The project is now in its third year and this would seem a good time to reflect on the work to date. We have assisted over 400 clients and had 2729 client contacts. We have dealt with heritable, small claims and other summary cause actions.
It is pleasing to report the support the Sheriff Courts continue to give to the project and in the main local solicitors have been supportive and have begun referring clients to us.
The service has been advertised on a local and national basis using all forms of media and most recently on Stagecoach buses and on the customer services screens in Dumfries and Kirkcudbright Post Offices.
As a result of the strong foundations laid in the first two years we feel we are well placed to continue to assist our clients in 2012 and beyond.
The majority of our work involves representing clients who are in danger of losing their homes, whether it be rented accommodation or their own mortgaged property.
The number of cases for eviction from rented property are steadily rising, due mainly to the economic situation, and we represent between 7-12 clients a month in the various Courts. In most cases we can prevent the eviction and assist clients making realistic proposals to address their arrears.
This item of legislation is intended to assist borrowers who are having difficulty paying their mortgage, it places new duties on Lenders and every repossession case must call in Court.
Importantly there is provision in the Act for Lay Representatives to appear in court on behalf of clients which prior to this Act was not possible.
Since the Act came into force on the 30th of September 2010 we have represented ten clients at Court who were in danger of having their home repossessed, and we managed to secure them extra time in order to find alternative solutions to repossession.
We would strongly urge anybody who is experiencing difficulty paying their mortgage to contact Dumfries and Galloway Citizens Advice Service as early intervention can prevent a case reaching court!
The In Court Advisers will be available at all three Sheriff Courts on days when the civil court sits and will be available for advice on legal matters including
Telephone 0300 303 4321