The Government first announced plans for a shared ownership right to buy in October 2019. At the time the sector raised concerns about the impact the plans would have on housing associations ability to borrow. An election and a pandemic later the Government announced, during the CIH Housing Festival last week, the return of the right to shared ownership as part of its Affordable Homes Programme (AHP).
Since April 2013 victims of domestic violence have had to provide “acceptable evidence” to obtain legal aid.
This has led to difficulties for many victims accessing legal advice as they could not provide, often in times of crisis, the necessary written evidence to obtain funding. This lead to concerns being raised by support organisations that many victims have stayed in abusive relationships because they are unable to afford legal representation, feel unable to represent themselves in court against the alleged perpetrator and fear losing their children into the care system.
The new changes mean that the evidence required for some of these gateway provisions for eligibility to Legal Aid have been eased. One example is that evidence that the alleged perpetrator is on police bail for a domestic violence offence or a child abuse offence may satisfy the gateway to obtaining public funding.
Other changes that may satisfy the gateway to Legal Aid include:
- The removal of the wording “High Risk” when referrals have been made to multi-agency risk assessment conferences (MARAC).
- Referral by a health professional to a specialist support service.
- Victims refused admission to a refuge due to lack of accommodation may now be eligible.
- A relevant domestic violence protection order issued under section 24 of the Crime and Security Act 2008.
- A Court Order binding over the alleged perpetrator is in force and was granted 24 months immediately proceeding the date of any Legal Aid application.
In a further welcome change the fees for applications for a non-molestation order (injunction), occupation orders and Forced Marriage Protection Orders are to be waived from 22nd April 2014 which will further assist victims seeking the protection orders that the Courts can provide.
It is hoped that these amendments to widen the evidence required to pass eligibility criteria for Legal Aid will assist more victims gain access to legal advice and assistance to protect themselves and their family.
What is clear is that all agencies dealing with victims of domestic abuse need to be aware that despite the wholesale reduction in eligibility to Legal Aid that took place in April 2013 there is still provision for victims of domestic abuse to access legal advice and assistance via Legal Aid.
A copy of the guidance can be found here: [media type="link" id=289]
For more information
For further information, contact Jas Tamber on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0121 214 3580.
Two final pieces of the possession jigsaw have been published on 15 September 2020. Mr Justice Knowles’ working group on possession proceedings has issued its guidance on the “overall arrangements” for possession proceedings.
One change proposed by the Building Safety Bill is the introduction of a duty holder regime, which will see statutory responsibility for the safety of higher risk buildings placed on key individuals
Throughout this pandemic, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has been publishing various “Statements on Coronavirus” (Statements) which provide guidance on consumer rights during this time.
A recent increase in COVID-19 cases in the UK means new measures are being put in place in an effort to reduce the risk of a second wave. Whilst the impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt, it is important to remain focused on the sector’s road to recovery.
Sometimes half an hour at a conference gives you the reality that has been staring you in the face all along. That was my experience watching “Change is on the Horizon”
Following our recent e-briefing on Possession Notices, Helen Tucker and Emilie Pownall from our housing litigation team discuss the impact of the changes on social landlords.
Not only has the possession stay been extended until 20 September, the notice periods to be given to tenants has been extended in certain circumstances with some important exceptions.
The Court has confirmed that a party cannot withhold its consent in order to re-write the original bargain.
Following the Grenfell Tower tragedy, building safety continues to be a key concern for social housing providers and their residents.
To receive invitations to our events, as well as information and articles on legal issues and sector developments that are of interest to you, please sign up to Newsroom.