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Louisa Gothard
Louisa Gothard
Senior Solicitor, Head of Family Law
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Legal Services Research Centre Report
Date:25 APR 2006

A research report from the Legal Services Research Centre (LSRC) was published in March 2006. The LSRC is the independent research arm of the Legal Services Commission. The report Causes of Action shows that more than half of civil legal problems lead to adverse outcomes such as ill-health, unemployment and homelessness. It also demonstrates how solving civil legal problems can reduce demand on other public services when problems are addressed early. The study is the most in-depth and long-term study into civil justice problems conducted in England and Wales and was funded by the Legal Services Commission and the Department for Constitutional Affairs. The research revealed a significant reduction in the number of people not taking action to resolve their problems in recent years and that around one in ten people with legal problems are not seeking advice and that around 15% of those who sough advice failed to obtain any.

Three principal and distinct problem clusters were identified in the report: clustering of problems occurs when there is a tendency for particular problems to be experienced simultaneously or in sequence by the same person. An understanding of clustering apparently assists in developing advice and legal services that address people's related needs, namely:

  • 'family' (domestic violence, divorce, relationship and children problems);
  • 'homelessness' (rented housing, homelessness and benefits);
  • 'economic' (money and debt, consumer, and employment problems).

The report can be viewed on www.lsrc.org.uk.

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