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the Legal Needs Project

Understanding legal need and disadvantage in the Australian legal assistance sector


The Legal Needs Project aims to extend the understanding of legal needs faced by clients of the Australian legal assistance sector. Funded for three years by Macquarie University, the research examines the nature of legal need and the mechanisms that generate legal problems in the context of disadvantage. The study is motivated by three central questions:

1.     What is the nature of legal need, and how do we define it?

2.    How do we understand legal need in its interaction with disadvantage and other non-legal social problems?

3.    In what circumstances is it more likely to arise, and for whom?

The project aims to deliver a new approach to understanding legal need across its social, political, legal and health dimensions, a causal explanation of why some people develop legal needs and others do not, and a list of priority actions for the legal assistance sector.

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