FLAC Data Collection Programme
January – June 2004 Statistical Report
Funding Scheme to support the role of Federations, Networks and Umbrella Bodies in the
Community and Voluntary sector
The Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC) is a non-governmental organisation which has been providing legal advice and referral to the public through its involvement in a network of legal advice centres as well as campaigning for access to justice for all since 1969.
One of the core principles of FLAC is to ensure that disadvantaged people can effectively access legal services. FLAC is also dedicated to the realisation of access to justice for all.
To achieve those aims, FLAC sees the necessity of keeping uniform records and statistics of the overall work of its centres. FLAC operates 20 part-time legal advice centres directly and a further 35 are operated by Citizens information centres with the support of FLAC. All of these centres are serviced by volunteer legal advisors.
FLAC introduced the Data Collection Programme in January 2004. This programme is funded by the Scheme to support Federations, Networks and Umbrella Bodies in the Community and Voluntary Sector. The programme is co-ordinated by Marcela
Rodriguez-Farrelly, Research and Development Officer with the assistance of an intern. The programme has been gradually launched at the FLAC centres located in Dublin and the greater Dublin area, as well as at the Legal Advice Centres located outside the greater Dublin area.
First bi-annual report
The following is the first major mid-year report generated from statistics collected from the programme.
During the period of January-June 2004, data was collected from 17 FLAC Centres and from 11 Legal Advice Centres. A total of 1516 data collection forms were sent from the following FLAC centres to the head office: Adelaide Road, Ballyboden, Ballyfermot, Blanchardstown, Clondalkin, Crumlin, Dundrum, Finglas, Killester, Meath St, the National Association for Deaf People (NADP), North King Street, Pearse St., Prussia Street, Tallaght, Whitehall/Beaumont and Cork. In addition, data was also collected from the Legal Advice Centres located in Clonmel, Thurles, Tralee, Navan, Naas, Newbridge, Sligo, Castlebar, Limerick, Portlaoise and Letterkenny. Those centres sent to head office the data collection forms used in all or some of their clinics during the period of reference.
The present report was made based upon the information provided in those forms.
1 - Entering data. Reading the forms
The forms are administered by the advisors during the consultation with the clients. Each form is comprised of two pages. Page one provides information about the legal query of the client and the advice and/or referral given. Page two provides relevant information about the client in relation to the provision of State legal aid. Only the completion of page two requires the cooperation and consent of the client.
Page one contains the following information:
The heading, where advisors are requested to fill in the name of the centre, his/her name, date, case brief and outline of advice given.
Following the heading are two sections: referrals and areas of law discussed. “Referrals”
includes six categories, which are Legal Aid Board, private solicitor, another agency, MABS, Family Mediation Service and FLAC. This section runs from question one to six. “Areas of law discussed” includes 11 categories that are family law, succession/probate,
employment law, housing, property, credit and debt, consumer, criminal law, social welfare, immigration/refugee law and other. Some categories also have subcategories and/or related questions. This section runs from question seven to seventeen.
In the following statistical reporting, the name of the advisor, the case brief and the outline of advice given in the heading have not been included in the data entry. The outline of the advice given was taken into consideration when no referrals were recorded, in which case referrals are entered as “not applicable.” The same procedure was applied
in order to identify the areas of law discussed when this information was not recorded in the category available, in which case the “case brief” and/or the “outline of advice given”
were taking into account.
At the bottom of the page, there is a question- number eighteen- that asks whether the client has a solicitor, and if so, if the solicitor is a private one or from the Legal Aid Board.
Finally, page one contains two footnotes. The first footnote explains that information is collected by FLAC for statistical purposes in order to monitor its own service provision and to assist in its campaigning role through identifying areas of unmet need. In addition, it includes the data protection clause of which the client must be informed. The second one highlights FLAC’s interest in potential test cases and its specific areas of concern such as Legal Aid representation, health service and social welfare, employment, consumer and debt, all of which should be considered for potential referrals or consultation to head office.
