The government is proposing that tenants facing eviction receive additional legal assistance through an enhancement of the current free ‘on-the-day’ law advice given by the Housing Possession Court Duty Scheme.
A statement from the Ministry of Justice says that the HPCDS’ vital role means “the continuation of the service is of paramount importance”.
The MoJ, in a consultation process which finishes in the New Year, proposes that changes to the HPCDS are made as follows:
- to remodel and rebrand it to become a new Housing Loss Prevention Advice Service (HLPAS), incorporating both the existing service of advice and representation at court but also early legal advice before court;
- expanding the scope of legal aid so that HLPAS providers can offer early legal advice on social welfare law matters to individuals facing procession proceedings;
- contracts for individual courts rather than larger geographical areas;
- allowing providers to claim for the court duty fee in addition to a Legal Help fee for follow on work;
- introducing a set attendance fee for all schemes, replacing the existing nil session payment.
This is a follow up to an earlier consultation made prior to the pandemic - that process was scrapped because possession proceedings changed dramatically during Covid.
You can see and comment on the new consultation here.
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