Understanding the Legal Information Experience: Results of a Pilot Study

Prof. Lisa Toohey1, Prof Helen Partridge3, Professor Jonathan Crowe2, Professor Rachael  Field2

1University Of Newcastle Law School, Newcastle, Australia, 2Bond University Law School, Robina, Australia, 3University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba , Australia

This presentation reports on the results of the Legal Information Experience pilot study, which was funded by the AIJA.    The result of interdisciplinary collaboration between Law and Information Scientists, the study seeks a better understanding of peoples’ experience of using information to work out arrangements about post-separation parenting.

Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 20 participants, 13 males and 7 females. All participants had contacted the Family Relationships Advice Line operated by Relationships Australia. All participants were involved in negotiating post-separation parenting arrangements. Thematic analysis revealed five preliminary themes depicting various aspects of participants’ information experience of people engaged in a specific family law matter: following, immersion, human interaction, past experience and personal circumstances. This paper will critically explore these themes and potential implications for the design and delivery of legal information services.

In this presentation we present the data from the project, and explain the implications for better communication between experts and people experiencing disputes about parenting following the end of a relationship, as well as for the understanding more generally for the dissemination of legal information.


Lisa Toohey holds a Chair in Law at the University of Newcastle Law School, and was previously an Associate Dean at the University of New South Wales and the director of dispute resolution programs.    She teaches and researchers in the areas of dispute resolution, civil procedure and international trade law.   Full profile is available online.

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