1 See attached Data Collection Form
From the reading of the 1516 forms that were sent, 1516 clients visited the centres and 1589 legal queries were discussed regarding the following areas of law:
Family law 568 35.75%
Succession/probate 124 7.80%
Employment law 174 10.96%
Housing 110 6.93%
Property 112 7.04%
Credit and debt 52 3.27%
Consumer 85 5.35%
Criminal law 87 5.47%
Social welfare law 32 2.02%
Immigration/refugee law 44 2.77%
Other 201 12.64%
“Other” includes litter offence, education, defamation, civil litigation, ward of court,
contract, insurance, road traffic accident, health, tax, client/solicitor relationship, refusal to enter to premises/no grounds for Equality Authority, problems with Gardai, setting up business, commercial, Freedom of Information Act, Redress Board, legal proceedings and miscellaneous.
Page two of the form contains a questionnaire entitled “About the client,” and is optional Credit and Debt
for the client to answer. It aims to explore the client’s profile and his/her experience, if
Consumerany, with regard to previous need for legal advice and aid, and his/her knowledge of the Legal Aid Board. Criminal law
Social welfare law
Client’s details for future follow ups are also requested; but once again, this is optional for the client to answer.
Finally, advisors are requested to tick the reasons for not filling in the questionnaire in a
part or whole. Reasons include “client did not consent,” “insufficient time available to
advisor,” and “advisor deemed it inappropriate for client.”
Of the total of 1516 data collection forms received at the head office, 519 forms were
filled on page two which makes up a 34.23% of that total. Reasons for not filling in page
? “Client did not consent” in 2 forms (which makes up a 0.1% of the total number
? “Insufficient time available to advisors” in 125 forms (8.2% of the total)
? “Advisor deemed it inappropriate for client” in 17 forms (1.1% of the total)
? No reasons recorded in 730 forms (48.15% of the total)
? Advisor used the old forms available in year 2003 with no second page printed on
it in 123 forms (making up the 8.1% of the total)
Of the total of 519 forms whose page two were filled in, 346 forms were completed
(making up a 66.66% of those 519 forms); 127 forms were partially completed and no
reasons were recorded (24.47%); 6 forms were partially completed because the client did
not consent (1.15%); 20 forms were partially completed because there was insufficient
time available to the advisor (3.85%); 20 forms were partially completed because the
advisor deemed it inappropriate for the client (3.85%).
The centres - The data collected and the Areas of law discussed
At the time of writing this report on August 2, head office received 1262 data collection
forms from FLAC centres, which amounts to 83.2% of the total forms received. The
FLAC centres that sent the forms used in all or some of their clinics during the period of
January – June 2004 are Adelaide Road (80), Ballyfermot (5), Blanchardstown (185),
Clondalkin (167), Crumlin (51), Dundrum (114), Finglas (114), National Association of
Deaf -NAD- (5), North King Street (143), Prussia Street (52), Tallaght (126),
Whitehall/Beaumont (17), Cork (167), Killester (21), Ballyboden (7), Meath St (3) and
Pearse Street (5).
The following is the number of data collection forms received from FLAC centres broken
up by months:
January: 186 DCFs
February: 200 DCFs
March: 209 DCFs
April: 214 DCFs
May: 242 DCFs
June: 211 DCFs
Head office also received 254 data collection forms from Legal Advice Centres located outside the Dublin area, which makes up 16.80% of the total number of forms returned to the head office. The Legal Advice Centres that sent the forms used in all or some of their clinics during the period of reference are Clonnel (38), Thurles (27), Tralee (60), Navan (11), Naas and Newbridge (4) and Sligo (21).
The total number of data collection forms received from the Legal Advice Centres broken up by month are as follows.
January: 35 DCFs
February: 21 DCFs
March: 75 DCFs
April: 31 DCFs
May: 42 DCFs
June: 50 DCFs
The following is relevant information and the details of the data collected from the centres with regard to the areas of law discussed during the period of reference.
