Introduction: The Legal Services counters (LSC) is the first contact point for legal aid in the Netherlands. Professionals reported dealing with a client group combining problems on several dimensions, next to the legal issue. This combination (multiple problem situation, MP) seems to impair the effectiveness of the provided legal help. Methods: A face-to-face survey among 421 visitors of 4 LSC locations was administered (2019). Analyses: Statistical techniques were used to assess the occurrence of MP, the association with the numbers of contacts with the LSC, the background characteristics of clients with and without MP, and the multivariate association between stress, MP and use of the LSC. Results: 44,1% of the respondents reported MP. Those reported a higher number of contacts with the LSC in the past year. MP clients were older and had a lower education level. Financial (58%), conflictual (56%) and physical health (41%) problems were mostly reported. Stress and number of problems were related to a higher attendance to the LSC. Discussion: Legal aid services should set out systematic collaboration paths with other social services, starting off by an assessment of the problem domains, to contribute to an effective solution of those issues, including the legal one.
|International Journal of the Legal Profession
|Legal aid, Legal Services counters