The Public Understanding of Law Survey

The PULS is a Victoria-wide survey to understand how people see, understand and engage with the law.

The Public Understanding of Law Survey (PULS) is ground-breaking research to help us better understand legal capability, attitudes and experience of the law in the Victorian community.

It will explore:

  • people's ability to navigate the complex array of rights and responsibilities we encounter each day
  • what people know about the justice system and its institutions
  • how people see the law playing a part in their lives
  • how people experience and respond to legal problems.

The PULS will be the first of its kind in the world and represents a significant development in this kind of research.

Understanding legal capability

Understanding the PULS

In a new video series, we’ll be breaking down parts of the PULS to give a little background on the purpose and value of the project.

Rethinking the experience of law from the bottom up | The PULS
Legal need surveys - what they are and why they're important | The PULS
Why we're measuring legal capability | The PULS
What PULS will do | The PULS

The PULS publications

Cover of the PULS Annotated Questionnaire

The Public Understanding of Law Survey (PULS) Annotated Questionnaire

This document sets out the full text and routing of the PULS questionnaire, along with commentary on the theoretical background to questions, rationale for their inclusion, details of technical development, references to relevant past studies, as well as PULS showcards.

Read the report

People and governance

PULS funded through the Public Purpose Fund of the Victorian Legal Services Board, with further support from Victoria Legal Aid.

Research Director Professor Nigel Balmer is leading the project, with Dr Hugh McDonald, our Principal Researcher.

We are also working closely with internationally renowned expertise in Professors Pascoe Pleasence (UK) and Rebecca L. Sandefur (USA), particularly on the development of the questionnaire. It is anticipated the project will be completed in June 2023.

The governance structure includes a high-level steering group made up of sector organisations, an advisory group providing technical advice, and a working group with Victoria Legal Aid.

Keep with up the PULS

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