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Legal aid charade

 
September 13th 2016
 
Cuts to Legal Aid, that are leaving vulnerable people without access to housing justice, are leading more and more people to become homeless, a leading charity claimed last month.

The charity claim the problem is due to a Government Act passed four years ago in England and Wales, which restricts access access and reportedly saves the Government £350 million every year.

The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) contained a set of laws that would supposedly help British citizens who are unable to afford a lawyer. The Act also created an official ban on squatting in residential properties, meaning people caught squatting could now face jail time.

The act was heavily criticised at the time: The Legal Action Group (LAG) opinion poll in November 2012 found that housing was thought to be the second most important legal aid priority. Calls were made on a film made by London-based musician Chester P appealing for a welfare reformation and campaigners fought hard.

Regardless, the government made cuts to the amount of money given over to free legal aid in April 2013.  From then new limitations to the amount of legal aid offered to those in need have been in place and is only  offered when a person is being evicted, rather than provided to those who risk homelessness.

Those who don’t meet the cut for receiving legal aid have four alternate options: to pay for a private lawyer, represent themselves or, seek aid from charities or to pay for help from elsewhere.

A spokesperson from Shelter Cymru says the effect of these cuts have led to an increase in homelessness.

Catherine Dixon, chief executive of The Law Society of England and Wales has said that gaining help is “vital” for people facing eviction, homelessness or renting a property which is in a state of "serious disrepair”. "Early legal advice on housing matters can make the difference between a family being made homeless or not," she told the  BBC.

In 2015, the ministry of Justice claimed to have spent over £1.5 billion on legal aid.
 
 
 

 

Contents

New arrivals hit the streets

Soup Run Forum

Web only: Emergency Islington shelter remains open during sub-zero temperatures

Chairman of the board

Rest in peace - in memory of lost friends

Prince poses

Starter pack boost

Wearing a jacket to beg?

Teens found guilty of killing Ralph Millward

The Passage withdraws service "as a last resort"

New learning centre for Glasgow

iHobo game causes controversy

Auckland extends ban on rough sleepers

Homeless interrogation

Affordable housing development opens in Edinburgh

Who decides?

Credit unions

New counts are optional

Nobby on stage

I will never forget you, my people

London homeless services in limbo over ?Ǭ£3.28m cuts

Disused night shelter re-opened for winter months

Coventry Cyrenians forced to cut services

London hub success for new rough sleepers

Crisis Skylight in Birmingham - a year on

Residents look ahead to staff upheaval

Midland Heart report

Labour call for hefty council tax levy on empty homes

Stik pic for the American Church

Lottery grant means new opportunities

Mungo?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s launches women?¢‚Ǩ‚Ñ¢s campaign

Homeless people forced into slavery

Homeless couple marry in Australia

Number of homeless in Southend underestimated

Basic banking for all

NSNO expands into west London

Scottish homeless applications drop by 19 per cent

Miami cannibal

Invisible People film UK homeless

The demilitarised zone in North America’s drug war

2012 - the year of the right to permanent accommodation in Scotland?

Crisis at Christmas

The Pavement is recruiting

Rough sleeper donates $250 to charity

Food voucher scheme scrapped

Commemorating friends and companions

Human rights for all

First person: Gemskii on regaining control of her life

The shades come off

Upfront: spikes

Comment: Spikes are the least of your worries

Opinion: All up in smoke?

Heartbreak Hotel, episode 4.

The Pied Piper of Housing

March for the Homeless

Being homeless doesn't mean you can't vote on May 7

The vulnerability ruling

The Queen’s speech

Criminalising homelessness

116-bed hostel for young homeless to close in Southwark

Sponsor a bed and rebuild a life

Hipsters neutralise anti-homeless spikes

What the Brexit will happen now?

Anti-homelessness protesters threatened with eviction, jail by Manchester city council

Showing our impact

Rebirth

The birth of the North Gower Action Group

A pianist, an artist, a dog called George and a new homeless app

Living water

Midwinter blues?

Councils back change in law to tackle rising homelessness

Having problems with your JSA?

Mayoral hustings on homelessness

Skippering

A major step in reducing homelessness?

Liverpool Police homeless curb beggars belief

Charity begins at home?

Legal aid charade

Surviving the streets – by those who've done it

Stop the scandal

Glasgow homeless services at risk

Bill gives councils legal duty to stop homelessness

 

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