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Save Lambeth County Court
According to research published by Shelter last year, Southwark is an eviction hotspot where 1 in 30 tenant households are at risk of losing their homes. For Lambeth the figures are similar, 1 in 35 households are at risk from eviction. The proposed closure of Lambeth County Court, one of the country’s busiest housing courts, will therefore likely have devastating consequences for many local families.
Under the Ministry of Justice’s ‘Estate Reform Programme’, Lambeth County Court’s workload will be moved to Wandsworth. The closures will force local residents fighting eviction to travel further, a development Southwark Council Leader Peter John worries will put them at an ‘automatic disadvantage’.
He told Southwark News recently:
“I think it’s a potentially disastrous move for the borough’s most vulnerable residents. Some of these people lead disorganised lives. If this closure means, that residents need to get to East Putney or the Royal Courts of Justice, I’m concerned they won’t get there.”
Under the new changes residents traveling from Peckham will find their journey time increased from just 39 minutes to one hour and 45 minutes.
Angus King a solicitor from Cambridge House Law Centre said,
“The closure of Lambeth County Court will lead to an increase in evictions and homelessness, putting an even greater strain on already stretched resources.”
Despite the number of residents at threat from eviction in the area – the Government’s courts and tribunal service argue that the threatened facilities are chronically under-used, on average lying empty two-thirds of the time.
According to Southwark News the Courts & Tribunals Minister, Shailesh Vara, added that courts will be required less and less as technology improves and the justice system becomes more streamlined.
This is despite mounting evidence from our own research that for some the digitalisation of rent statements and benefits as we move towards the Universal Credit system is prohibitive.