More than 18,000 orders for eviction as legal aid remains elusive

With the number of evictions and repossessions rising, legal aid is often the last hope.

The UK government must act now to expand access to legal aid, warns the Law Society of England and Wales.

New figures* published by the Ministry of Justice, show that mortgage possession claims increased 28% (from 4,035 to 5,182) and landlord possession claims increased by 6% (23,389 to 24,874) compared to the same quarter last year. Landlord possession orders rose 3% from 17,644 to 18,154.

Law Society president Nick Emmerson said: “We are concerned about the number of people who are at risk of becoming homeless.

“With the cost-of-living crisis and high interest rates, many are struggling with rent and mortgage payments and are at risk of losing their homes. More often than not, legal aid is their only hope but it remains out of reach.

“Our research has found that 25.3m people (42%) do not have a local legal aid provider for housing advice.**

“This means that the government's attempt to increase housing advice under the Housing Loss Prevention Advice Service can only have a limited impact. More and more law firms can no longer afford to offer advice, as legal aid rates have decreased by almost 50% since 1996.

“The pressure points are clear and the government must address them urgently to stop the increase in the number of people being made homeless.”

Notes to editors

*Statistics taken from Mortgage and Landlord Possession Statistics: January to March 2024

**View our housing legal aid desert map

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