One third of adults face legal problems

Legal problem and resolution survey 2014-15

Earlier this month (3 March 2017) the MoJ published its findings from the latest legal problem and resolution survey. The headline finding was that nearly one in three (32%) adults had experienced at least one legal problem in the last 18 months. The survey involved 10,058 telephone interviews.

Problems experienced

Half of those who had a legal problem experienced multiple problems. The groups who were particularly likely to experience high numbers of problems were those who were unemployed, lone parents with dependent children, those living in a household with an annual income of under £15,000, those living in rented accommodation and those who had a limiting illness or disability.

Overall 45% of people experienced one or more adverse consequence as a result of their problem, such as stress related illness or other mental health problem, loss of confidence, loss of income or financial strain or physical illness.

Resolution strategies

The majority (96%) of people try to resolve their problem, although they vary in the action(s) that they take with most taking the self-help route, getting advice from friends, family or the internet.

Overall 55% of problems were resolved at the time of the interview. A quarter of adults (27%) were planning to resolve their problem in future and just under a fifth (18%) were not planning to resolve their problem.

Overall 7% of resolved problems were resolved with a decision from a court, tribunal, regulator or the police. The types of problems more commonly resolved this way were problems with neighbours’ ASB, accidents or medical negligence and owning or buying residential property. Problems that were more commonly resolved through direct interaction with the other party included personal debt and consumer problems.


I have to admit to being surprised at how many of us are facing so many legal problems. It will be interesting to see from the next legal problem resolution survey whether the new digitisation of the courts has had any impact on the way we sort them out.


Blog posts in the Criminal Justice category are kindly sponsored by Get the Data which provides Social Impact Analytics to enable organisations to demonstrate their impact on society. GtD has no editorial influence on the contents of this site.

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