: Legal needs survey

Legal needs survey

David Carter
Federal

The Legal Australia-Wide Survey (‘LAW Survey’), released by the NSW Law and Justice Foundation and National Legal Aid, has found a large number of Australians are affected by legal difficulties with people living with a disability, single parents, unemployed people and Indigenous people most likely to experience legal problems.

Commissioned by the eight state and territory legal aid commissions the survey was the largest of its kind conducted in the world and involved 20 000 telephone interviews nation-wide.

Where legal problems arise, legal advice is not commonly sought and many Australians attempt to resolve legal problems alone or without quality legal support.

Some of the key findings of the survey include:

  • Half of all respondents experienced a legal problem in the last 12 months, with 22 per cent experiencing three or more legal problems;
  • The most common legal problems included consumer affairs (21%), crime (14%), housing (12%) and government (11%);
  • People with a disability and single parents were twice as likely to experience legal problems;
  • Indigenous people were more likely to experience multiple legal problems including government, health and rights related problems.

The Commonwealth is currently reviewing legal assistance services they provide through an independent review process. Details can be found on the Attorney-General’s website, 
http://www.ag.gov.au.

DAVID CARTER is a PhD candidate in law at the University 
of Technology Sydney.

(2012) 37(4) AltLJ 285
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