Canadian Forum on Civil Justice
Since the mid-1990’s there have been at least twenty-six large-scale national surveys on the public’s experience of justiciable events conducted within sixteen separate jurisdictions. Twenty-four of these surveys have utilized the methodological framework of Hazel Genn’s Paths to Justice (1999). Genn’s approach seeks to examine legal needs beyond what may be identified by respondents as a legal need. This approach emerged due to critiques of previous legal needs research that only sought to identify persons who were likely to use legal services rather than the types of problems that are taken to lawyers. Genn’s approach does not rely upon respondent’s legal knowledge to identify the presence of legal problems. Instead, Genn’s study measures ‘justiciable events’ where a justiciable event is “a matter… which raised legal issues, whether or not it was recognized by the respondent as being ‘legal’ and whether or not any action taken … involved … the civil justice system.” The focus is on the behavior of the public in dealing with non-trivial justiciable problems and disputes as potential plaintiffs or potential defendants.
Aylwin, Nicole and Gray, Mandi, "Selected Annotated Bibliography of National and Regional Legal Needs Survey" (2015). Canadian Forum on Civil Justice. 48.