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TECHNICAL NOTE HISTORICAL COMPARISONS
CHANGES IN STATISTICAL UNIT
5 In 2001-02, the statistical unit used to represent private legal businesses, and for which statistics were reported, was the legal practice. In 2001-02, some legal practices consisted of a single legal entity, while for others, where a service entity provided resources to a single legal entity, these entities were consolidated and treated as one practice.
6 In 2007-08, the statistical unit used to represent a businesses/organisation was the ABN/TAU, sourced from the ABR.
7 As a change in statistical unit can have a significant impact on estimates, in this case particularly on estimates of employment and labour costs, users are advised to exercise caution when comparing the 2007-08 results to the 2001-02 results, and previous iterations of this survey.
CHANGES IN SCOPE
8 In 2001-02, the scope of the survey was all units on the Australian Legal Directory, that would be classified to class 7841 - Legal Services of the 1993 edition of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC93). In 2007-08, the scope of the survey was all employing and significant non-employing businesses on the ABR, classified to class 6931 - Legal Services of the 2006 edition of the Australian and New Zealand Standard industrial Classification (ANZSIC06). A turnover cut-off was used to determine significant non-employing businesses. See paragraphs 2 - 4 of the Explanatory Notes for further information on turnover cut-offs used.
9 As a change in scope can have a significant impact on estimates, particularly on estimates of the number of businesses/organisations, users are advised to exercise caution when comparing the 2007-08 results to the 2001-02 results, and previous iterations of this survey.
PRO BONO WORK AND LEGAL AID
10 The definition of pro bono work has changed since the ABS last conducted the legal services survey in 2001-02, and users should not compare 2001-02 and 2007-08 estimates of pro bono work and legal aid. The definition of pro bono work was refined for the 2007-08 survey by placing particular emphasis on capturing formal pro bono work undertaken on behalf of the business by legally qualified staff. It did not include work undertaken on behalf of, or remunerated by legal aid commissions or other government departments.
11 The collection of pro bono data and legal aid data is subject to non-sampling error, arising from the way barristers and other legal services businesses keep records of their pro bono and legal aid work. Many units do not keep accurate records of hours spent on pro bono work and hours spent on legal aid work, or the monetary value associated with this work, instead estimating this figure when reporting to the ABS. For this reason, users are advised not to compare estimates of pro bono hours and legal aid hours over time.
CHANGE IN INDUSTRY CLASSIFICATION
12 The estimates in this publication are based on ANZSIC06 whereas estimates in the 2001-02 issue were based on ANZSIC93. The effect on estimates as a result of this change was negligible.
13 For more information on the 2006 industry classification and concordances between ANZSIC06 and ANZSIC93, please refer to Australian and New Zealand Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) 2006 (cat. no. 1292.0).
AUSTRALIAN EQUIVALENTS TO INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL REPORTING STANDARDS
14 The new Australian Equivalents to International Reporting Standards (AEIFRS) were progressively implemented in Australia from 1 January 2005. As a result, changes in definitions have impacted upon both income statements and balance sheet items.
15 Since the implementation of AEIFRS, analysis of published time series data has indicated structural breaks in series. The magnitude of such breaks, however, cannot be determined without imposing a disproportionate load upon data providers.
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