The Law Society's Legal Aid Deserts campaign gained national coverage in Guardian this weekend. In the wake of a report by the Legal Action Group and Shelter, highlighting that at a time of record repossessions in the private rental market there has been an 18% decline in the number of challenges brought.
The Guardian reports that
deep cuts to other forms of housing legal aid,[...] bureaucratic obstructions and poor hourly rates have progressively driven most lawyers specialising in housing out of the market, leaving few practitioners.
As part of their Legal Aid Deserts campaign, Law Society chief executive Catherine Dixon said
Families are unable to access justice because they cannot afford to travel to see the one provider in their area who may be located long distances from where they live.
The problem is quite acute in the Tees Valley region, where the number of providers with housing contracts in each area is...:
- Darlington - 2 providers
- Stockton - 1 provider
- Middlesbrough - 2 providers
- Redcar and Cleveland - 1 provider
- Durham (entire area from Barnard Castle to borders of Gateshead and Washington) - 3 providers
- Hartlepool - 3 providers