Bushfire Appeals
News  | 

Disadvantaged Face More Legal Problems - LAW Survey

Thursday, 11th October 2012 at 11:52 am
Staff Reporter
Australians with a disability and single parents are twice as likely to experience legal problems, according to a landmark national study.

Thursday, 11th October 2012
at 11:52 am
Staff Reporter



Disadvantaged Face More Legal Problems - LAW Survey
Thursday, 11th October 2012 at 11:52 am

Australians with a disability and single parents are twice as likely to experience legal problems, according to a landmark national study.

The LAW Survey (Legal Australia-Wide Survey) published by the Law and Justice Foundation of NSW is described the largest ever survey of legal need conducted anywhere in the world.

It shows that legal problems are widespread and that many disadvantaged people are particularly vulnerable to multiple and substantial legal problems.

Based on 20,716 interviews on a representative sample of the Australian population, the LAW Survey shows 50% of Australians 15 years or over (an estimated 8,513,000 people) experienced at least one legal problem over a 12-month period, including 22% (an estimated 3,736,000 people) who experienced three or more legal problems.

The key findings from the survey indicate that people with a disability and single parents were twice as likely to experience legal problems. The unemployed and people living in disadvantaged housing also had heightened vulnerability.

It found Indigenous people were more likely to experience multiple legal problems including government, health and rights related problems.

The most common legal problems reported were consumer (21% of respondents), crime (14%), housing (12%) and government (11%) problems.

Many respondents reported adverse consequences as a result of their legal problems—financial strain was associated with 29% of problems, stress-related illness with 20%, physical ill health with 19%, relationship breakdown with 10% and having to move home with 5%.

It found that legal problems related to family issues had the most adverse consequences.

“While legal problems were widespread, there is no ‘rush to law’,” the Director

Law and Justice Foundation of New South Wales, Geoff Mulherin said.

“Respondents sought advice for 51% of legal problems, with a legal professional being used for only 16% of legal problems.

“Legal problems were only rarely finalised via formal legal proceedings in a court or tribunal (3%) or via formal dispute resolution or complaint-handling processes (3%).

The LAW Survey showed that some respondents who did nothing about their legal problems (sometimes ignoring serious legal problems) had unmet legal need and achieved poor outcomes.

Mulherin said the LAW Survey proposes a range of integrated strategies to achieve justice for all people and expresses the hope that the approach proposed will be a key input to legal assistance policy and planning.

A copy of the report can be downloaded at www.lawfoundation.net.au

The Law and Justice Foundation of New South Wales is an independent, statutory, Not for Profit organisation established in 1967 to advance the fairness and equity of the justice system.


Got a story to share?

Got a news tip or article idea for Pro Bono News? Or perhaps you would like to write an article and join a growing community of sector leaders sharing their thoughts and analysis with Pro Bono News readers?

Get in touch at news@probonoaustralia.com.au

One Comment

  • Bob Buckley Bob Buckley says:

    Despite blatant and rampant discrimination against people with a disability, I have yet to find a legal case where anyone has successfully prosecuted a disability discrimination complaint against any government agency. The Australian legal system fails to protect people with a disability from entrenched disability discrimination by government agencies, the agencies that people with disability depend on for so many essential services in their lives.
    Successive Attorneys-General just don’t give a damn.

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Irish politicians urged to make disability rights a priority

Luke Michael

Friday, 24th January 2020 at 4:58 pm

The NDIS needs a new plan

Wendy Williams

Tuesday, 3rd December 2019 at 8:15 am

Government vows to remove young people with disability from aged care

Luke Michael

Thursday, 28th November 2019 at 8:11 am


NDIS not yet in tune with the needs of participants

Luke Michael

Monday, 20th January 2020 at 4:46 pm

What impact will the bushfire crisis have on homelessness?

Luke Michael

Wednesday, 15th January 2020 at 4:28 pm

The rise (and scepticism) of Facebook fundraisers

Maggie Coggan

Thursday, 16th January 2020 at 8:49 am

New fund paves the way for impact investment in the charity sector

Luke Michael

Friday, 17th January 2020 at 4:34 pm

Bushfire Appeals
pba inverse logo
Subscribe Twitter Facebook

Get the social sector's most essential news coverage. Delivered free to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning.

You have Successfully Subscribed!