Access to justice failure shows Legal Aid victory on mortgage rights case could still mean your money or your house
A recent court victory in a case involving the use of the Mortgage Rights Act (Scotland) 2001 to challenge a repossession has resulted in lawyers claiming that legal aid will now be useless for mortgage rights case and that lawyers wont take on representing the public in similar legal actions.
The Mortgage Rights Act allows homeowners to challenge a lender repossessing their home, but you have to go to court to do it, and also of course you have to use a lawyer to get to court. If you do not have the money to pursue legal action, you may qualify for legal aid, but in turn, you need a lawyer to apply for that legal aid.If you win your case, generally the Legal Aid Board will not ask for its money back from you, although strangely enough, SLAB doesn't seem to want to pursue the mortgage lenders for recovery of funds ...
While the Scottish Legal Aid Board has not asked for money back in such cases since 2003, a recent BBC News report seems to indicate that SLAB may now be changing their policy, at the inspiration of some in the legal & financial professions no doubt, and want their money back from homeowners ...
Mike Dailly : Legal Aid now meaningless for mortgage repossession cases
Unfortunately for the public, the best suggestion from the legal profession in the report comes from solicitor Mike Dailly, of the Govan Law Centre, where he states that legal aid is now meaningless for mortgage repossession, with the report going on to say that solicitors will probably not take on such cases in the future.
A better suggestion perhaps then would be to call for the opening of the legal services market, to expand the availability of, and drive down the costs of legal representation to the public, so anyone who needs representation in such a case, and legal aid funding, can get it, without it reaching the costs currently associated with such actions.
Don't get me wrong about the Govan Law Centre, I'm all for what it does and how it helps people, but just a stones throw away from Mike Dailly's own house, a poor innocent woman has been systematically victimised and abused by a Housing Association in a long running campaign designed to ruin her health and her life, which has involved using lawyers to bully and harass the lady for years, even changing her secured tenancy into an assured tenancy, without any legal basis for doing so while the victimised tenant has been and is continually denied any access to proper legal representation and justice.
The innocent woman, who has been through much hardship and personal loss, has been held in sequestration for nearly a decade by a well known lawyer who is now a serving Sheriff, solely it would seem, on the basis of recovering legal costs from a negligence action against a firm of solicitors which the tenant lodged many years ago.
Many see the sequestration itself, which has run for nearly ten years, as an act of revenge for the tenant's bravery in making a claim of solicitors negligence against the infamously corrupt Law Society of Scotland's Master Insurance Policy, and within the tenant's case, the usual suspects of the Law Society appear - Chief Executive Douglas Mill, Director of Regulation Philip Yelland ... little wonder then that the poor victimised tenant is constantly being denied access to legal representation and justice , and her life continually being interdicted by members of Scotland's gallant legal profession who are just peachy about abusing the public when it suits ...
So, how about doing something Mr Dailly ?
Only a stones throw from your own house .. you should be able to manage it ? Could you manage to help a woman whose life is being blighted, abused, and ruined by a housing association and some of your colleagues in the legal profession, just so they can get their hands on her flat ? Surely access to justice should prevail and the lady's legal problems resolved to allow her to live in peace ?
Getting back to the BBC coverage of the Mortgage Rights case, the new report goes on to quote Cathy Craigie MSP, the MSP behind the Mortgage Rights Act, has written to Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill to see if he will review the law to protect the public's rights & interests ... but with Mr MacAskill constantly bowing to big business and the professions recently, there may not be too much hope of that.
As for the Scottish Legal Aid Board - well, wouldn't they be better going after those financial institutions and lenders who lose these kinds of legal actions, rather than going after the homeowner who won the case ?
They have plenty of money anyway, so asking financially ruined homeowners to pay back the legal expenses who won the case, while allowing the lenders to escape paying the entire costs of the case seems to be a bit one sided.
Will the SNP and Justice Secretary MacAskill do something for homeowners in such cases or is this yet another step too far for Mr MacAskill in protecting the public from bullying lenders and a hungry legal profession ?