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Legal concern over new aid for tenants in eviction cases

The Law Society is raising concerns over the effectiveness of a new support service aimed at tenants at risk of losing their home.

The new Housing Loss Prevention Advice Service took effect earlier this week and it offers early legal advice, free of charge, to anyone at risk of possession proceedings and loss of their home.

Advice can be provided in relation to Housing, Debt and Welfare Benefits issues, and this assistance includes so-called ’In Court Duty’ on-the-day emergency advice and advocacy to anyone facing possession proceedings.


Under the new scheme, the Legal Aid Agency is extending court duty scheme work to include early legal advice on housing, welfare benefits and debt from the moment a landlord or lender issues a notice to repossess. This is non-means and non-merits tested.

The president of the Law Society of England and Wales - Lubna Shuja - says: “In principle we support the HLPAS.

“It is also a welcome recognition of the value of early advice and the need to address a client’s problems holistically. We cannot overestimate the value of early legal advice as it can help address problems before they escalate, preventing cases from going to court unnecessarily.

“However, we have continuing concerns as to whether the system will be effective, and about the increasing legal aid advice ‘deserts’ caused by long-term underfunding of the system. 

“The scheme is provided by solicitors and therefore contingent on the number of solicitors able to do the work. With rising legal aid advice deserts, there are fewer and fewer legal aid practitioners able to give legal advice.

“Those facing eviction will not be able to access vital legal advice if there is no legal advice provider in their area.”


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