Time to re-think the remodel

Recently, the government confirmed that it was pressing ahead with plans to remodel the emergency legal aid system for tenants facing eviction. The proposed remodel will mean that the Housing Loss Prevention Advice Service will be able to offer early legal advice before the Defendant’s court date.

This may be useful for Claimants in that the advice service could allow the Defendants to streamline their objections to possession, or accept that they have no defence, sooner. However, this update has been brought in at the same time that the government has announced they will delay extending fixed recoverable cost to legally aided housing possession claims, a far more worrisome issue.

According to a recent report from Hawke Legal (costs consultancy), delaying this would mean that legal aid rates would exceed fixed recoverable costs in 43% of legal aid housing cases. This would mean that the average income of a law centre or private practice firm doing legal aid work would fall by at least 20%.

Ministers are predicting this will have a potentially disastrous impact which could lead to firms and not-for-profit organisations closing their housing departments.

We will be keeping a close eye on any upcoming developments.

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