Young Legal Aid Lawyers (YLAL) has today responded to Lord Justice Jackson’s preliminary report on civil litigation costs, expressing dismay at its proposal to introduce fixed costs in certain housing cases.
YLAL is concerned that Lord Jackson’s tentative proposal to introduce fixed recoverable costs in fast track housing litigation will have a detrimental impact on an already dwindling area of legal aid practice. It will mean legal aid firms that previously used inter-partes costs from housing litigation to subsidise vital non-profitable housing advice work will no longer be able to do so.
YLAL is especially concerned that this will encourage a further reliance on poorly supervised paralegals in what is a very complex area of law impacting on the most vulnerable members of society.
Katie Brown, YLAL member and one of the authors of the response said:
“This is the wrong time to risk the loss of specialist housing lawyers. During this period of recession the demand for housing advice has increased. YLAL members report that their firms are having to turn away many callers each week who need urgent advice about either threatened possession proceedings or imminent evictions. People are at risk of losing their homes due to their own loss of income through redundancy, or because their landlord can no longer afford mortgage repayments. Such people need quality specialist advice, assistance and (if appropriate) representation. The decline in the number of lawyers able to provide such specialist advice could have disastrous consequences for both individuals and society as a whole.”
The response can be viewed HERE.
The authors of the response are Katie Brown (Pierce Glynn Solicitors) and Annabel Kennedy (Fisher Meredith LLP).