03 July 2023

Legal Services Agency will continue to provide Emergency Court Helpdesk

Legal Services Agency is pleased to receive funding from the Scottish Government Homelessness Sector Prevention Fund, enabling us to continue to provide emergency legal representation to those facing eviction and repossession.

We will be continuing to provide our helpdesk in Glasgow Sheriff Court and we are pleased to announce that similar in-person emergency helpdesk provision will start in Dumbarton Sheriff Court on 05 July 2023, and we look forward to being able to provide emergency advice and representation to unrepresented people facing eviction in Dumbarton Sheriff Court. In the meantime we have been accepting referrals for people in the West Dunbartonshire area who are requiring immediate legal advice and representation.

Door of court advice can make a difference between eviction into homelessness and being able to maintain tenancies. Though people present to us at a point of crisis at the helpdesk, with the threat of a court order for eviction immediately overhead, we are often able to identify what the issue is that has caused the eviction proceedings to start, and assist to defend the action. We see a variety of different cases at the helpdesk. Often people have accrued rent arrears and have not known where to turn. Through the partnerships we have built up, we can often refer people to specialist money advisers and welfare rights assistance, in order to maximise their income and allow them to keep their home. People sometimes attend with more complex cases, for example involving anti-social behaviour or criminal convictions. We can also provide advice on these more complex cases and seek further time to allow us to provide full advice to the client. Housing law is an increasingly complex area, and there are sometimes technical legal arguments which can be used to save a tenancy and prevent homelessness if the right advice is obtained at the right time.

Urgent action is needed to help those with strained budgets or those experiencing other difficulties to avoid eviction, particularly in the cost of living crisis that we are seeing currently. By providing people with high quality legal advice and representation, we will help to prevent many from losing their homes and experiencing homelessness.

We are especially proud to have introduced this project in West Dunbartonshire for the first time last year. This will help to provide much needed legal assistance to people and ensure that they have access to fair representation. The harsh realities of the increased cost of living are forcing people to make impossible decisions for them and their families. LSA remains determined to help our clients out of tough situations and reduce the number of repossessions and homeless applications.

We provide our Glasgow Sheriff Court help desk at 9:30am and 1:30pm for cases calling in the heritable court each Wednesday. From 05 July 2023 we will also be in Dumbarton Sheriff Court every second Wednesday at 9:30am. Should you have any queries, or need advice in these areas, please call 0141 353 3354 to speak to us or email us on mail@lsa.org.uk.

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