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Legal Aid For Neighbourhood Dispute Cases?

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The Low Commission, reporting on the 9.1.14, recommended that legal aid should be made available for housing disrepair and right to quiet enjoyment cases (http://www.24dash.com/news/housing/).  Given the current government’s directive to reduce the legal aid fees by 30%, and considering the current public sector deficit (£185 billion), this seems very unlikely.  So if people don’t have the money to resort to a traditional legal solution, what are the alternatives?  One method might be Legal Expenses Insurance, but it seems unlikely that tenants would be able to afford this.  A second option often considered when legal aid is not accessible is ‘no win – no fee’, or conditional fee, legal services, but these simply aren’t applicable in the majority of neighbourhood cases.  This leaves alternative dispute resolution as perhaps the most suitable alternative.  It has several advantages over litigation, including confidentiality, parties working together to resolve the issue, it’s quick, informal and there’s the possibility of the parties reviving their previous relationship.  And the cost is minimal in comparison to court based litigation.  So why isn’t it used more widely in the UK?

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