Over the last 30 years, Hugh James has established itself as one of the leading social housing law firms. Our specialist social housing team has extensive experience and expertise and we are committed to making a contribution to housing regeneration and creating neighbourhoods where people want to live as part of long-lasting communities.

By working in partnership with you our social housing team can help you to make real differences in local communities. We draw on experience and insight gained from advising providers of social housing services for many years.

Our client base includes over 40 housing associations and local authorities. We are therefore able to offer unparalleled strength and depth in our expertise and are able to provide a full legal service to all our social housing clients. Having watched the sector evolve, we understand the issues housing associations face, the market forces affecting them, challenges involved in regulation and their aspirations for the future. This ensures our advice takes into account the full picture, aligning with strategies for commercial and social value.

As a trusted business adviser, we facilitate conversations within the sector to assist collaborative working, engage thought leaders and develop innovative solutions.

Key contact

Richard is head of our social housing team, coordinating the work of over 50 lawyers, paralegals and support staff. An integral part of this role is to lead on the firms work with communities to ensure that social value remains key priority in all of our activities.

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Sector experts

Our team of social housing lawyers shares the sector’s passion for achieving social objectives and frequently work in partnership with clients on projects outside the legal field which have a direct impact on the communities they have helped to build. Some of our lawyers also act as board members for local housing associations which gives them a unique insight into the governance landscape that influences the decisions our clients must make. This level of involvement impacts the advice they give, as they are keen to achieve the most successful outcome for all involved – commercially and socially.

Our social housing team spans a wide range of practice areas but they do not work in silos. Our team is engaged in constant dialogue to ensure their advice is tailored to the needs of each particular client and their ongoing activities in all areas, similar to an in-house team.

The team consider every instruction from the client’s perspective to ensure seamless advice is provided during times of organisational change, risk or growth.

Affordable Housing Review

Hugh James hosted the Affordable Housing Review: Panel Discussion on 23rd September 2019. The event brought the Welsh social housing sector together to discuss the review of affordable housing supply and how the recommendations will work in practice.

About Us

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Our video looks at the key dates within the Independent Review of Affordable Housing Policy. We hear from key panelists at the event as well as capturing the thoughts of both Housing Associations and Local Authorities on the review.


We understand that you need to invest in training. It’s an essential part of nurturing your team’s skills, increasing innovation, reducing risk, boosting performance, as well as giving you competitive advantage. We also find there is no better way of really understanding a client’s culture.

That’s why we offer bespoke training tailored to you and your organisation’s needs. Our expertise across a range of legal disciplines means we can offer targeted training on specific legal topics or give you a more general overview; it’s entirely suited to your needs.

We also host regular training events in the form of conferences and seminars, covering a variety of engaging topics facilitated by leaders in the field. Our training and updates can be focused on a particular issue a team struggles with, and small scale roundtable where thorny issues can be chatted through with an open and informal approach or more general “how to” guides depending on the needs of our clients.

We also provide online webinar training in addition to our face to face delivery at clients’ premises or hosted at our training suite in central Cardiff. All our training is delivered by qualified lawyers who advise the housing sector on a regular basis, with an approachable style that allows “off script” topics to be explored properly when they are relevant to the group. A lawyer facilitator means that learning can confidently be applied to the specific circumstances of a client’s own case studies, taking into account the most recent legal developments and options for strategic solutions properly explored.  Many of our clients have also found it useful for us to provide assistance in a project management capacity to help teams prioritise matters, identify which matters can be resolved internally and where our external help might be used most effectively.

Examples of training we have delivered to the housing sector:
  • Getting Partnership Working Right
  • Procurement and Understanding the Contract Lifecycle
  • Contractor Insolvency
  • JCT and Common Amendments
  • Innovative approaches to housing: modular and modern methods of construction
  • The Equality Act for Housing Managers
  • Data Protection and Social Media
  • Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 – What will be the Impact and When?
  • Disrepair
  • Infrastructure and Agreements planning
  • Enforcement of breaches of covenant
  • Shared Ownership
  • How to solve a problem like the Appraisal
  • Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures
  • Antisocial Social Media
  • Recruitment procedures
  • Bullying and Harrassment
  • The Role of the Investigating Officer
  • Dealing with bereavement as a Housing Management Professional


If you would like to discover more about our training options and how we can work together, please get in touch.


Where do I start? I think of Bethan and her team as an extension of our office such is the relationship I enjoy with the team. They go to great lengths to understand us as clients and when in need of legal knowledge and leadership which is invariably at short notice, they rise to the challenge and deliver with a smile.

Gill Barnett | Tai Calon Community Housing


Emma is a key influencer in the social housing sector with a genuine understanding of what we are trying to achieve. She is someone I am keen to involve in projects due to her combination of creative input as well as knowledge of the legal landscape.

Jonathan Huish | Chair at Trivallis


When appointing a team of consultants to work on our new development projects Caroline is our first call.

Rhianydd Jenkins | Coastal Housing


Richard is a pleasure to work with and we have a good working relationship. He understands our requirements and helps us meet our often challenging timescales.

Paul Wyatt| Melin Homes

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