The End of the Stay on Possession Proceedings

The Government resumed possession claims on the 21st September 2020 which permits landlords to resume previously stayed possession claims and issue new claims. The overall arrangements for possession proceedings in England & Wales by The Master of the Rolls (as Head of Civil Justice) Working Group on Possession Proceedings was issued on the 17th September 2020.

Practice Direction 55C- Coronavirus: Temporary Provision in relation to Possession Proceedings which came into force on the 23rd August 2020 supplements CPR 55 and sets out the modifications to Part 55 during the period beginning the 20th September 2020 and ending on 28th March 2021.

Overall Arrangements for Possession Proceedings in England & Wales

Restarting existing claims that were issued before 3rd August 2020

The following claims will not be listed, relisted or referred to a Judge until the Claimant undertakes the following:

  • The Claimant must serve a Reactivation Notice confirming that they want the case to proceed and either propose new dates for directions and a new hearing date or advise the Court that no new directions are required.

  • The notice includes provision for the person serving the notice to give details of their knowledge as to the effect of the Coronavirus Pandemic on the Defendant and their dependants.

  • A rent schedule for the last two years must be enclosed if rent arrears are claimed.

  • The Claimant must send a copy of the Reactivation Notice to the Defendant as well as the Court.

  • The deadline for filing a Reactivation Notice is: 29th January 2021

  • If the claim was a stayed claim that was issued after the 3rd August 2020/ or a final possession order has been made a Reactivation Notice does not need to filed at Court.

Notice Periods for New Claims

A landlord serving a Notice must ensure that the Notice specifies the correct notice period and is on the prescribed form. Landlords who are considering serving notices but are unsure of the correct notice periods are advised to get in touch for further advice and assistance.

New Possession claims

Any new cases that are issued will be subject to a Review Date and then a Substantive Hearing.

Review Date

The Court will give the parties 21 days’ notice of the review date. A Review date is not a hearing; however, the Claimant will be required to prepare an electronic bundle for the Court and a paper bundle for the Defendant 14 days before the review date.

The purpose of the Review Date is so that:

  1. The Defendant will have a fixed date upon which they might obtain duty scheme advice;

  2. The parties will have the opportunity to discuss settlement. The Claimant is required to be available during the Review Date to discuss the case by telephone with the Defendant or the duty adviser; and

  3. To enable a Judge to consider the papers and either list the matter for a Substantive Hearing Date, dismiss the claim (with liberty to apply for an oral hearing) or make other directions.

At the end of the review date, the court will conduct a 5-minute review (without attendance by the parties) and make further directions or approve any consent orders agreed

It is also upon the Review Date that there is the possibility of the parties, subject to their agreement, being referred to the new mediation pilot. 

Mediation Pilot

Cases will be referred to the mediation pilot where:

(a) a defendant takes advice on the Review Date ; (b) the duty scheme adviser forms the professional opinion that the case has a reasonable chance of being compromised but the case is too challenging to be resolved by negotiation on the Review Date itself; and (c) the claimant and the defendant agree to participate in mediation (negotiation facilitated by an independent professional) within the next 7 days after the Review Date; the duty scheme adviser may on the Review Date refer cases (up to a set limit from each Review Date) to a new proposed mediation pilot jointly funded by the Ministry of Housing and the Ministry of Justice.

*Priority will be given to cases that are Covid-19 Case marked or otherwise appear to be a direct consequence of the pandemic.

The Substantive Hearing Date

A substantive hearing will be listed at least 28 days after the review date. A substantive hearing will be listed for 15 minutes, and additional time will be allowed either side of the hearing for Covid-19 safety procedures. The Substantive Hearing Date will otherwise function in the same way as the first hearing date which is normally listed in possession claims.

If you require advice and assistance to serve a Notice and commence possession proceedings please contact me on my direct line to obtain a quote.

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