To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps the Government is taking to ensure that people facing possession proceedings for their home are able to access the advice of a duty solicitor if court proceedings take place online or by phone.
Access to justice is a fundamental right and the government is committed to ensuring that everyone can get the support they need to access the justice system.
Duty solicitors play a crucial role in upholding this right, through offering on the day emergency advice and advocacy to anyone facing possession proceedings in court. This means that anyone in danger of being evicted from their home or having their property repossessed can get free legal advice and representation on the day of their court hearing, regardless of their financial circumstances. That said, repossession cases are currently stayed in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Ministry of Justice and the Legal Aid Agency are working at pace to ensure that this support is available for those facing eviction when repossession hearings restart, which is currently scheduled to be after 24 June. This includes support for those attending hearings which are conducted remotely due to Covid-19 and those that include physical distancing measures.