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How do you know what legal problems people in your area are experiencing?

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Presentation on theme: "How do you know what legal problems people in your area are experiencing?"— Presentation transcript:

1 How do you know what legal problems people in your area are experiencing?

2 Access to justice and legal needs research program To ascertain ‘unmet’ legal need –large scale telephone surveys (6 disadvantaged LGAs in NSW; Statewide) –Qualitative research projects re disadvantaged groups (in- depth interviews, statistics, literature)

3 Legal need survey: What people did about a legal event Common response was to do nothing Considerable proportion handled the matter alone without outside help (Justice made to measure)

4 Why people did not seek help Problem not serious enough/ didn’t realise how serious it was (30%) Thought seeking help would make no difference/make things worse (26%) Had bigger problems/ too busy/ thought it would take too long (11%) Didn’t know how to get help/ couldn’t get there (10%)

5 Where people went for help When sought help, only 1 adviser used – 78% Majority of events – only non-legal adviser

6 Type of legal adviser Legal advice of some sort in 26% But legal adviser was a traditional legal service provider in only 12%

7 Type of non-legal adviser Non-legal professionals used frequently –doctor, counsellor, accountant 25% Choice of adviser was generally appropriate –e.g. school staff for education events

8 Identifying legal need: demographic data What are the key characteristics of your community? –Population size and age –CALD, ATSI, home ownership, employment

9 How does your area differ from other areas on certain measures (NSW)?

10 How does your area compare on socioeconomic (SEIFA) indices for area, on relative disadvantage?

11 Data Digest: ‘expressed’ legal need Data from main publicly funded legal services (Legal Aid, LawAccess, CLCs) re: –Types of legal matters inquires made about –Demographic characteristics & location of inquirers –Pathways people take to resolve legal issues –Changes in types of inquiries over time –Rates of inquires for different legal issue by population groups and areas of NSW Data Digest 3: –On line by June 2008 –Create own reports by area, demographic, legal issue etc.

12 Legal needs identified in different disadvantaged groups One source: Law and Justice Foundation of NSW, Access to Justice and Legal Needs Research Program

13 Incidence of legal events Diversity of experience Some people – resilient Others - multiple events –Those with 3+ events accounted for 79% of all events reported –Some people appear to be particularly vulnerable

14 Legal need in disadvantaged communities Civil, family, criminal law events common in disadvantaged communities Some events co-occur: –general crime, consumer, government, accident/injury and employment events –family and domestic violence events –business and credit/debt events (Justice Made to Measure)

15 Homeless people Entering homelessness: –Family/DV, debt, housing (rent arrears, damage, eviction, discrimination ) Entrenched homelessness: –fines, victim of crime, social security, policing Multiple and inter-related legal issues and social issues (AOD, mental illness) (No home, no justice?)

16 People with mental illness Mental Health Act 1990 (NSW), adult guardianship Discrimination (employment, education, insurance) Housing: DOH, private rental, boarding house Social security: eligibility, breaching, debt, fraud Consumer: credit card, phone/contractual debt, banking Domestic violence, victim of crime Family law, care and protection (On the edge of justice)

17 Older people Housing: Home ownership, tenancy, aged care, retirement village and residential park Health: Advanced care directives, complaints, Finance: Social security/veterans, super, credit/debit, consumer Power of Attorney, wills, guardianship issues Discrimination Elder abuse Family: grandparenting issues (Legal needs, older people)

18 Legal need at different ages: peaks 15 to 24 yearsGeneral crime, accident/injury 25 to 34 yearsCredit/debt, government, housing 35 to 44 yearsFamily 45 to 54 yearsWills/estates, employment 65 or overWills/estates. lower rates for other types of legal events (Justice Made to Measure)

19 Chronic disease & disability Overall 1.7 times more likely than others to have had a legal event –consumer events –government –education –credit and debt –crime and family –Housing (Justice Made to Measure)

20 Indigenous people More likely than others to have had –credit/debt –employment –family events  less likely to prepare or alter wills. (Justice Made to Measure)

21 CALD More likely than others to have had Wills/estates General crime Accident/injury (Justice Made to Measure)

22 The Law and Justice Foundation of NSW is in the process of developing an interactive computer application with, integrated data mining and spatial mapping capabilities. The main aims of the Data Digest 3 (DD3) project are: –to enhance the description, analysis and interpretation of legal need in NSW, particularly as it is expressed by socially and economically disadvantaged persons. –to assist the public legal sector in the modelling, planning and delivery of legal assistance services in NSW Data Digest 3

23 DD3 will contain de-identified legal inquiries records from Legal Aid, LawAccess and CLCs DD3 will allow users to generate information on: –the type of legal matter for which inquiries are made; –the demographic characteristics of those who seek assistance; –the pathways that service users take to resolve their problems; –changes in legal inquiries over time; –the rate of legal inquiries for particular population groups and/or geographic areas of NSW; and, –spatial maps of legal need and how legal need relates to socio- economic measures, such as Census indicators of disadvantage.

24 The Cooperative Legal Service Delivery (CLSD) Program

25 CLSD Objectives  Disadvantaged people able to efficiently & effectively access legal services.  Legal need & equity in provision of legal services & resources.  Legal services in a region planned & delivered in a co- ordinated & co-operative manner.

26 CLSD Goals  Maximise the use of resources in the region.  Extend region’s capacity to meet demand through co-operative arrangements.  Improve access to pro bono in regional and rural areas.  Outcomes: Success measured by capacity to enhance access to a broader, more effective range of legal services within the region.

27 CLSD Strategies  Regional coalitions of key legal service providers.  Improved referral mechanisms.  Evidence-based planning of legal services.  Improved access to pro bono.  Central co-ordination through Legal Aid NSW.

28 CLSD Regions Regionally based approach, divides the State into regional coalitions of legal services comprising: Legal Aid (Head Office & local reps) Community Legal Centres Aboriginal Legal Services Regional Law Societies Local Courts Community Justice Centres Tenancy Services Women’s Domestic Violence Court Assistance Schemes (WDVCASs) Financial Counsellors Family Relationship Centres Disability Services Pro bono providers OTHERS on ad hoc/informal basis - quasi-legal/related bodies (Local Govt, Govt agencies - Centrelink etc)

29 Evidence-based planning  Use LawAccess NSW data to highlight trends (e.g. a high level of credit and debt matters in Dubbo), age differences in clients.  Demographic & Jurisdictional data  Anecdotal  Forward planning  Joint submissions for resources to the regions/systemic issues





34 1. Shoal Coast (Nowra) Legal Aid Nowra:  Civil – 1 Legal Officer (LO), 1 Homeless LO (24 Months)  Family – 1.5 LO in Nowra, 0.5 LO (operating from Bega)  Crime – 2 LO’s Shoal Coast CLC (Nowra) ALS Nowra FRC Nowra WDVCAS Nowra Illawarra & South Coast Tenants Advice & Advocacy Service (Warrawong) Southern NSW Aboriginal TAAS (Batemans Bay) services Illawarra Pro bono



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