Note: the original hard copy of this report is 350 pages .

cover image

Justice made to measure: NSW legal needs survey in disadvantaged areas   

, 2006 Six disadvantaged areas were surveyed by telephone interviews: three suburban areas within Sydney (Campbelltown, Fairfield, South Sydney), one major provincial centre (Newcastle) and two rural/remote areas (Nambucca and Walgett)...

Ch 2. The present study


The present study aimed to address the gap in knowledge about legal issues in NSW by assessing a broad range of legal events in six areas of NSW via a large-scale telephone survey. It was decided to focus on areas of NSW that exhibited relatively high levels of disadvantage given the empirical evidence suggesting that disadvantaged groups are particularly vulnerable to experiencing legal events.1

The more specific aims of the present study were to measure the following, in six disadvantaged areas:

  1. the incidence of legal events
  2. the response to legal events, including the use of legal services
  3. the satisfaction with any assistance received
  4. the resolution of legal events
  5. the satisfaction with the outcome of legal events
  6. the relationship of the above to various sociodemographic characteristics (i.e. gender, age, Indigenous Australian status, country of birth, disability status, personal income and education) and to various characteristics of legal events (e.g. type of event, recency of the event, resolution status of the event).

By addressing the above aims, the main objective of the present study was to provide valuable evidence-based data to inform debate and policy directions concerning legal service provision and access to justice for disadvantaged communities in NSW.

The current report presents the overall findings across the six disadvantaged areas surveyed. Subsequent reports will provide a regional analysis of the survey results and will examine the findings for specific groups of disadvantaged people.

 As outlined in the Method section below, a relatively high score on an index of cumulative disadvantage was only one criterion used for selecting the areas for study. The areas were also selected on the basis that they covered geographically diverse areas of NSW, included an area with a relatively high Indigenous population, and included an area that is culturally and linguistically diverse.