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


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  • What comes through the door? Other data?
  • At the LJF we do research to identify and understand legal need - including looking at ‘unmet’ legal need One thing the telephone surveys tell us is that only a small proportion of legal problems will be taken to lawyers for help. And I will quickly take you through these findings
  • In the legal needs survey of approximately 2500 people, we asked people about various legal problems they had (for instance in housing, employment, crime) and what they did about those problems. O f those people who had experienced a legal event in the last 12 months, about half (51%) seek help from somewhere (lawyers or otherwise). ( Justice made to measure)
  • In the survey main reasons given for not seeking help So where did they go?
  • 25% sought help from lawyers (including friends who are lawyers) 75% from other sources (other professionals, local councils, government agencies, friends, unions etc).
  • Point is: there is legal need out there that you will not identify by what walks in your door . Not all of that is legal need that you can or should service, but it may assist to understand it. It may also be affecting the legal problems that you do deal with. It is likely to have been quite appropriate for people to go to these alternative sources with their problems – such as to a union regarding an employment issue, or to Centrelink if there was a problem with their social security payment.
  • ABS is a key primary source. On the hand out – last page – I give you the direct link to some of the ABS information which will tell you about the population in your area.
  • Sometimes local government areas are too small – because you serve many LGAs. Another level of information is provided in NSW, by NSW Health. On the link provided on the sheet, NSW Health provide a range of social indicators by Area Health Service. I am not certain of the overlap between AHSs and CLC areas – but it does show how information like this can be organised for different areas. One question to you is whether it would be useful to have this type of information organised by CLC service areas.
  • ABS (2006 :4) “we define disadvantage in terms of Individuals’ access to material and social resources, and their ability to participate in society”. ABS will be producing SEIFA data from the 2006 Census in March 2008.
  • Expressed legal need concerns those legal issues which DO walk through the door/ring on the phone of legal assistance services. Data from: Chamber Magistrate Service LawAccess NSW Legal Aid NSW Information/Advice Service Legal Aid NSW Duty Solicitor Service Legal Information Access Centre, State Library of NSW NSW Community Legal Centres (generalist and specialist) With DD3 users will be able to create reports themselves, by local area and/or by demographic. Can look at all inquiries or particular legal issues.
  • Will talk about information on Legal Need arising from our research into access to justice and legal needs of disadvantaged people and groups in NSW. The reason for presenting this to you today is that, if you identify particular high needs groups of people within the communities you serve, then research about the needs of people with those characteristics or issues can be used in your legal needs assessments. The information we collect is one example.. I will take you through a summary of the information we have on each of these groups regarding their legal need
  • To begin with disadvantaged people often experience multiple legal events.
  • I am personally interested in exploring what civil issues co-occur with family violence..
  • . Together with people who are transient, this group also has difficulties complying with social security requirements because of chaotic lives and lack of a permanent address.
  • Report did not identify which were most prevalent legal issues. Among the issues identified were:
  • These types of figures may suggest that if you have high numbers of a particular age group in your areas (e.g., very young population), this may impact on the types of legal need in the area.
  • consumer events (2.1x), government (2x) education (1.8), credit and debt , crime and family (1.7x), Housing (1.6)
  • credit/debt, (2.0 x higher) employment (2.0 x higher) family problems. (2.1 x)
  • Wills/estates (2.4 times) Crime (1.6 x) Accident/injury (1.5x)
  • How do you know what legal problems people in your area are ...

    1. 1. How do you know what legal problems people in your area are experiencing?
