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Research Report: Data Digest LawAccess 2002-2004 Report
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Data Digest LawAccess 2002-2004 Report  ( 2007 )  Cite this report

LawAccess NSW 2002-2004



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The type of legal matter


Broad area of law
  • Figure 1 shows that more than half of all inquiries to LawAccess NSW in the 2002 to 2004 period were in the area of civil law (56%). Family law inquiries were the next most frequent (30%), with the remaining inquiries (14%) related to crime.

Figure 1: Percentage of inquiries by broad area of law
LawAccess NSW, 2002–2004


Notes: N=252 966. An additional 113 records were missing legal
matter information.
Source: LawAccess NSW (unpublished data).

Trends in broad area of law

  • Table 1 and Figure 2a show that there has been a small decrease in the proportion of civil law inquiries - down from around 58 per cent in both 2002 and 2003 to 54 per cent in 2004. Over the same period, there has been small increases in the proportion of family law inquiries (up by 1%) and criminal law inquiries (up by 2%).
  • However, these small proportional changes hide a significant increase in the number of inquiries to LawAccess NSW across all three areas of law. From 2002 to 2004:
    • the number of family law inquiries increased by more than 94 per cent;
    • the number of criminal law inquiries increased by almost 118 per cent;
    • the number of civil law inquiries increased by 74 per cent; and,
    • the total number of inquiries increased by more than 85 per cent.
  • Civil law inquiries significantly decreased from 2003 to 2004. Over the same period, there was a significant increase in both family law and criminal law inquiries.

Table 1: Number and percentage of inquiries by broad area of law and year
LawAccess NSW, 2002–2004
Broad area of law
2002
2003
2004
All
Family%
29.6
28.7
31.0
29.9
No.
18 083
22 541
35 102
75 726
Crime%
12.6
13.0
14.8
13.7
No.
7 707
10 213
16 783
34 703
Civil%
57.8
58.4
54.2
56.3
No.
35 256
45 900
61 381
142 537
Total%
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0
No.
61 046
78 654
113 266
252 966
Notes: N=252 966. An additional 113 records were missing legal matter information.
Source: LawAccess NSW (unpublished data).

Figure 2a: Percentage of total inquiries in family, crime and civil law by year
LawAccess NSW, 2002–2004

Notes
: N=252 966. An additional 113 records were missing legal matter information.
Source: LawAccess NSW (unpublished data).

  • Figure 2b provides a breakdown of inquiries for each year in terms of broad area of law across each LawAccess service — that is, whether the inquiry was dealt with as an Information or as an Advice.4
  • It may be seen that the changes to the proportion of civil, family and criminal law inquiries from 2002 to 2004 were largely the result of a significant decrease in the proportion of civil inquiries dealt with by the Advice service (Note: the Advice service is represented by the dotted lines in Figure 2b). At the same time, the Advice service saw a significant increase in the proportion of family law and criminal law inquiries.
  • On the other hand, the profile of family, criminal and civil law matters within the Information service (represented by the solid lines in Figure 2b) remained largely unchanged across the three-year period for each broad area of law.

Figure 2b: Percentage of inquiries in family, crime and civil law by year and service (Information and Advice)
LawAccess NSW, 2002–2004

Notes
: N=252 966. An additional 113 records were missing legal matter information.
Source: LawAccess NSW (unpublished data).

Inquiries to LawAccess NSW will be dealt with as an Information or as an Advice. The difference involves the level of assistance and support provided. Inquiries handled by a customer service officer and dealt with by means of the provision of basic legal information are recorded as an Information. The provision of a legal advice session by a qualified legal officer characterises an Advice.

 Inquiries to LawAccess NSW will be dealt with as an Information or as an Advice. The difference involves the level of assistance and support provided. Inquiries handled by a customer service officer and dealt with by means of the provision of basic legal information are recorded as an Information. The provision of a legal advice session by a qualified legal officer characterises an Advice.


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Cain, M 2007, Data digest reports, Law and Justice Foundation of NSW, Sydney