Usage of Legal Services, NSW

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    Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)


    This survey collected information on the current usage and need for legal services in NSW. The survey covers 11 specific types of legal matters. For each of these matters, data is provided on whether legal advice was sought and the sources of that advice as well as reasons for not seeking legal advice.


    The aim of this survey is :

    • to assess the extent of met and unmet legal needs
    • to determine the accessibility of Government, community and private-based legal services
    • to identify the target groups and target areas for legal educational programs and initiatives
    • to provide a basis for the design and implementation of policies and initiatives aimed at ensuring a more efficient and economic legal service, through Government, community and private organisations, for NSW.


    Scope: NSW civilian population aged 15 and over (in private dwellings only).

    Coverage: Standard Labour Force Survey coverage rules. The following are exclusions on coverage for the Labour Force Survey:

    • members of the permanent defence forces;
    • certain diplomatic personnel of overseas governments, customarily excluded from census and estimated populations;
    • overseas residents in Australia;
    • members of non-Australian defence forces (and their dependants) stationed in Australia


    Conceptual framework

    Not applicable

    Main outputs

    Publication : Usage of Legal Services, New South Wales (ABS Cat No. 4510.1).


    Standard Classifications were used for Labour Force variables, ie:

    Sex - male, female

    Region - Formed by aggregation of standard statistical divisions. Minimum level in publication - Sydney, Balance of NSW

    Age - Formed by aggregation of standard 5 year age groupings. Minimum level in publication - 15-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, 55-64, 65+

    Labour Force Status - Employed, Unemployed, Not in the labour force

    Marital Status - Married, Not married

    Gross Income (annual) - Up to $20,000, $20,001 and over, Don't know

    Educational attainment - Bachelor degree or higher, Trade qualification, Certificate or diploma, Secondary school education, Other

    Language spoken at home - English only, Italian, Greek, Arabic/Lebanese, Chinese, Spanish, Other

    Other Variables:

    Type of legal matter - Accident, Custody etc dispute, Landlord dispute, Loan dispute, Insurance dispute, Government dispute, Damage, Discrimination, Made will, Bought house, Sold house

    Reasons did not seek legal advice - Not considered a legal matter, Did not need legal advice, Legal advice too costly, Did not think case could be won, Other

    Main source of legal advice - Private solicitor or lawyer, Legal Aid, Community legal centre, Public Trustee etc, Legal friend or relative, Do-it-yourself kit, Other

    Other concepts (summary)

    'Legal matters': This includes eleven selected events which may involve legal advice, i.e.

    • accidents causing injury
    • disputes over custody, access, maintenance, or property settlement
    • disputes with a landlord
    • disputes over loans with banks, building societies or other financial institutions
    • disputes over an insurance claim
    • disputes with government departments over pensions, benefits, housing or immigration
    • damage to property or possessions
    • refusal of a job or service because of sex, race, religion, sexual preference or disability
    • made or altered a will
    • bought a house, home unit or land
    • sold a house, home unit or land

    New South Wales
    Major Statistical Region
    Part of State Metropolitan
    Part of State Extra-Metropolitan

    Comments and/or Other Regions

    Not applicable

    Once Only

    Frequency comments


    10/1990 - Data collected as a NSW state supplementary survey. This collection has been run once only and there are currently no plans for a repeat survey.


    Data availability comments

    Data is available in the publication Usage of Legal Services, New South Wales (ABS Cat No. 4510.1). Customised data services are available to clients on request.

    10/05/2002 09:25 AM