Adelaide Road: This centre is open to the public every Tuesday evening. The data
collected from this centre is from the 16 clinics held on the following dates:
January 6, 13 and 27: 22 Data collection forms (hereinafter “DCFs”) February 24: 7 DCFs
March 2, 8, 23 and 30: 20 DCFs
April 6, 13, 20 and 27: 16 DCFs May 4, 18, and 25: 12 DCFs
June 3: 3 DCFs
80 data collection forms were returned to head office. According to the figures from that centre, areas of law discussed were:
Family law: 18 queries including divorce (6), separation (11), maintenance (3), custody/access (5), family home (6), domestic violence (1), barring orders (2) and other family (2)
Succession/probate: 6 queries
Employment law: 17 queries including discrimination (6), contract (6), dismissal (5) and other legislation (6)
Housing: 12 queries involving issues related to landlord/tenant (6) and other housing (3)
Property: 4 queries
Credit and debt: 1 query
Consumer: 3 queries regarding goods (2) and small claim (2)
Criminal law: 7 queries involving issues of road traffic offence (1), larceny (1), TV license/summons (2), public order offence (1) and other criminal matters (2)
Social welfare law: 3 queries
Immigration/Refugee Law: 2 queries regarding general immigration law
Other: 12 queries related to civil litigation (5), road traffic accident (1), client/solicitor relationship (1) and miscellaneous (5)
Ballyboden. This centre operates on a weekly basis every Monday evening. The
programme was launched at this centre in May. The data collected from Ballyboden is from the clinic held on May 7 only. According to the information received from the 7 data collection forms, the areas of law discussed were the following:
Family law: 2 queries regarding matters of separation (2), maintenance (2) and family home (1)
Succession/probate: 1 query
Employment law: 1 query about discrimination and other legislation
Housing: 1 query
Consumer: 1 query about goods and small claim
Other: 1 query regarding civil litigation
Ballyfermot. This centre is open to the public on Tuesdays evenings and operates on a thweekly basis. The data collected from this centre is from the clinic held on January 13
only. According to the information on the 5 DCFs received, the areas of law discussed were as follows.
Family law: 1 query regarding a matter of custody and access
Employment law: 1 query related to dismissal
Succession/probate: 1 query
Property: 2 queries
Blanchardstown. This centre is available to the public every Monday evening. The data
collected from this centre is from the 22 clinics held during the following dates:
January 5, 12, 19 and 26: 43 DCFs
February 2, 9, 16 and 23: 39 DCFs
March 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29: 38 DCFs
April 4, 19 and 26: 21 DCFs
On April 12 there was no clinic due to the Eastern Monday.
May 10, 17, 24 and 31: 25 DCFs
On May 3 there was no clinic due to the Bank Holiday.
June 21 and 28: 19 DCFs
On June 7 there was no clinic due to the Bank Holiday. Data collection forms for the clinic held on June 14 were not returned to head office and therefore, no data for that day was entered; the centre, however, provided a list with the number of clients who called on that day, 8 in totals.
The total number of data collection forms that were sent by this centre is 185, and the following is the areas of law discussed at its clinics.
Family law: 91 queries regarding matters of divorce (8), separation (40), maintenance (31), custody/access (29), family home (13), domestic violence (4), barring orders (5) and other family issues (14)
Succession/probate: 9 queries
Employment law: 13 queries; matters included discrimination (1), contract (4), dismissal (5) and other legislation (2)
Housing: 14 queries regarding issues of public housing (3), landlord/tenant (1), neighbor dispute (3) and other housing (3)
Property: 14 queries
Credit and debt: 2 queries; matters related to credit card and mortgage
Consumer: 10 queries regarding issues of goods (5), service (5) and small claim (1)
Criminal law: 9 queries; matters include road traffic offence (5) and TV license/summons (4)
Social welfare law: 6 queries
Immigration/Refugee law: 8 queries regarding general issues of immigration law
Other: 15 queries, matters included are education (1), defamation (2), civil litigation (4), insurance (1), road traffic accident (4), problems with Gardai (1) and miscellaneous (2)
Clondalkin. This centre is open to the public every Tuesday evening. The data collected
from this centre is from the 23 clinics held on the following dates:
January 6, 13, 20 and 27 23 DCFs
February 17 and 24 26 DCFs
