On 19 March 2021, Liverpool Law Society (LLS) held its first zoom meeting of the year with local MPs. President Julie O’Hare chaired on behalf of LLS and there was a strong representation from the region with Ian Byrne MP (West Derby), Derek Twigg MP (Halton) and Margaret Greenwood MP (Wirral West) with representatives Gabriel Apolloni attending on behalf of Dan Carden MP (Walton) and Mark Hoskisson attending on behalf of Mick Whitley MP (Birkenhead).
Chair of LLS’s Access to Justice Committee, James Mannouch, reported on the sterling work of advice providers during the pandemic and how, following some initial challenges, providers now seem more able to help their clients with virtual services and even some new positions being filled. Further, the Liverpool City Council project to create a referral network has started to see benefits with the mapping of advice being provided now resulting in referrals which are easing the load on providers. James reiterated that it would be beneficial to see further development of this network across other parts of the region. Margaret Greenwood MP concurred and together, LLS will work with MPs to draft an open letter to the Metro Mayor to enquire around the opportunities for funding in respect of the same. Ian Byrne MP also relayed how a qualified solicitor had been funded at Vauxhall Law Centre to enable more efficient services and suggested the same approach may yield results in other boroughs. The issue of student accommodation was raised in light of increased reports of the lack of reductions to rent and fees despite accommodation not being available.
I gave a brief legislative update beginning with the controversial Police, Crime, Sentencing and Court Bill which at the time of the meeting was at the Committee stage in the House of Commons. Well publicised resistance to the bill has focussed on the perceived fettering of the ability to protest. The passage of the bill has been delayed until later this year. I turned to the National Securities and Investment Bill which is at the committee stage in the House of Lords and still contains a number of provisions which may add administrative burdens to businesses given notification obligations on companies where there is investment by foreign nationals given that the trigger events within the bill are wide enough to capture relatively routine business transactions (such as outsourcings). I also flagged that the Fire Safety Bill had returned to the House of Commons with suggestions from the House of Lords (which included a provision that remediation costs should not be passed on to tenants) rejected. There is some concern that increased costs associated with the remediation of cladding may result in material financial burdens being passed on to tenants who may not have the financial resources to cover the same.
Our next meeting with MPs is scheduled for 15 October 2021 and hopefully our next session will be face to face.
LLS Members are invited to contact the office with any suggestions for agenda items ahead of that event.
Parliamentary Liaison Officer