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Research Report: Justice made to measure: NSW legal needs survey in disadvantaged areas
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Justice made to measure: NSW legal needs survey in disadvantaged areas  ( 2006 )  Cite this report

Ch 8. Satisfaction with the outcome of legal events



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Factors related to satisfaction with the outcome of legal events


A mixed-effects logistic regression was conducted to determine the significant, independent predictors of satisfaction with the outcome of legal events that participants reported had been resolved.2 In the regression, satisfaction with outcome was a binary variable such that resolved events where the individual was satisfied with the outcome were contrasted with all other resolved events.3 Potential predictor variables were the sociodemographic variables, the type of legal event, the recency of the legal event, the action taken in response to the legal event and the method used to resolve the legal event.

Table 8.3 provides a summary of the regression results and Appendix Table C32 presents the full results of the regression. As can be seen from Table 8.3, the type of legal event, the recency of the event and the action taken in response to the event were significant, independent predictors of satisfaction with the outcome of resolved events. The results of the regression are further discussed below, with reference to the relevant descriptive statistics.

Table 8.3: Summary of mixed-effects binary logistic regression for satisfaction with outcome of resolved legal events

SIGNIFICANT VARIABLES
VariableComparison
Odds ratioa
Legal event groupbCivil
Accident/injury versus average
3.4
Business versus average
0.3
Consumer versus average
0.6
Credit/debt versus average
ns
Education versus average
ns
Employment versus average
ns
Government versus average
0.3
Health versus average
ns
Housing versus average
ns
Human rights versus average
ns
Wills/estates versus average
9.4
Criminal
Domestic violence versus average
ns
General crime versus average
0.4
Traffic offences versus average
ns
Family
Family versus average
ns
Recency of event7–12 months ago versus 0–6 months ago
0.7
Action takenHandled alone versus sought help
1.7
Did nothing versus sought help
0.5
NON-SIGNIFICANT VARIABLESGender, age, Indigenous status, country of birth, disability status, personal income, education level, method of resolution
a An odds ratio greater than 1.0 indicates the first category in the comparison had higher odds than the second.
An odds ratio less than 1.0 indicates the first category in the comparison had lower odds than the second.
b Each legal event group was compared to the average effect for all legal event groups (rather than to any specific legal event group).
Notes: N=1357 events and 879 participants. Data on one or more potential predictor variables were missing for 378 events where information was provided on satisfaction with outcome of resolved events.
‘ns’ indicates the odds ratio was not statistically significant, that is, the odds for the first category in the comparison were not statistically different from the odds for the second (even though the overall variable was significant).

Sociodemographic factors

Table 8.4 presents the percentage of participants who were satisfied with the outcome of their resolved events broken down by each sociodemographic characteristic. According to the regression, satisfaction with the outcome of resolved events was not significantly related to any of the sociodemographic characteristics examined (see Table 8.3).

Table 8.4: Satisfaction with outcome of resolved legal events by each sociodemographic factor, all six LGAs, 2003

Sociodemographic factor
Satisfaction with outcome
No. of events
Satisfied % of events
Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied % of events
Dissatisfied % of events
GenderFemale
76.3
9.9
13.7
837
Male
80.6
7.8
11.6
898
Total
78.6
8.8
12.6
1735
Age (years)15–24
75.7
10.3
14.1
370
25–34
78
11
11
391
35–44
77.5
7.5
15
374
45–54
78.5
9.3
12.2
311
55–64
82.5
4.5
13
154
65+
86.6
6
7.5
134
Total
78.5
8.8
12.6
1734
Indigenous statusIndigenous
76.5
5.9
17.6
51
Non-Indigenous
77.9
9.1
13
1491
Total
77.9
8.9
13.2
1542
Country of birthEnglish speaking
78.6
9.1
12.3
1533
Non-English speaking
78.4
6.5
15.1
199
Total
78.6
8.8
12.6
1732
Disability statusDisability
80.3
7.5
12.2
361
No disability
78.1
9.1
12.8
1369
Total
78.6
8.8
12.7
1730
Personal income ($/week)0–199
77.8
10.9
11.3
284
200–499
79.5
7.1
13.3
533
500–999
77.9
9.1
13
584
1000+
80.8
8.9
10.3
213
Total
78.8
8.7
12.5
1614
Education levelDidn’t finish/at school
83.3
5.6
11.1
162
Year 10/equivalent
82.2
7
10.7
428
Year 12/equivalent
76.6
9.6
13.8
376
Certificate/diploma
74.3
10.3
15.4
331
University degree
78.3
9.9
11.8
433
Total
78.6
8.8
12.6
1730
Notes: Information on satisfaction with outcome was provided for 1735 resolved events. Where the total for a given sociodemographic factor is less than 1735, data were missing on that factor.

Type of legal event

According to the regression, the type of legal event was a significant predictor of satisfaction with the outcome of resolved events. The odds of satisfaction with the outcome of events were about three times higher than average for accident/injury events and about nine times higher than average for wills/estates events (see Table 8.3). Resolved business, consumer, government and general crime events all had lower odds of satisfaction with the outcome when compared with the average for all resolved events (see Table 8.3). Figure 8.3 shows that participants were satisfied with the outcome of 96.8 per cent of resolved wills/estates events and 88.8 per cent of resolved accident/injury events, but only around two-thirds of resolved business, consumer, government and general crime events.

