Response: The Case for a Housing Court

By: Ruth Ehrlich  Published: January 2019


Shelter’s response to the government’s call for evidence on the case for a housing court.

Summary

Shelter welcomes the opportunity to respond to this call for evidence on the case for a specialist housing court. Although it should always be the last resort for resolving issues, the court and tribunal system has a vital role to play in ensuring that people can access and keep a decent home.

In our experience, more people would be able to have access to justice if some improvements were made to the county court system. There are barriers that stop people from receiving legal advice, such as not being able to access legal aid and others that stop people accessing the court system directly, such as the immediate costs associated with making an application to the courts. Therefore, we strongly welcome holistic consideration of how to improve the court system.

A specialist housing court might improve access to justice, but without sufficient resourcing and access to legal aid, changes to the court system could be disastrous for renters. Our support for a specialised housing court is entirely dependent on it being adequately resourced, and the broad nature of this call for evidence means we have used our submission to outline what positive, well-resourced reform might look like.

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