A Day in the Life

A Shelter solicitor, Peter Szoltysek, has written a piece for Inside Housing magazine describing a typical day in the life of a housing lawyer, to which I have added a short note summarising the key changes proposed to social welfare legal aid by the government. It’s a great reminder of the important work funded by legal aid, and depressing to note that several of his clients would no longer get the help they need. For all the government’s protestations, repeated most recently by Jonathan Djanogly on You and Yours yesterday, that they want to retain legal aid for the most important cases, Peter reminds us of the importance of dealing with the causes of the whole problem not just the immediate symptoms. The client he represents in possession proceedings would still get legal aid for the court hearing, but to what purpose if Shelter couldn’t also deal with the underlying housing benefits issue? If all advice on welfare benefits is taken out of scope, securing an adjournment just postpones the inevitable instead of – as now – buying time to put things right. A great example of the short-sightedness of the reform package.

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Filed under Articles, Civil, Policy, Social welfare

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