The Civil Justice Council has said it cannot support government plans for a specialist housing court, deeming it unnecessary.
Responding to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s consultation, which sought views and opinions from a variety of organisations and individuals including the judiciary, landlords and tenants, to help the government to better understand and improve the experience of people using courts and tribunal services in property cases, the influential body said that it cannot support the case for a specialist Housing Court.
Launching the call for evidence last year, communities secretary James Brokenshire said the proposals would help tenants and landlords access justice when they need it and create a fair housing market.
But The Civil Justice Council, which is led by Sir Terence Etherton, said the money would be better spent elsewhere rather than on a court designed to provide a single path of redress for landlords and tenants.
The Civil Justice Council argues that existing delays generally exist are due to a lack of resources in the court system and a lack of bailiffs, rather than any lack of knowledge among judges or the courts they sit in.
It added that delays also occur in part due to errors by landlords and agents and a lack of knowledge of the technical requirements when granting assured shorthold tenancies, and that newly-created housing court would not change that.
The Civil Justice Council’s response stated: ‘The Civil Justice Council would not support a major redesign of and/or transfer of cases within the courts and tribunal services for housing cases at this time,’ said the response.
‘This is particularly so at a time when the court reform programme and the increasing digitalisation of procedures within the courts and tribunal service is yet to be completed or evaluated.’