The Housing department at Hodge Jones & Allen has, this spring, established a new partnership with the nearby University College London Centre for Access to Justice to advise Haringey residents about their housing rights.
The UCL Centre for Access to Justice promotes access to justice in London, providing legal assistance to members of the local community who would otherwise be unable to afford it.
The team at the centre provide unique opportunities for UCL students to research, prepare and present pro bono legal advice at community workshops in Haringey in March 2017 and, the housing law specialists at HJA provided supervision of this work, as well as attended the workshops, and gave feedback to the students on their presentations.
Students organised and advised at four pro-bono workshops, held in local Haringey schools, giving information to community members on a variety of housing related issues including disrepair, homelessness, possession and tenancy rights. Both Hodge Jones & Allen and UCL teams provided information to Haringey residents which would not have been available otherwise.
Providing advice on your housing rights
With continuing changes and prevention of access to justice from legal aid and new legislation the most vulnerable in our society need guidance on their legal rights and options.
Comments from the workshop sessions were hugely encouraging:
“The project has been very well received and helpful to those who attended the workshops. We have even received requests for similar workshops on housing and a range of other legal topics, so there is clearly a big need for legal education in Haringey”;
“I wanted to thank you for coming to our school last night. It was really important that people got a chance to find out about their rights and to share their concerns. It was particularly useful that you managed to give one to one advice and this exceeded my expectations. I have a feeling you may be hearing from our parents soon.”
It was apparent amongst the varied issues raised by those in attendance that advice was needed regarding the need to make landlords accountable for their duty to make repairs to resident’s homes and concerns with reviewing the decisions of local authorities in offering unsuitable accommodation.
HJA’s involvement in this project was just one of the ways in which it continues to implement the firm’s Innovation in Law report 2015, in which the firm committed to establishing an HJA Education Scheme, to promote the justice system through schools, youth and community groups. The firm also recently hosted an ‘Access to Justice: A career in Legal Aid’ evening, to inspire the next generation of aspiring lawyers to consider a career in legal aid work.
We are looking forward to continuing our partnership with the UCL Centre for Access to Justice by supporting their unique residential Summer School in August 2017, aimed at sixth formers from across the UK wishing to explore law and access to justice issues.
For further information, please see: