In general terms, legal need arises when citizens (or businesses) require support from legal services (broadly defined) in order to resolve problems which have a legal dimension.
Legal needs surveys investigate the experience of ‘justiciable problems’. Legal needs surveys are distinct from crime victimisation or offending surveys, as their focus is on civil law (including family law) issues; although many legal needs surveys also enquire about the experience of criminal law matters (beyond those that are counterparts of civil law matters)
This background paper answers some common questions about legal need surveys: What is ‘legal need’? What are legal needs surveys? Why conduct legal needs surveys? What have legal needs surveys found? What impact have legal needs surveys had?
This resource is part of a series of technical materials to support Open Society Justice Initiative legal needs research.
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