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From The Socialist newspaper, 8 January 2014

Class injustice at Dickensian court

Between Christmas and New Year, thousands of tenants in rent arrears were dragged into courts across the country facing possession orders. Like something out of a Dickensian novel, I witnessed first hand one such case.

It was due to be heard at 10.30am but was not called until 90 minutes later. We were ushered into a room more like a headmaster's study than a court.

Before we sat down the 'Beak' mumbled something unintelligible. There were no introductions, no explanation of process, just this Judge dispensing summary injustice!

A statement of defence was left unread and unpresented, just dismissed as unsigned. The duty solicitor said barely two words to explain the reasons for the arrears and the upcoming Benefit Tribunal.

In just two minutes a suspended possession order was granted with the weekly rent plus 10 towards the arrears to be paid from the following Monday.

When the tenant said they didn't have the money and would have to use a credit card, the judge snorted: "I don't care where you get the money."

The monthly rent and arrears payment was a few pounds short of the person's income. This showed the brutal class realities of life in benefit-slashed Tory Britain operated by one callous and ignorant Judge.

Apparently you have to seek permission to appeal against a magistrate's decision, and within two weeks.

With limited resources and legal aid cuts, very few will be able to take this on. It's class injustice.

Brian Debus, Hackney

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In The Socialist 8 January 2014:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Axe austerity in 2014

Another year of mass struggles beckons

Unite all workers to end bosses' race to the bottom

Truth revealed about Thatcher's war against the miners

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Them & Us


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Stop cruel care cuts

Birmingham Labour 'consults' over 87 million cuts


International socialist news and analysis

South Africa: Numsa's bold and historic decision to cut ties with the ANC

Why capitalism mourned Mandela

US: Fight for $15 minimum wage heats up in Seattle


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Hampshire Unison success shows potential for fightback

UPS workers' victory

Every job matters on London Underground

Two PCS strikes on both sides of New Year


Socialist Party comments and reviews

Is UK car building back in Top Gear?

Class injustice at Dickensian court

Time for a new workers' party

Energy Bills: Labour's 'supermarket special offer'


 

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