01/03/2007

So long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye

Not to me, at least not yet, but to 253 housing law LSC contracts between 2000 and 2006 (down from 840 to 587).

I’d missed this article in the Gazette, until alerted by Tessa at Landlord Law. The figures make interesting, if dispiriting, reading. I don’t think it is a simple as losing 253 contracts, a certain number of takeovers and mergers will be involved. This is what happened to my previous firm.

The figures on cases started (excluding ‘acts of advice’ which includes the CLS Direct phone line) show an overall increase between 2004/5 and 2005/6. However, there is no breakdown by area on those figures, which cover all of civil legal aid. I’d like to see a breakdown by contract area.

However, even though things may not be as bad as the headline figure suggests, it is clear that a lot of housing contracts and firms have gone. This was pre-Carter. Given the reaction to Carter and after, there is not going to be any increase in the number of contracts taken on, quite the reverse.

Past performance is no guarantee of the future, as we are continually reminded by pension mis-sellers, but, mischeviously, it is worth pointing out that if this trend were to continue, there would be no housing contracts at all within 14 years.

Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts.

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