    2. 2. Access to justice and legal needs research program <ul><li>To ascertain ‘unmet’ legal need </li></ul><ul><ul><li>large scale telephone surveys (6 disadvantaged LGAs in NSW; Statewide) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Qualitative research projects re disadvantaged groups (in- depth interviews, statistics, literature) </li></ul></ul>
    3. 3. Legal need survey : What people did about a legal event <ul><li>Common response was to do nothing </li></ul><ul><li>Considerable proportion handled the matter alone without outside help </li></ul><ul><li>(Justice made to measure) </li></ul>
    4. 4. Why people did not seek help <ul><li>Problem not serious enough/ didn’t realise how serious it was (30%) </li></ul><ul><li>Thought seeking help would make no difference/make things worse (26%) </li></ul><ul><li>Had bigger problems/ too busy/ thought it would take too long (11%) </li></ul><ul><li>Didn’t know how to get help/ couldn’t get there (10%) </li></ul>
    5. 5. Where people went for help <ul><li>When sought help, only 1 adviser used – 78% </li></ul><ul><li>Majority of events – only non-legal adviser </li></ul>
    6. 6. Type of legal adviser <ul><li>Legal advice of some sort in 26% </li></ul><ul><li>But legal adviser was a traditional legal service provider in only 12% </li></ul>
    7. 7. Type of non-legal adviser <ul><li>Non-legal professionals used frequently </li></ul><ul><ul><li>doctor, counsellor, accountant 25% </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Choice of adviser was generally appropriate </li></ul><ul><ul><li>e.g. school staff for education events </li></ul></ul>
    8. 8. Identifying legal need: demographic data <ul><li>What are the key characteristics of your community? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Population size and age </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>CALD, ATSI, home ownership, employment </li></ul></ul><ul><li>http:// </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul>
    9. 9. How does your area differ from other areas on certain measures (NSW)? <ul><li> </li></ul>
    10. 10. How does your area compare on socioeconomic (SEIFA) indices for area, on relative disadvantage?
    11. 11. Data Digest: ‘expressed’ legal need <ul><li>Data from main publicly funded legal services (Legal Aid, LawAccess, CLCs) re: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Types of legal matters inquires made about </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Demographic characteristics & location of inquirers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pathways people take to resolve legal issues </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Changes in types of inquiries over time </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Rates of inquires for different legal issue by population groups and areas of NSW </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Data Digest 3: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>On line by June 2008 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Create own reports by area, demographic, legal issue etc. </li></ul></ul>
    12. 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. 13. Incidence of legal events <ul><li>Diversity of experience </li></ul><ul><li>Some people – resilient </li></ul><ul><li>Others - multiple events </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Those with 3+ events accounted for 79% of all events reported </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Some people appear to be particularly vulnerable </li></ul></ul>
    14. 14. Legal need in disadvantaged communities <ul><li>Civil, family, criminal law events common in disadvantaged communities </li></ul><ul><li>Some events co-occur: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>general crime, consumer, government, accident/injury and employment events </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>family and domestic violence events </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>business and credit/debt events </li></ul></ul>(Justice Made to Measure)
    15. 15. Homeless people <ul><li>Entering homelessness: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Family/DV, debt, housing (rent arrears, damage, eviction, discrimination ) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Entrenched homelessness: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>fines, victim of crime, social security, policing </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Multiple and inter-related legal issues and social issues (AOD, mental illness) </li></ul>(No home, no justice?)
    16. 16. People with mental illness <ul><li>Mental Health Act 1990 (NSW), adult guardianship </li></ul><ul><li>Discrimination (employment, education, insurance) </li></ul><ul><li>Housing: DOH, private rental, boarding house </li></ul><ul><li>Social security: eligibility, breaching, debt, fraud </li></ul><ul><li>Consumer: credit card, phone/contractual debt, banking </li></ul><ul><li>Domestic violence, victim of crime </li></ul><ul><li>Family law, care and protection </li></ul>(On the edge of justice)
    17. 17. Older people <ul><li>Housing: Home ownership, tenancy, aged care, retirement village and residential park </li></ul><ul><li>Health: Advanced care directives, complaints, </li></ul><ul><li>Finance: Social security/veterans, super, credit/debit, consumer </li></ul><ul><li>Power of Attorney, wills, guardianship issues </li></ul><ul><li>Discrimination </li></ul><ul><li>Elder abuse </li></ul><ul><li>Family: grandparenting issues </li></ul>(Legal needs, older people)
    18. 18. Legal need at different ages: peaks (Justice Made to Measure) Wills/estates. lower rates for other types of legal events 65 or over Wills/estates, employment 45 to 54 years Family 35 to 44 years Credit/debt, government, housing 25 to 34 years General crime, accident/injury 15 to 24 years
