When is PULS happening?

The Public Understanding of Law Survey fieldwork began in 2021.

When is this happening and when can we expect to see findings? 

Fieldwork is currently underway and the main project report is scheduled for release in 2023. We will post regular updates online as the project progresses.  

Will the PULS run again in future? Will there be related projects? 

Understanding legal capability and how people experience and interact with law is a long-term aim of research at the VLF. The PULS is a major building block. 

Exploring legal capability and how people experience and interact with law is a foundation stone of our research work. The VLF began this with our ‘Law… What is it Good For?’ report, and the PULS is the next major step, but it is not definitive. 

With 6,000 respondents and a rigorous sample frame, the dataset from the PULS will allow us to answer more questions for years to come. We will also be making the PULS data available to others who would like to work with it. Repeating surveys after a period of time is always valuable to benchmark and monitor change, and we would look to replicate the PULS in a few years for that reason. This is particularly salient at a time of significant change in modes of service delivery, with more and more emphasis on self-help and online resources.  

There is a long list of allied projects which would expand the scope of public understanding of law using similar instruments. These include further work with groups including those -    

  • missing from our sample frame 
  • included in the PULS but in small numbers, such as specific minority groups 
  • needing an adapted questionnaire to properly engage with their life and experience (e.g. children) 
  • where good research practice would require leadership from organisations within communities (e.g. First Nations Australians).   

Future work may also apply some of the tools developed in the PULS to look at other questions. These could include measuring capability -  

  • in an advice setting to inform triage, level of service, or just to compare with the wider Victorian community 
  • to quantify the impact of a program or intervention.