The Public Understanding of Law Survey

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

It’s not always apparent, but law is all around us. It -  

  • defines our consumer rights 
  • regulates our employment conditions, pay and superannuation 
  • sets out the responsibilities of landlords, tenants, mortgagers and mortgagees  
  • specifies our eligibility to access social security 
  • regulates our interactions with the environment 
  • reaches deep into family life. 

This can suddenly become important when people experience problems or disputes that raise legal issues – ‘justiciable problems’. Such problems are not abstract or obscure, they are common – the problems of everyday life. Some may be relatively small and simple to address. Others form the harshest episodes of people’s lives.

The Public Understanding of Law Survey (PULS) is a Victoria-wide survey which seeks to understand how people see, understand and respond to everyday legal problems, and the extent to which they have the capability to resolve problems effectively.

Sometimes people understand the law and their rights, but often they don’t. Sometimes problems involve lawyers and courts, but more often they don’t. Understanding all of these experiences and perspectives is key to making policy and practice that reflects people’s needs and takes account of how they see the world.

The survey will explore -

  • what people know about their law, justice system and its institutions (understanding)
  • how they see it playing a part in their lives (capability)
  • how they experience legal problems (legal need).

At what stage is the PULS?

The PULS is now underway. The survey work has begun.

Your questions about the PULS are answered in the tiles below.