A YOUTH welfare group has called for a review of the direction of legal education and suggested it should be targeted at the primary level, after a recent survey found that many young people were ignorant of legal matters and had doubts that the judicial system was just. The survey, ''Legal Conceptions Among Young People'' was commissioned by the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups and conducted by the University of Hong Kong's Social Science Research Centre. A total of 564 young people aged between 15 and 29 were interviewed to determine their understanding of legal matters and their confidence in Hong Kong's justice system and personnel. Only 40 per cent of the respondents could give correct answers in response to questions relating to basic legal knowledge, such as ''Do you know if the Governor of Hong Kong is now able to dismiss Supreme Court judges directly?'' and ''Generally speaking, should the accused have to prove himself or herself innocent during criminal proceedings?'' Some young people were not confident that Hong Kong would have a just judicial system in the future and had a negative perception of members of the judiciary such as lawyers and judges. More than half of the respondents did not believe court trials would be just after 1997. Some 35 per cent said they did not believe lawyers in Hong Kong were impartial, while a similar proportion of the respondents thought judges in Hong Kong would take bribes. About 40 per cent even agreed an offender could be cleared of legal liabilities if the person involved was wealthy. They believed Government would not prosecute anyone powerful. ''The credibility of the judiciary will be weakened in the long run if our young people continuously misconceive the rule of law,'' said a spokesman for the federation. ''Young people should be equipped with adequate legal knowledge and awareness. A review of the direction of legal education is needed and it should be targeted at the primary level. ''Incorporation of legal education into the school curriculum in addition to public education would be effective channels for communication as the survey found that the mass media and teachers were the two major sources of legal information for young people.'' The survey found that over 70 per cent of the respondents said they obtained their legal knowledge from the mass media. Less than 15 per cent gained their understanding of the law from their school or teachers, 2.1 per cent from friends, 1.2 per cent through work and 1.1 per cent through extra-curricular activities. Family and government were the two sources the young people found least helpful in acquiring legal knowledge. Only 0.5 per cent of the respondents said they got their knowledge from family, and 0.4 per cent from Government promotions. When asked if they would obey a law which they thought was wrong, over a third of the respondents answered in the negative while 16 per cent could not give a certain answer. Young people also tended to support harsh punishment rather than providing opportunities for the rehabilitation of offenders.