Lord Irvine cheers lawyers with housing concession

THE LORD Chancellor, Lord Irvine, has delighted housing lawyers by yielding to their campaign to have claims of harassment and unlawful eviction removed from the small claims court.

The change is included in draft civil procedure rules which were published by the Lord Chancellor's Department last week.

The concession is a second major victory for the sector, which has already persuaded the government to limit the value of housing disrepair cases in the small claims court to just £1,000. At the moment, such claims up to a value of £3,000 are included in the court, and Lord Irvine had intended to increase the limit to £5,000 along with most other small claims.

Hodge Jones & Allen housing partner Wendy Backhouse said harassment and unlawful eviction claims were a “complex and difficult” area of law which usually involved a power imbalance between landlord and tenant and often required expert evidence.