LAA survey on suitability of CFAs

May 22nd, 2014

LAA Survey on CFAs

HLPA’s Legal Aid Working Group has been working with the LAA to clarify what kinds of cases will and will not be suitable for a CFA. The LAA has a very confused idea, and appears to think that any case in which there is a theoretical possibility of inter parte costs is suitable for a CFA. This is casuing problems for people in obtaining funding in, for example, homeless judicial reviews and s.204 appeals. It is important that the LAA is aware of the limited range of matters for which a CFA is suitable and the very limited availability of ATE insurance.

The LAA has set up a survey to help clarify the issue, which can be found at:

http://www.justice.gov.uk/legal-aid/newslatest-updates/civil-news/survey-to-help-us-understand-workings-of-cfas

Please could you complete the survey by 1st May 2014. The more responses the better.

Many thanks

Members’ password

May 18th, 2014

HLPA members should be aware that the password for the members’ area of the site, which contains the speakers’ papers, precedents and more,  will be changing on 28 May 2014. Members who have signed up for 2014 will receive the new password shortly.  A reminder and form for joining for 2014 is here.

Demonstration against Legal Aid proposals

May 30th, 2013

Save UK Justice poster

Guide to Housing Legal Aid after LASPO

May 11th, 2013

Sara Stephens and the legal aid working group have prepared a guide for HLPA members on legal aid for housing matters from 1 April 2013, covering scope, guidance and procedure.

The Guide can be found on the new ‘guides’ page in the members area.

Members’ area password

April 9th, 2013

The password for HLPA members to access the members area of the website will be changing on 20 April 2013.

The new password will be emailed to all 2013 members very shortly. Please ensure that the HLPA administrator has email addresses for all people in your organisation included in your membership.

Disrepair – Legal Aid Surveyors’ fees

September 22nd, 2012

After a long and sustained effort by HLPA, Shelter, ASA and LAPG, the MoJ has now concluded its review into appropriate hourly rates to pay to surveyors in disrepair cases. As you know, the current rate is £50 per hour.

A review of available data, including data supplied by HLPA, showed that the average hourly rate in London is £125 per hour and out of London is £95 per hour. As all experts’ rates (alongside solicitor and counsel’s rates) were to be codified and reduced by 10%, the new guideline hourly rates for surveyors in housing disrepair cases are:

Outside London – up to £85 per hour

In London – up to £115 per hour

The MoJ have advised that it is unlikely that these rates will be codified in a statutory order before April 2013. Therefore, we will need to make applications for prior authority to instruct surveyor’s at these rates.

The MoJ/LSC are going to issue guidance to caseworkers at the LSC so that they are aware of these new guideline rates. They aim to issue this guidance by 1st October 2012.

The MoJ/LSC are also going to advise us as to how best to make the applications for prior authority and whether this can be included as a standard paragraph in APP1s. Again, they should provide this advice by 1st October.

If you wish to instruct someone for more than these hourly rates you will need to justify this in an application for prior authority as before.

We will update members when the guidance or any further information becomes available.

Allocations Guidance

July 8th, 2012

The DCLG has published the new Allocations Code of Guidance for Local Authorities.

The Code of Guidance can be found here [pdf]

Member password

June 1st, 2012

The member password for the site has been updated. The new password was circulated to members signed up for 2012 by email on 21 May 2012.

If you have not received the email and are registered for 2012, please contact Chandra_Rao@shelter.org.uk

 

Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year 2012 Nominations

April 19th, 2012

The 2012 Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year nominations are open.

In this difficult time for legal aid, what better than to celebrate the passion and commitment of those working in legal aid practice? Do you know someone or a practice whose work should be recognised in the LALYs? Then nominate them!

The nomination form is here and more details are here.

The closing date is 27 April 2012

Housing and LASPO

March 4th, 2012

The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill enters report stage in the House of Lords from 5 March. Any further amendments to the bill in the Lords must happen at this stage. It is likely that the social welfare provisions, including housing, will be debated from Monday 5 March onwards.

There is one single housing related amendment tabled, although there are others addressing social welfare more broadly. The amendment is at 75-77 of the marshalled list of amendments. The proposed amendment was drafted by Shelter and supported by HLPA, as well as Citizens Advice, Justice for All, the Law Society, the Law Centres Federation, Young Legal Aid Lawyers, the Legal Aid Practitioners Group, the Housing Law Practitioners Association, the Bar Council, the Advice Services Alliance and the Salvation Army.

As drafted, LASPO would mean that benefits work would be out of scope even when involved in defending possession proceedings, thus making a successful resolution of many rent arrears or mortgage possession cases virtually impossible.

