Our research perspectives
To make sure our research is applicable to everyone, we make sure it covers multiple perspectives. We’ve broken down the different perspectives into two broad categories:
The top-down perspective
This perspective places emphasis on the institutions that comprise our justice system, including the courts, the public sector, private organisations and the community legal sector.
The bottom-up perspective
This perspective emphasises the individuals that interact with our justice system. It allows us to understand how people of differing backgrounds and circumstances navigate and understand our legal system.
Our four streams of work
Our research program is divided into four streams, which will each produce complementary outcomes.
Stream One – Mapping justice
We will map the availability and content of institutional data across a broad range of civil justice bodies, including courts, tribunals and the legal assistance sector, so that we can understand how legal matters progress, see possible issues with legal processes and identify barriers to access to justice.
Stream Two – Surveying legal literacy
We will conduct a Victoria-wide Public Understanding of Law Survey (PULS) to discover what Victorians know about their justice system, its institutions and the role they see it play in their lives.
Stream Three – Researching programs and interventions
We will take a rigorous empirical approach to evaluate the need for different legal services, as well as their processes, impacts and outcomes, so that we can figure out 'what works.'
Stream Four – Coordinating and sharing research
We will build a network connecting the justice, community and academic sectors to enable knowledge sharing, encourage collaboration, extend the reach of our work and help us to learn from the experience of local and international experts.
Our current project
What do Victorians know about the law? What are our attitudes to it? And do we know how to take action if we need to?
Our current project explores legal understanding in the community and the factors affecting a person’s capacity to deal with legal problems. Understanding legal capability and attitudes towards justice within the Victorian community is a critical starting point in the delivery of effective legal education and assistance. To help people navigate the law, we need to understand what their starting point is.