    19. 19. Chronic disease & disability <ul><li>Overall 1.7 times more likely than others to have had a legal event </li></ul><ul><ul><li>consumer events </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>government </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>education </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>credit and debt </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>crime and family </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Housing </li></ul></ul>(Justice Made to Measure)
    20. 20. Indigenous people <ul><li>More likely than others to have had </li></ul><ul><ul><li>credit/debt </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>employment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>family events </li></ul></ul><ul><li>less likely to prepare or alter wills. </li></ul><ul><li>(Justice Made to Measure) </li></ul>
    21. 21. CALD <ul><li>More likely than others to have had </li></ul><ul><li>Wills/estates </li></ul><ul><li>General crime </li></ul><ul><li>Accident/injury </li></ul>(Justice Made to Measure)
    22. 22. <ul><li>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: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>t o enhance the description, analysis and interpretation of legal need in NSW, particularly as it is expressed by socially and economically disadvantaged persons. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>to assist the public legal sector in the modelling, planning and delivery of legal assistance services in NSW </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>Data Digest 3
    23. 23. Data Digest 3 <ul><li>DD3 will contain de-identified legal inquiries records from Legal Aid, LawAccess and CLCs </li></ul><ul><li>DD3 will allow users to generate information on: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>the type of legal matter for which inquiries are made; </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>the demographic characteristics of those who seek assistance; </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>the pathways that service users take to resolve their problems; </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>changes in legal inquiries over time; </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>the rate of legal inquiries for particular population groups and/or geographic areas of NSW; and, </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>spatial maps of legal need and how legal need relates to socio-economic measures, such as Census indicators of disadvantage. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
    24. 24. The Cooperative Legal Service Delivery (CLSD) Program
    25. 25. CLSD Objectives <ul><li>Disadvantaged people able to efficiently & effectively access legal services. </li></ul><ul><li>Legal need & equity in provision of legal services & resources. </li></ul><ul><li>Legal services in a region planned & delivered in a co-ordinated & co-operative manner. </li></ul>
    26. 26. CLSD Goals <ul><li>Maximise the use of resources in the region. </li></ul><ul><li>Extend region’s capacity to meet demand through co-operative arrangements. </li></ul><ul><li>Improve access to pro bono in regional and rural areas. </li></ul><ul><li>Outcomes: Success measured by capacity to enhance access to a broader, more effective range of legal services within the region. </li></ul>
    27. 27. CLSD Strategies <ul><li>Regional coalitions of key legal service providers. </li></ul><ul><li>Improved referral mechanisms. </li></ul><ul><li>Evidence-based planning of legal services. </li></ul><ul><li>Improved access to pro bono. </li></ul><ul><li>Central co-ordination through Legal Aid NSW. </li></ul>
    28. 28. CLSD Regions <ul><li>Regionally based approach, divides the State into regional coalitions of legal services comprising: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Legal Aid (Head Office & local reps) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Community Legal Centres </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Aboriginal Legal Services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Regional Law Societies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Local Courts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Community Justice Centres </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tenancy Services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Women’s Domestic Violence Court Assistance Schemes (WDVCASs) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Financial Counsellors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Family Relationship Centres </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Disability Services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Pro bono providers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>OTHERS on ad hoc/informal basis - quasi-legal/related bodies (Local Govt, Govt agencies - Centrelink etc) </li></ul></ul>
    29. 29. Evidence-based planning <ul><li>Use LawAccess NSW data to highlight trends (e.g. a high level of credit and debt matters in Dubbo), age differences in clients. </li></ul><ul><li>Demographic & Jurisdictional data </li></ul><ul><li>Anecdotal </li></ul><ul><li>Forward planning </li></ul><ul><li>Joint submissions for resources to the regions/systemic issues </li></ul>
    30. 34. 1. Shoal Coast (Nowra) <ul><li>Legal Aid Nowra: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Civil – 1 Legal Officer (LO), 1 Homeless LO (24 Months) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Family – 1.5 LO in Nowra, 0.5 LO (operating from Bega) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Crime – 2 LO’s </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Shoal Coast CLC (Nowra) </li></ul><ul><li>ALS Nowra </li></ul><ul><li>FRC Nowra </li></ul><ul><li>WDVCAS Nowra </li></ul><ul><li>Illawarra & South Coast Tenants Advice & Advocacy Service (Warrawong) </li></ul><ul><li>Southern NSW Aboriginal TAAS (Batemans Bay) services Illawarra </li></ul><ul><li>Pro bono </li></ul>