Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Civil court & tribunal solicitor vacancy at Govan Law Centre

GOVAN LAW CENTRE seeks a qualified solicitor to join our legal team in Glasgow.  Competitive salary. We are seeking a qualified solicitor with good civil court and, preferably, tribunal experience.  Experience in the legal fields of housing, homelessness, employment, equalities and public law would be an advantage.

The successful candidate will work from our main office in Orkney Street in Govan.  Regular court appearances will be required.  This is a full time post, however, job sharing will be considered.

This position is in our general court and legal team and will include provision of legal advice and representation for clients in terms of mainly housing, homelessness, employment, debt, public law, community care and disability rights and welfare rights. It will also involve providing legal representation at court and tribunals.

There will be an opportunity to become involved in some of our public interest litigation, test case work, law reform and social policy work.
The successful candidate MUST:
1.     Hold a degree in Scots Law
2.     A diploma in legal practice
3.     An unrestricted Law Society of Scotland practising certificate
4.     Have good research and analytical skills
5.     Ability to work well under supervision
It would be desirable if the candidate had:
1.     Knowledge and experience of issues relating to social welfare law
2.     Experience in appearing in court or tribunal settings
3.     Experience in dealing with vulnerable clients
4.     Experience in handling a large and varied workload
5.     Experience in working within a team setting
Please send a CV and covering letter explaining why you are interested in this post to: Mike Dailly, Principal Solicitor and Solicitor Advocate, Govan Law Centre, 18-20 Orkney Street, Glasgow, G51 2BX or m@ govanlc.comCLOSING DATE: Friday 6th October 2017 at 4pm.

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Monday, 28 August 2017

Second trainee solicitor opportunity at Govan Law Centre in 2017

Due to the expansion of our services, this is an exciting opportunity to join the largest community led law centre in Scotland as a trainee solicitor.

The position would be based in our offices in Govan and the successful candidate would work with a dedicated team of solicitors and caseworkers assisting the most vulnerable client groups to assert their legal rights. 

The work would include – preventing evictions in the social rented sector and the PRS sector, homelessness improving living conditions, illegal evictions, mortgage arrears, employment, debt, discrimination and court and tribunal appearances.

Application details are here. Closing date, 4pm on Friday 15 September 2017. 

Please note this new post is addition to our Justice Fellowship trainee solicitor post (the details of which are here: https://jff.thelegaleducationfoundation.org/host/govan-law-centre-2017/)
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Wednesday, 16 August 2017

GLC manages 54% of housing debt in Glasgow in 2016/17 under GCC Financial Inclusion Partnership

Figures for Glasgow's Financial Inclusion Partnership confirm that Partnership advice agencies managed almost £11m of housing debt for clients across the City in 2016/17.

Of that total, Govan Law Centre (GLC) managed 54% of all housing debt in the City for its clients (homeowners and tenants in both the social and private rented sectors) - £5,920,241.93 of an overall City-wide figure of £10,949,317 in 2016/17.

This represents an 8% increase on GLC's managed housing debt figure for last year (2015/16); with housing debt across Glasgow (under Financial Inclusion Partnership agencies) having increased by almost 13.5%.
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Tuesday, 15 August 2017

2017 Annual Report for Govan Law Centre published

GLC has published its 2017 Annual Report, which is available here as a PDF.  We believe everyone, not just those who can afford it, must have access to high quality, professional legal services. In fact, in our view vulnerable people now need legal services more. This is why we take our services out into the community with more home visits, rights hubs, community surgeries and why we work in partnerships with other organisations.

We also know the law plays a crucial part in tackling poverty and discrimination and we are determined to play our part in improving the lives of the poorest and most vulnerable people. We hope you agree that Govan Law Centre has been doing a good job: preventing homelessness, increasing incomes, improving housing conditions, helping clients to repay debts and righting injustices.
However we are never complacent, we know the face of poverty continues to change. We know we must continue to learn and develop our services to meet the changing needs of vulnerable people: our ageing population, increasing numbers of those in low paid work, increasing numbers of private tenants, people who are coming to live here in a new country, those who feel vulnerable because of our changing relationship with the world, or the persistence of poverty and discrimination in our communities.

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Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Housing association tenant wins 'fair rent' appeal before Inner House of the Court of Session: Wright v. Elderpark Housing Association

GLC has been successful in a statutory appeal before the Inner House of the Court of Session in the case of Wright v. Elderpark Housing Association [2017] CSIH 54.

On 4 August 2017, the Lords, having resumed consideration of the appeal against the decision of the Private Rented Housing Committee dated 10 September 2016, answer each of the first, second and third questions of law listed in the appeal for the opinion of the court in the affirmative; accordingly allow the appeal; quash the Committee’s decision of 10 September 2016; remit the matter, with the opinion of even date, to a differently constituted Committee for re-hearing and determination with the direction the Committee apply the approach discussed within Lord Drummond Young’s opinion of even date when determining a fair rent in terms of section 48 of the Rent (Scotland) Act 1984.

Giving the judgment of the court, Lord Drummond Young said: "[19] For these reasons I am of opinion that the level of rents charged for comparable rented properties in the private sector will generally be a relevant factor in setting the fair rent of housing association property.  Nevertheless, in such a case, for the reasons given by Lord Reid in Skilling v Arcari’s Exrs, supra, in the passage quoted at paragraph [11] above, it will frequently be appropriate for the rent officer or committee to begin with the rents that have been registered for comparable properties falling under Part VI of the Act (housing association properties), and to use the private rented market as a cross-check, making allowance for any scarcity in accordance with subsection (2) of section 48".

"Such a cross‑check may be appropriate to ensure that there is some correlation between the level of rents and general inflation.  Moreover, in their determination of fair rent, a rent officer or committee may give differing weights to evidence of registered rents of housing association properties and evidence of rents charged in the private sector, on the basis that the former are a more exact analogy than the latter.  Ultimately, the decision as to what is a fair rent is a matter of judgment for the Committee, and it may properly attach greater or lesser weight to comparables according to how closely in point they are. The existence of a recently fixed rent for a comparable housing association property may well be significant".

"[24] [...] In the present case, the fundamental flaw in the Committee’s reasoning was to disregard registered rents of comparable properties without good reason and to rely instead on a range of rents derived from an internet search without a proper assessment of whether the properties involved were truly comparable. 

[25]  I accordingly propose that we should quash the Committee’s decision of 10 September 2016 and remit the case back to a differently constituted Committee in order that a fair rent may be determined in accordance with section 48 of the 1984 Act, applying the approach discussed above".

The appellant was represented by GLC's Mike Dailly, Solicitor Advocate.
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