Figure 8.3: Satisfaction with the outcome of resolved legal events by legal event group, all six LGAs, 2003


Notes: N=1733 events. Two unclassified events were excluded.

Recency of legal event

The odds of satisfaction with the outcome of resolved events were lower for events that occurred seven to 12 months prior to the survey than for more recent events (see Table 8.3). Table 8.5 shows that participants reported being dissatisfied with the outcome of approximately 12 per cent of the resolved events that occurred in the six months prior to the survey, but with 13.1 to 15.5 per cent of the resolved events that occurred seven to 12 months prior to the survey.

Table 8.5: Satisfaction with outcome of resolved legal events by recency of legal events, all six LGAs, 2003

Recency of event: no. of months prior to survey
Satisfaction with outcome
No. of events
Satisfied % of events
Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied % of events
Dissatisfied % of events
0–3
78.8
9.2
12
567
4–6
80
8.1
11.9
445
7–9
77.6
9.3
13.1
397
10–12
75.5
9
15.5
245
Total
78.4
8.9
12.8
1654
Note: Information on recency was missing for 81 of the 1735 resolved events that had information on satisfaction with outcome.

Action taken

According to the regression, the odds of satisfaction with the outcome of resolved legal events were lower for events where participants did nothing than for events where participants sought help (see Table 8.3). In addition, the odds of satisfaction with the outcome of resolved events were higher for events that participants handled alone than for events where participants sought help (see Table 8.3). Table 8.6 shows that participants reported being satisfied with the outcome of 85.1 per cent of the resolved events that they handled alone, 81.0 per cent of the resolved events for which they sought help, but only 69.4 per cent of the resolved events for which they took no action.

Table 8.6: Satisfaction with outcome of resolved legal events by action taken in response to legal events, all six LGAs, 2003

Action taken
Satisfaction with outcome
No. of events
Satisfied % of events
Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied % of events
Dissatisfied % of events
Sought help
81
7.1
11.9
886
Handled alone
85.1
7.4
7.4
350
Did nothing
69.4
13.1
17.6
490
Total
78.6
8.9
12.6
1726
Note: Information on action taken was missing for nine of the 1735 resolved legal events that had information on satisfaction with outcome.

Method of resolution

Table 8.7 shows the percentage of resolved events where participants were satisfied with the outcome broken down by the method used for resolution. According to the regression, the method used for resolution was not a significant independent predictor of whether or not participants were satisfied with the outcome of resolved events (see Table 8.3).

Table 8.7: Satisfaction with outcome of resolved legal events by method of resolution, all six LGAs, 2003

Method of resolution
Satisfaction with outcome
No. of events
Satisfied % of events
Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied % of events
Dissatisfied % of events
On own
78.4
9.3
12.3
1268
Through legal proceedings
76.1
4.3
19.6
138
Some other way
80.2
8.8
10.9
329
Total
78.6
8.8
12.6
1735

Satisfaction with assistance

Table 8.8 is based only on the 774 resolved events where participants sought help, and presents a breakdown of satisfaction with the outcome of resolved events by satisfaction with the assistance received for these events from the sole or most useful adviser.4 Not surprisingly, the chi-square test conducted revealed a significant relationship whereby participants who reported being satisfied with the outcome of resolved events also tended to report being satisfied with the assistance they received for these events. Participants reported being satisfied with the outcome of 87.9 per cent of the resolved events where they were satisfied with the assistance they received, but only 41.2 per cent of the resolved events where they were dissatisfied with the assistance they received.

Table 8.8: Satisfaction with outcome of resolved legal events by satisfaction with assistance from sole or most useful adviser, all six LGAs, 2003

Satisfaction with assistance
Satisfaction with outcome
No. of events
Satisfied % of events
Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied % of events
Dissatisfied % of events
Satisfied
87.9
4.8
7.3
668
Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied
39.5
21.1
39.5
38
Dissatisfied
41.2
13.2
45.6
68
Total
81.4
6.3
12.3
774
Note: x2=143.46, df=4, p=0.000.

A mixed-effects regression was appropriate here because some individuals had more than one resolved legal event for which information was available on satisfaction with outcome.
That is, this variable was coded into two categories. One category included all resolved events where the individual was satisfied with the outcome. The second category included all resolved events where the individual was dissatisfied with the outcome and all resolved events where the individual was neither satisfied nor dissatisfied with the outcome.
This relationship was not examined in the regression analysis because it would have required restricting the analysis to these 744 resolved events and excluding the remaining resolved events where participants did not seek help.

 A mixed-effects regression was appropriate here because some individuals had more than one resolved legal event for which information was available on satisfaction with outcome.
 That is, this variable was coded into two categories. One category included all resolved events where the individual was satisfied with the outcome. The second category included all resolved events where the individual was dissatisfied with the outcome and all resolved events where the individual was neither satisfied nor dissatisfied with the outcome.
 This relationship was not examined in the regression analysis because it would have required restricting the analysis to these 744 resolved events and excluding the remaining resolved events where participants did not seek help.


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Coumarelos, C, Wei , Z & Zhou, AH 2006, Justice made to measure: NSW legal needs survey in disadvantaged areas, Law and Justice Foundation of NSW, Sydney