Today, the Court of Appeal handed down an important judgment on homelessness, in which Shelter intervened. It hammers a welcome stake in the ground regarding access to justice for people struggling with homelessness, highlighting the importance of legal aid in ensuring that people can appeal decisions under the Homelessness Reduction Act about whether they will be housed.
The aftermath of the Second World War saw the birth of our great welfare state. Four pillars provided the safety net people needed to ensure a minimum standard of living: decent and safe homes, healthcare for all, benefits for those struggling and education for children.
The unsung hero, which was never included in the welfare state’s four pillars, is legal aid, which celebrates its 70th birthday today.
While it may not feature in the top four, legal aid was, and … Read more
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has finally released its long-overdue report into the impact of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO). The act removed access to legal advice in all benefit and most debt cases overnight, drastically reducing the number of housing cases covered by legal aid. Now the MoJ concedes it has achieved just one of its four original objectives: to make significant savings to the legal aid bill.
We welcome the MoJ’s recognition … Read more
Access to justice is a fundamental human right – but one that is increasingly difficult to exercise.
Since the introduction of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO), thousands of people are unable to access legal advice for help with benefits and debt problems, or with other tenancy issues at an early stage – so much so that the number of new benefit cases opened under legal aid has dropped by 99% since 2013.
This means … Read more