Pat Reddin: 1947-2015

April 14th, 2015

Andrew Arden QC records and reflects on the loss of the leading housing surveyor of our times.

This morning, April 13, a day before his 68th birthday, housing surveyor Pat Reddin died following a fall.

For those – few – housing practitioners not familiar with his work, Pat has been the “go to” surveyor for both tenants and social landlords since the early 1970s. Indeed, the founders of housing law at that time were not only Law Centre and legal aid lawyers but others, without whom our work would have been impossible to deliver, who put flesh on the bones of cases involving housing conditions, by whom I mean pre-eminently Pat Reddin and the independent environmental health adviser, David Ormandy. It felt like there wasn’t a disrepair claim which didn’t feature one or other of them.

As many in housing law will know, in 2011 Pat was diagnosed with a brain tumour which he courageously, vigorously and (for the most part!) with the best of humour fought throughout 2012, allowing him to return to work less than a year after surgery (and long before the doctors had predicted he would be able to): he had continued to recover, and to work, and was, as he always has been, much in demand as an expert witness, readily acceptable to social landlords and tenants alike as a joint expert and indeed in the courts.

It is too early to say what caused the fall or how far it was linked to the tumour, although his annual scans showed that the residue had not grown and that the operation was a considerable sucess. His sudden death has accordingly come as a complete shock to his family and friends.

Pat leaves behind his wife, Vincina Mellor, four daughters – Tania, Sarah, Jada and Francesca – and five grandchildren – Cassius, Ava, Tulah, Sheyo and Kosi – as well as a host of friends many of whom are active in housing and housing law and all of whom know how lucky we were to have had him in our lives and who will miss him dreadfully. Pat and the family were deeply grateful for the outpourings of concern and support during 2012, the most enormous morale boost through what Pat remarked in his client letter as he returned to work was a truly horrible year.

When I first wrote on his condition (July 6, 2012), I recorded that the tumour had been

“a dreadful shock to him and to his family – and to those close to him who hadn’t realised he had a brain at all (a joke he does not tire of making!)”.

This was also a line I had used to his youngest daughter – Frankie, my god-daughter (as Pat was my daughter’s god-father) – across his bed in the ICU the morning after an 11½ hour operation in early January 2012, when there were very real doubts both about his chances of recovery and about how far he was (or would be) capable of comprehension. I was quite clear in my own mind, though, that I saw in his eyes a flicker of recognition – of humour – at the line and it is one of the enduring joys of my life that as soon as he could communicate again, he confirmed that I had read him right: he had not left us but briefly.

That last thought struck me again today, when I found a draft will written way back when – from its contents, probably 20 years or so ago – and which contained this line.

“This is a time of celebration and adventure. I am going on another journey. I will return and I will always be available for you. Hold me in your thoughts for that is where I reside”.

 

Legal Aid – matter starts

January 22nd, 2015

The LAA has issued new matter starts guidance with immediate effect. The key element is that providers “will be able to request or self-grant supplementary matter starts up to 50% of their original allocation.”

This is good news for those who had worked through their allocation. The change follows tireless efforts, argument and meetings with the LAA by Sara Stephens, HLPA Exec member heading the legal aid working group.

 

Stand for the executive committee

January 22nd, 2015

Nominations are open for standing for election to the HLPA executive committee. Any member can stand.

Fancy playing a part in running HLPA? Deciding on meeting topics, or conference content? Having a role in our lobbying, policy or legal aid work? Or chasing members to remind them to renew…

All nominations welcome. The form can be downloaded here. Deadline 2 February 2015.

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]

For the full news archive see here.

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