The Garden Court Chambers Housing Team has responded to the Call for Evidence on the Case for a Housing Court, which closed on 22 January 2019.
The consultation concerns whether there should be a specialist housing court for all housing litigation, taking cases out of the county court’s jurisdiction. It also asks whether some types of housing cases should be moved from the county court to the First-Tier Tribunal (Property Chamber).
Our main concern is the potential non-availability of legal aid and conditional fee agreements for tenants to be able to fund legal representation. Cases in the First-tier tribunal do not qualify for legal aid and conditional fee is not available because it is a no costs jurisdiction. One of our main concerns is that a housing court may be set up on the model of a tribunal as a no costs jurisdiction and therefore there would be no legal aid and no means for tenants to fund legal representation.
We have responded that better resourcing of the court system to reduce delays and increase accessibility and the reform of legal aid is a better approach than a restructuring of the court system.
Read the full response.