Note: the original hard copy of this report is 361 pages .

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Legal Australia-Wide Survey: Legal need in Australia   

, 2012 The Legal Australia-Wide Survey (LAW Survey) provides the first comprehensive quantitative assessment across Australia of an extensive range of legal needs on a representative sample of the population. It examines the nature of legal problems, the pathways to their resolution, and the demographic groups that struggle with the weight of their legal problems.


9. Findings across Australia in context


The current report series investigates the high-level patterns in legal need, response and resolution in each Australian jurisdiction. The present chapter compares the LAW Survey findings for Australia as a whole to those for the eight states/territories. A generally consistent picture emerged across jurisdictions, suggesting broad similarities in the overall experience, handling and resolution of legal problems. The chapter also compares the LAW Survey findings to those from recent overseas surveys. The present results largely reinforce key international findings, confirming the widespread and often severe nature of legal problems, the particular vulnerability of disadvantaged groups, the considerable inaction in response to legal problems and the barriers to legal resolution. In addition, the present report series provides a stepping stone for more fine-grained analyses of legal need in subsequent reports using the large national dataset.

Although the present findings were broadly similar across jurisdictions, a greater number of significant results emerged at the national level, in keeping with the large national sample. Occasional significant differences between states/territories were also observed. Given the numerous analyses conducted, these differences may sometimes have occurred by chance and may not always represent fundamental differences in legal needs. In addition, any real differences in legal needs between jurisdictions may be due to a myriad of factors, and it can be difficult to pinpoint the precise factors at play. However, where jurisdictional disparity in the survey results may reflect differences in demographic profiles or service environments, this is noted.