people experiencing a mental illness. These groups have been chosen principally because less is available in the literature concerning their legal needs.
Given the ageing of the population over the last twenty years and the likely continuation of this trend in the coming decades, there is a pressing need to consider the particular legal issues confronting older people, their ability to access legal services, and the issues within the legal system which present barriers for them. This report attempts to address this need, within the scope of the research methodology.
This report into the legal needs of older people is based on a review of existing literature, consultations with legal and non-legal service providers, academics, and older people themselves, and seeks to canvass many of the particular issues relevant to older people in NSW. While the report ‘stands on its own’, it is also important to consider this report in the context of the relevant data on legal barriers and legal need for older people contained in other quantitative and qualitative components of the access to justice and legal needs program. The following reports, in particular should be considered: