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Legal Aid inaccessibility leaves thousands vulnerable to eviction

Legal Aid inaccessibility leaves thousands vulnerable to eviction


Rising eviction rates highlight urgent need for expanded legal aid access, warns Law Society.

As evictions and repossessions surge, legal aid emerges as a crucial lifeline, yet remains elusive for many. The Law Society of England and Wales urges immediate government action to broaden legal aid accessibility.

Recent figures released by the Ministry of Justice reveal a concerning trend: mortgage possession claims surged by 28% (from 4,035 to 5,182), while landlord possession claims rose by 6% (from 23,389 to 24,874) compared to the same period last year. Landlord possession orders increased by 3%, reaching 18,154.

Law Society president Nick Emmerson voices deep concern: “We are alarmed by the growing number of individuals facing the threat of homelessness. With the cost-of-living crisis and soaring interest rates, many struggle to meet rent and mortgage obligations, placing their homes at risk. Legal aid often represents their sole recourse, yet remains beyond reach.”

Research conducted by the Law Society underscores the severity of the issue: 25.3 million people, constituting 42% of the population, lack access to local legal aid providers for housing advice. This stark reality limits the effectiveness of government initiatives such as the Housing Loss Prevention Advice Service. Additionally, dwindling legal aid rates, plummeting nearly 50% since 1996, render many law firms unable to afford providing advice.

Emmerson underscores the urgency of addressing these pressure points: “The government must act swiftly to avert a homelessness crisis. Urgent measures are imperative to stem the tide of eviction and ensure vulnerable individuals receive necessary legal support.”

The Law Society's call for expanded legal aid access reflects the pressing need to safeguard individuals' housing security amidst challenging economic circumstances.