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.
Your perceptions of the law are related to your exposure to it
Those exposed to negative second-hand or anecdotal accounts of courts demonstrated a significantly lower perception of their accessibility, while exposure to positive anecdotal accounts were associated with particularly large increases in perceptions of accessibility.
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