Strategic Forums on Housing

With the support of Trust for London, Law for Life is running four strategic forums aimed at a) increasing knowledge of community groups, peer advocates, advisors and other non-legal professionals over existing remedies to address housing-related issues they encounter; b) explore opportunities for cooperation and strategic partnership among legal professionals and community groups. The Forums will be a space for both learning and strategizing about ways to address key bottlenecks in the housing law system. 

The Forums will be open to a range of groups including community groups, activists, advisors and lawyers, up to a maximum of 25 people. Priority will be given to community groups, particularly those who have participated in our legal education courses held in 2019 and 2020. Due to the Covid-19 related restrictions in place, the forums will take place online and be two hours long, between 7-9pm.

The forums will be as follows:

1. Effectively engaging with Councillors and MPs (online, 7-9pm, 10th September)

Guest speakers: Helen Hayes (TBC), Member of Parliament for Dulwich & West Norwood and Sue Lukes, Councillor, Islington Council

Engaging with Councillors and MPs to address issues around housing and homelessness can sometimes be quicker, more effective and cheaper than going to court. It also doesn’t require the help of legal professionals. The workshop aims at understanding how to best leverage the role of Councillors and MPs, which channels and mechanisms exist at Council level, and the pros and cons of using them to address different housing-related problems. 

Register here for the forum on working effectively with councillors and MPs

2 & 3. Using Judicial Reviews to counter unlawful practices by Local Authorities:

We will run two sessions on how to use judicial reviews. If you have little or no knowledge over JRs, we strongly recommend you to attend both sessions as the second builds upon the knowledge from the first.

Part 1 – What you need to know about using Judicial Reviews in the context of housing (16th September 2020, 7 -9 PM, on Zoom)

Some housing-related problems involving local authorities can only be addressed through Judicial Reviews. However, this is a highly technical procedure. The first session – primarily meant for community groups, advisers, support workers – will provide a non-technical overview on JRs in the context of housing, including what is a JR, what types of housing problems can be addressed through a JR and some key limitations around the use of JR, and what the process entails.  It will also look at the role of community groups in building up JRs – e.g. in filing complaints, gathering evidence etc. and at what community groups need to know to best engage with solicitors.

Part 2- Strategizing on how to use Judicial Reviews to address housing problems (23rd September, 7 to 9 PM)

The second session will bring together and build connections between community groups, advisers and legal professionals with the aim of exploring tactics on how to make Judicial Reviews work in community contexts. Prior to the session participants will be asked to identify cases that might be suitable for Judicial Reviews and that they can raise throughout the session. 

The session will include a few short presentations about existing initiatives on Judicial Reviews and explore how these mechanisms could be used in practice. 

Guest speakers:

Polly Glynn from Deighton Pierce Glynn law firm

Matt Ahluwalia from the Public Law Project

Register here for the forums on Judicial reviews – you can attend either or both but we recommend attending both.

4. Campaigning for better housing (date tbc)

This Forum will focus on key aspects of organizing and campaigning, and tools and strategies that help build collective power. The Forum aims to bring together campaigners, community groups and advocates interested in campaigning and organising for better housing. The workshop will facilitate sharing of experiences and learnings of groups with ongoing struggles for decent housing. In particular, it will highlight experiences of 2-3 groups with powerful experiences in campaigning for housing, while allowing for questions and further contributions from other participants.

Registration:

Attendance is free and we will prioritise people from community and grassroots groups, particularly those who have attended our past courses or trainings on housing law.

You can attend all of the forums or just one.

We will release the registration link for the forum on campaigning as soon as we have fixed the date

For any questions please contact: francesca.feruglio@lawforlife.org.uk

Published: 19 August 2020

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