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

  • Bedroom tax and human rights: The UT has a go

    I’ve got two Upper Tribunal decisions on bedroom tax appeals, both from Scotland. Both concern human rights related cases. One concerns what sounds like a fairly hopeless and sadly not well argued case based on disability. The other is considerably more significant and concerns article 8 and shared care of children.

    CSH 374 2014 [decision can be downloaded here]
    The appellant was subject to the 14% deduction on one bedroom. He was the sole tenant and occupant of a two bedroom property. He apparently is disabled. At the First Teir Tribunal, it was apparently argued by the tenant’s representative that:

    The amended Housing Benefit Regulations are themselves discriminatory

    Read the full post

    The post Bedroom tax and human rights: The UT has a go appeared first on Nearly Legal: Housing Law News and Comment.

  • You’ve got absoutely nothing out of this

    For most parties that enter into litigation (save for those on CFAs and some who are legally aided) a win isn’t really a win unless the other side is also ordered to pay your costs. I say most, because certain litigants enter into litigation knowing that come what May their costs will be paid on the indemnity basis. They have the foresight (or more accurately the power) to draft contracts which provide that, in the event of litigation, the other side (often a borrower or a long leaseholder) will indemnify them for all their legal costs irrespective of whether they win or lose.

    While the court retains jurisdiction to intervene, … Read the full post

    The post You’ve got absoutely nothing out of this appeared first on Nearly Legal: Housing Law News and Comment.

  • A longer waiting to wait

    Barnet Council are consulting on changes to their 2012 Allocation policy. The main change proposed is that the current ‘residence requirement’ of two years be increased to five years. That is to say that no-one would be eligible for Barnet’s housing register without five years demonstrable residence in the borough.  (And yes, this applies to the homeless equally). They are not the only London council to consider five years residence requirement – so are LB Southwark – but their stated reason for the increase is specifically because:

    Increased costs in inner London combined with restrictions on housing benefit has resulted in more households moving to outer London boroughs like

    Read the full post

    The post A longer waiting to wait appeared first on Nearly Legal: Housing Law News and Comment.

  • Mortgage possession: Lloyds and the arrears that weren’t

    From the High Court in Northern Ireland comes a significant joined case of a mortgage lender behaving badly. Bank of Scotland, and indeed possibly the whole Lloyds group seem to have acted in this way, for which they have received an extremely severe judicial take down. The principles in this case may well have application outside Northern Ireland, and the practices identified well worth looking out for.

    Bank of Scotland plc v Rea, McGeady, Laverty [2014] NIMaster 11

    The borrowers’ cases were brought by NI Housing Rights Service, here is their account of the matter. These were effectively test cases to address a widespread practice.

    These were variously a … Read the full post

    The post Mortgage possession: Lloyds and the arrears that weren’t appeared first on Nearly Legal: Housing Law News and Comment.

  • Eviction: “Sexual, athletic and squeaking noises”

    In a case that recalls the ‘unnatural’ noises emanating from Concord, Tyne and Wear, a German Court was faced with a tricky decision in a claim for possession.

    the swingThe ground given was that the tenant had installed a ‘very old’ sex swing in 2012. And, despite a clause in the tenancy agreement requiring him to be quiet between 10pm and 7am, the tenant had apparently been determined to make the most of his second-hand purchase. (Or maybe third hand. Yes, I know, it doesn’t bear thinking about.)

    The landlord had received multiple complaints from neighbours of “sexual, athletic and squeaking noises” late into the night, and decided to evict.… Read the full post

    The post Eviction: “Sexual, athletic and squeaking noises” appeared first on Nearly Legal: Housing Law News and Comment.

  • Odds and Sods

    A few bits and pieces, none of which are worth their own post, including a couple of updates on old ‘friends’.

    First, as you have probably noticed, the blog has had a redesign (yes, another one). There are a couple of reasons for this: partly for a more contemporary, cleaner look, which should hopefully be more pleasant to read; and partly to make the site ‘responsive’, so that it deals with a wide variety of screen sizes. Rather than a separate version for mobiles, the same site is used, with a shortened menu bar. The sidebar and footer elements are below the main text on the mobile screen size.

    Other … Read the full post

    The post Odds and Sods appeared first on Nearly Legal: Housing Law News and Comment.