This amendment would ensure that, where the loss of the home is threatened due to nonpayment of the rent or mortgage, advice and casework can be provided to address an underlying benefits problem causing or contributing to the arrears.

The full proposed amendment and briefing can be downloaded here.

If you are signed up to the Justice for All “pair up with a peer” scheme please write to them now to ask them to support the HB (and other) amendments. If you’re not with the scheme please contact Lib Dem or cross bench peers to explain why this amendment is so important- you can find out a list of the peers and their parties via this link (select search options as party and group – then search for
lib dem or crossbenchers):

http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/lords/

Please send the Shelter briefing document with any communication with peers.

For the full news archive see here.

Latest Updates from Nearly Legal

Click through for the full post

  • The point of having policies….

    A post on a County Court case, one well worth looking at for the application of public law principles, the Equality Act and reasonableness. I’m working from a note of judgment, so any quotes should be taken as being from a note, rather than a transcript.

    Peabody Trust v Steven Evison (By his litigation friend) Wandsworth County Court 17 July 2014.

    Mr E was the assured tenant of Peabody. He had been since after 2000 (date not clear from the note), but had lived in the property since 1981, when his father took the tenancy from Peabody, so had lived there for 33 years.

    In 2012, Mr E’s rent account … Read the full post

    The post The point of having policies…. appeared first on Nearly Legal.

  • Missing tenants and missing sentences: Council tax and periodic tenancies

    Further to my post here on council tax liability for statutory periodic tenancies, I have heard about another Valuation Tribunal case, this time involving a contractual periodic tenancy, and also oddly involving this blog.

    The issue was council tax liability for a period where a tenant had left a property before the tenancy was ended and the tenancy was a contractual periodic. The tenancy agreement specified a 12 month fixed term followed by a monthly periodic.

    The Council, Shropshire Council (to whom we will return below) considered that this meant that the landlord was liable for the Council tax for the relevant period, as per CT v Horsham District Read the full post

    The post Missing tenants and missing sentences: Council tax and periodic tenancies appeared first on Nearly Legal.

  • Spencer v Taylor – section 21 news

    The Appellant tenant in Spencer v Taylor [2013] EWCA Civ 1600 (our note here) has had permission to appeal to the Supreme Court refused, on the grounds that it did not raise an arguable point of law.

    This means that the Court of Appeal decision stands. Where an assured shorthold tenancy has had a fixed term and a statutory periodic tenancy has arisen, there is no requirement to use a s.21(4)(a) notice, or have a date of expiry at the end of a period of the tenancy. A section 21(1)(b) notice with two clear months notice is adequate.

    Where a tenancy was periodic from the start, or where … Read the full post

    The post Spencer v Taylor – section 21 news appeared first on Nearly Legal.

  • Pyrrhic victory corner: Costs on appeal from a small claim

    Akhtar v Boland [2014] EWCA Civ 943

    Just a quick note on this one, after a conversation with a colleague reminded me I hadn’t written it up.

    The details of the case need not detain us, it was a PI case which had been allocated to the small claims following admissions by the Defendant. The Claimant appealed on the basis that it should have been allocated to the fast track, and then appealed to the Court of Appeal. The appeal was unsuccessful in the Court of Appeal. The Defendant sought its costs of that appeal.

    The Court of Appeal notes the CPR provisions:

    CPR 27(14) provides, so far as relevant:

    Read the full post

    The post Pyrrhic victory corner: Costs on appeal from a small claim appeared first on Nearly Legal.

  • Trouble out west

    In O’Brien v Bristol CC [2014] EWHC 2423 (Admin) [heard at the RCJ instead of in the Bristol admin court?  Not on Bailii yet but we have seen a transcript], a range of issues arose out of the council’s decision to seek and obtain a possession order of an unauthorised encampment below the M5 at Avonmouth.  The real aim of this judicial review, though, was not the possession order, but the council’s decision not to allow the O’Brien’s and their four caravans to return to the temporary transit site, which had available pitches.  The O’Briens had stayed at that temporary site for the allowable period (13 weeks) and had been … Read the full post

    The post Trouble out west appeared first on Nearly Legal.

  • Reforming a bad policy, badly.

    There has been a lot of noise about the Lib Dem’s change of position/u turn on the bedroom tax announced on Wednesday. Out of that noise, it has been possible to glean a little detail about what Nick Clegg, Danny Alexander and the Lib Dem leadership are proposing as their position. In particular, this Channel 4 news interview with Danny Alexander repays watching. (Apart from the fact that it is a spectacular car crash, in which Danny Alexander tries and fails to cope with the point that everyone knew, before the bedroom tax was introduced, what the effects would be, so trying to rely on the ‘now we know’ DWP … Read the full post

    The post Reforming a bad policy, badly. appeared first on Nearly Legal.