Law… What is it Good For?

How People see the Law, Lawyers and Courts in Australia.

We live in a ‘law thick’ world

A complex web of law touches every aspect of our lives. Law defines our consumer rights. It regulates our employment conditions, pay and superannuation. It sets out the responsibilities of landlords, tenants, mortgagors and mortgagees, and reaches deep into every aspect of our lives.

But to what extent do people recognise the relevance of law, and how to use it to resolve everyday issues? To help people navigate this ‘law-thick’ world, we need to understand what their starting point is. People won’t seek legal assistance if they don’t recognise that they have a legal problem.

About the research

The report draws on findings from our recently conducted Community Perspectives of Law Survey, an Australia-wide survey of over 1800 people which explored people’s understanding of the relevance of law and, in particular, whether lawyers are seen as important in relation to everyday scenarios.

Those scenarios included the kinds of problems that arise in employment, renting, and consumer contracts and included issues such as family violence and neighbourhood disputes.

The research also explored people’s perceptions of the accessibility of courts and lawyers.

Key Findings

Law…What is it Good For? How People see the Law, Lawyers and Courts in Australia.

Release Date: 2 October 2019

Authors: Nigel J. Balmer and Pascoe Pleasence with Tenielle Hagland and Cosima McRae

Download the Report

Download the Executive Summary

Report findings

Not all problems were seen as ‘legal’, and courts and lawyers were not always viewed as accessible
Demographics mattered
Exposure to law related to your perceptions
Where next?