The list of common legal problems we looked at considers the commonness, or frequency, of the issues. It does not consider the seriousness of the issue, both from the perspective of the legal system and to the person experiencing the issue.
The report shows that 22.6% of survey respondents experienced a consumer problem. For example, this could be an issue with a phone bill or about returning goods to a retailer. While these issues are common to many people, the seriousness of the issues can range significantly. For some it might be a minor inconvenience, for others it might mean a significant debt.
Consider also the 0.4% of survey respondents who experienced criminal charges. While the frequency of criminal charges among the general population is lower, the impact is usually very serious. They may be facing loss of freedoms as a consequence for their actions.
Finally, think about relationship breakdown problems, which 4.6% of survey respondents experienced. While this may also seem like a low percentage among the population, we know these issues are life-changing for the individuals involved. The 2019/2020 Profile of family law cases in Canada article reported that 58% of litigants represented themselves, confirming how common self-representation in family law is these days.
So, what can we take away from this discussion?
The frequency of legal problems does not always correspond to the seriousness of the issue. A smaller percentage of the population may experience a legal problem that significantly changes their life. We must be alert to these less common problems as those individuals may need more support from the legal system.