Law Society backs tenants over claims

TENANTS fighting disrepair cases should be exempted from January's increase in the small claims limit to £3,000, says the Law Society.

The Lord Chancellor's decision to increase the limit in line with Lord Woolf's Access to Justice report has met with lukewarm response from Chancery Lane.

Suzanne Burn, secretary of the civil litigation committee, said Lord Mackay was rushing through the change, putting citizens' access to justice at risk in the process. She said the group most likely to lose out was tenants fighting complex disrepair cases.

She said their cases were too complicated for small claims procedures and tenants should enjoy the same right to legal aid and costs as landlords claiming possession of land, a category which the Lord Chancellor has already exempted from the change.