Sofa-surfing: young people and homelessness

Posted by - 14th December 2012

Homeless 16 and 17 year-olds frequently have to fend for themselves by ‘sofa-surfing’, even after contacting their local council, reports Elizabeth Davidson. Pic by melinnis. According to legal aid housing lawyers, housing departments often use ‘gatekeeping’ techniques to delay or discourage homeless teenage applicants. These include telling the teenager they need more documentation such as

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Students to help those without legal aid

Posted by - 14th December 2012

Ministers are planning to use law students to help ‘fill the gap’ left by cuts to legal aid, it was reported this week. According to Exaro, the investigative website, the plan is for ‘rookie briefs’ – known as ‘community legal companions’ (CLCs) – to assist litigants in person. The idea is for CLCs to ‘support

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‘We don’t kid ourselves we can turn the clock back’

Posted by - 13th December 2012

‘What we will do is tell it like it is. We will document the need, collect the evidence and then let the evidence speak for itself.’ So says Lord Colin Low who will chair a major new post-LASPO initiative launched last week. The Low Commission on the Future of Advice and Legal Support has been

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LSB calls for charging ban on NfPs to be lifted

Posted by - 7th December 2012

At least five Law Centres are looking to ask some of their clients to pay for legal services when regulatory controls on not-for-profit groups charging are lifted, writes Elizabeth Davidson. Currently, not-for-profit groups are banned from charging clients for legal services. The picture is of the original North Kensington Law Centre team, the first Law

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JusticeWatch: ‘We need to pick our battles’

Posted by - 30th November 2012

Roger Smith begins a new column picking up news stories relevant to legal aid Legal aid practice has come in for a battering this month. Judicial review was the subject of potshots from both David Cameron and Sir John Thomas. Chris Grayling then chipped in to challenge legal aid costs in high profile judicial reviews.

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Confusion over JR clampdown

Posted by - 29th November 2012

Lawyers are baffled by some parts of the government’s outline for judicial review reform, and warn that other parts could ‘endanger compliance with EU law’, writes Elizabeth Davidson. The Prime Minister implied that legal challenges were stalling infrastructure development and building projects, and that many of those challenges had no merit, in his announcement of

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PM’s JR attack ‘misses the point’

Posted by - 20th November 2012

The Prime Minister has promised a clampdown on the ‘massive growth industry’ of judicial reviews. Addressing the CBI conference, David Cameron announced proposals to streamline equality rules and cut legal red tape. Coming to the subject of judicial reviews, the PM said: ‘This is a massive growth industry in Britain today. Back in 1998 there

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The double whammy: welfare reforms and LASPO cuts

Posted by - 15th November 2012

Universal credit – due to be introduced next October – will bring together a range of benefits and credits into one system, and aims to ensure people are financially better off in work than out, writes Elizabeth Davidson. According to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), it will be a simpler, more streamlined benefits

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Housing: between a rock and a hard place

Posted by - 13th November 2012

Desperation among local authority housing departments is running so high that homeless families are regularly told they can be given accommodation only if their children go into care, writes Elizabeth Davidson. This shocking response on the part of the authorities is clearly a fob-off given that this would not only breach their legal duties but

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