The Law Centres Network (LCN), of which Cambridge House is a proud member, won an important challenge to the Ministry of Justice. The High Court has ruled that the MoJ’s decision – to consolidate the 113 duty desk schemes across England and Wales into just 47 – was “one that no reasonable decision-maker could reach”.
The changes would have severely affected the Housing Possession Court Duty Scheme, the system through which people at risk of losing their home receive legal advice, assistance and advocacy at court. Often marginalised and vulnerable people, the clients of these schemes face eviction and homelessness without court based support.
Consolidating the schemes would have stretched services over significantly larger areas. This would have jeopardised Cambridge House’s ability to be involved in the scheme – rather than have the support and follow upwork on their case dealt with by us, Southwark residents at risk of eviction would instead have to travel to north London for help during times of incredible emotional and financial stress. The MoJ also decided to remove fixed fees for these cases, meaning organisations that wanted to help people facing eviction would have to enter a bidding competition, which could drive down fees and harm service quality.
The Judge upheld the LCN’s claims that the MoJ made these decisions based on questionable, untested assumptions and acted without proper analysis of the decisions’ effects on people who need the service. Cambridge House are happy to see the High Court make the right call, and are ever grateful to have the Law Centres Network fighting for an accessible, fair justice system.