The government is set to lift the stay on housing possession cases on 23 August 2020. Many have voiced considerable concern about the potential flood of evictions that will arise once court proceedings resume due to the economic impact of the pandemic.  The MoJ and HMCTS have been working closely with legal aid providers and rep bodies such as LAPG to find workable solutions to how to safely recommence possession hearings and ensure that tenants and homeowners facing eviction can access specialist legal advice.  LAPG has been at the heart of these discussions, one part of which is the Legal Aid Agency’s proposals to amend legal aid contracts in response to changes introduced to possession hearings.

Read LAPG’s formal response to this consultation here, with our comments on the contract amendments set out here.  LAPG has raised significant concerns about the financial viability of the contracts that underpin duty advice services, concerns reflected in a recent government consultation but not incorporated into the MoJ’s immediate plans for delivering these vital services over the coming months as the courts re-open.  We are urging the the MoJ to urgently introduce further measures to improve the viability of these contracts and ensure that legal aid providers are not forced to withdraw from services and leave tenants and homeowners without advice.

To discuss this consultation, or the broader issues relating to the resumption of housing possession cases and the contracting and remuneration model that sits behind HPCDS services please contact us here.