March 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 31 DCFs
April 5, 13, 20 and 27 25 DCFs
May 4, 11, 18 and 25 33 DCFs
June 1, 8, 15 and 22 29 DCFs
Head office was informed that there was no clinic on June 29
167 data collection forms were sent to head office. Figures from that centre show that the areas of law discussed were:
Family law: 87 queries regarding matters of divorce (13), separation (33), maintenance (21), custody/access (22), family home (17), domestic violence (4), barring others (7) and other family (8)
Employment law: 13 queries involving issues of discrimination (2), contract (3), dismissal (5) and other legislation (2)
Housing: 7 queries regarding matters of public housing (3), landlord/tenant (1), notice to quit/eviction (2) and neighbor dispute (2)
Property: 12 cases
Credit and Debt: 5 queries related to car finance (3) and other (2)
Consumer: 7 queries regarding goods (5), services (1) and small claim (1)
Criminal law: 9 queries regarding matters of road traffic offence (5), offence against property (3), rape/assault (1)
Social welfare law: 1
Immigration/Refugee law: 3 queries on general immigration law
Other: 28 queries. Issues included are education (1), defamation (3), civil litigation (9), insurance (3), client/solicitor relationship (3), problems with Gardai (2), Freedom of Information Act (1) and miscellaneous (6)
Cork. The FLAC Centre in Cork is available to the public on a bimonthly basis: the first
and the third Wednesday of the month. The data collected is from the 11 clinics that were held on the following dates:
January 21: 19 DCFs
February 4 and 18: 34 DCFs
March 3 and 24: 19 DCFs
April 7 and 21: 27 DCFs
May 5 and 19: 36 DCFs
June 2 and 16: 32 DCFs
167 data collection forms were received from this centre. According to the information recorded on those forms, the areas of law discussed were as follows.
Family law: 26 queries involving matters of divorce (3), separation (6), maintenance (6), custody/access (3), family home (3), domestic violence (3), barring orders (1) and other (5)
Succession/probate: 8 queries
Employment law: 27 cases related to discrimination (2), contract (9), dismissal (10), and other legislation (6)
Housing: 12 queries regarding public housing (4), landlord/tenant (2), neighbor dispute (3) and other housing (4)
Property: 16 queries
Credit and debt: 5 queries involving personal loan (3) and money-lending (1). The matters of the other 2 queries were not specified
Consumer: 12 queries regarding goods (2) and services (12)
Criminal law: 11 queries. Matters include supply and possession of drugs (1), road traffic offence (4), rape/assault (1), offence against persons (1), public order offence (1), theft (1), and other criminal matters (1). There was 1 query whose matter was not specified.
Immigration/Refugee law: 3 queries
Other: 37 queries regarding defamation (2), civil litigation (14), contract (2), insurance (4), road traffic accident (2), health (2), tax (1), client/solicitor relationship (1), problems with Gardai (1) and miscellaneous (7)
Crumlin. This centre is available to the public on a twice monthly basis, the second and
the forth Wednesday of the month. Crumlin has been participating in the data collection programme since March 24. The data collected is from the following 7 clinics:
March 24 6 DCFs
April 14 and 28 17 DCFs
May 12 and 26 14 DCFs
June 9 and 23 14 DCFs
According to the 51 data collection forms returned to the office, areas of law discussed were as follows:
Family law: 18 queries. Matters include divorce (5), separation (7), maintenance (8), custody/access (4), family home (5), domestic violence (3), barring orders (2) and other family (1)
Succession/Probate: 9 queries
Employment law: 7 queries related to discrimination (1), contract (5), dismissal (3), and other legislation (3)
Housing: 2 queries regarding public housing (1) and neighbor dispute (1)
Property: 5 queries
Credit and Debt: 1 query about mortgage
Consumer: 3 queries regarding goods (2), services (2) and small claim (1)
Criminal law: 2 queries regarding matters of offence against persons (1) and TV license/summons
Immigration/Refugee law: 1 query on immigration law
Other: 7 queries. Issues include litter offence (1), defamation (2), civil litigation (1), client/solicitor relationship (1), legal proceedings (1) and miscellaneous (1)
Dundrum. This centre operates on weekly basis every Thursday evening. The data
received is from the 20 clinics held on the following dates:
January 22 and 29 7 DCFs
February 5, 12, 19 and 26 18 DCFs
March 4, 11 and 25 12 DCFs
April 1, 15, and 29 30 DCFs