RESIDENTS in Bromsgrove, Redditch and Stratford district have no access to publicly funded legal advice for housing, says the Law Society as it publishes an analysis revealing ‘catastrophic legal aid deserts’ across the country.
They are just three of 184 local authorities that have no such service while a further 81 have just one provider.
“People facing homelessness or trying to challenge a rogue landlord increasingly can’t get the expert legal advice they desperately need,” said Law Society president Christina Blacklaws.
The Law Society blames ‘catastrophically low rates of pay’ for forcing legal professionals across the country to withdraw from providing legal aid as the work is not economically viable for small businesses like solicitor firms.
The fees the government pays for legal aid provision have not increased since 1998-99, equating to a 41 per cent real-terms reduction.
On top of this, fees were cut by a further ten per cent in 2011.
“The government must ensure everyone who has a right to state-funded legal advice can actually get it when they so desperately need it,” said Ms Blacklaws.
“Legal rights are meaningless if people can’t enforce them.”