Understanding the legal information experience of non-lawyers: lessons from the family law context

Crowe, Jonathan and Field, Rachael and Toohey, Lisa and Partridge, Helen and McAllister, Lynn (2018) Understanding the legal information experience of non-lawyers: lessons from the family law context. Journal of Judicial Administration, 27 (4). pp. 137-147. ISSN 1036-7918


Parties to legal disputes, now more than ever before, are able to access information about the law. This article reports on an empirical study of experiences in relation to accessing legal information in a family law context. A thematic analysis of qualitative interviews with people who rang the Australian Federal Government’s Family Relationships Advice Line indicated five key issues: first, parties struggle with the complexity of the information experience; secondly, parties have difficulty in assessing the credibility and reliability of sources of information and the information provided; thirdly, parties indicate clear source preferences; fourthly, parties have difficulty applying the information retrieved from various sources to their individual situation; and, finally, parties tend to use language that is no longer reflected in family law legislation or practice. These findings are discussed and analysed with reference to the specific voice of the study participants. The findings should assist government agencies, family dispute resolution providers and others to improve the ways legal information and advice on post-separation issues is provided. The findings are also applicable to other contexts of legal
information provision.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Files associated with this item cannot be displayed due to copyright restrictions.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Division of Academic Services - No Department
Date Deposited: 01 Feb 2019 06:48
Last Modified: 05 Feb 2019 01:47
Uncontrolled Keywords: information experience, legal information, legal information provision, non-lawyers, family law, qualitative research
Fields of Research : 08 Information and Computing Sciences > 0807 Library and Information Studies > 080703 Human Information Behaviour
18 Law and Legal Studies > 1801 Law > 180113 Family Law
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 94 Law, Politics and Community Services > 9404 Justice and the Law > 940499 Justice and the Law not elsewhere classified
B Economic Development > 89 Information and Communication Services > 8903 Information Services > 890302 Library and Archival Services
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/34905

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