Find out what your clients need, with the results of our Legal Needs Survey

The 2023 survey spoke to over 12,000 people across England and Wales to understand more about what people need from legal professionals and the justice system.

With two thirds of adults in England and Wales experiencing a legal issue in the last four years, we’ve worked with the Legal Services Board and YouGov to understand why people do or don’t seek help, and their perceptions of the legal system.

This research follows the 2019 survey, which was the biggest survey of its kind ever conducted in England and Wales.

The survey aims to find out:

  • the public’s experiences of legal problems
  • their understanding of the law, needs and perceptions
  • how legal professionals and processes are involved
  • how problems interact with each other, and with people’s lives

The survey’s results provide insights into the needs of clients, and where they feel improvements could have been made to the service they received.

17,668 people took part in the survey online, and 12,000 people from this group were drawn to be representative of all adults in England and Wales to take findings from.

A further 500 people who were considered to be irregular users or non-users of the internet were interviewed over the phone to include those who may be digitally excluded.

These findings can help you reach new clients, and make meaningful changes to the service you provide to continue to engage the clients you already have.

What did the survey find out?

Two-thirds of people report having experienced a legal issue in the past four years – a two percentage point increase from the 2019 survey.

The most commonly experienced legal issues related to employment, finance, welfare and benefits.

Notably, people reporting legal issues relating to wills, trust and probate has increased by four percentage points.

Contributing factors

Only a minority of people felt that either Brexit, COVID-19 or the cost of living contributed to their legal problem.

Young people and people from ethnic minority backgrounds were more likely to attribute these external factors to causing or impacting their legal matter.

What help did people receive?

62% of people who faced a legal issue in the last four years received some form of help. This is a decrease of four percentage points compared to the 2019 survey. A higher proportion of people felt that no help would be available for their legal issue, or that help would not have much difference.

52% received help from a professional, a drop of three percentage points. 11% got assistance from a non-professional family member or friend, which is consistent with the 2019 figure.

Young adults are more likely to get help, but this often from a non-professional family member or friend.

Out of those who received professional help, 88% were satisfied with their adviser and 86% found it easy to communicate with them.

Met and unmet legal needs

Out of people who had resolved a contentious legal issue which started in 2016 or later, 51% had a legal need, meaning they needed professional support to deal with the matter.

The other 49% did not have a legal need, primarily because they did not feel their issue was serious enough.

Of those who had a legal need, 19% of people had their legal needs met, down three percentage points since 2019. 32% of people had an unmet legal need, a one percentage point increase on 2019 figures.

What to do next
Download the full survey (PDF 1429 KB)

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