By J
25/11/2014

Penal notices and warrants

Lawtel had a short note on a case called Bank of Ireland v Shah and another (QBD, 20.11.14) this week and I was wondering if anyone knew any more about it. According to the note, the Bank had a possession order against Mr Shah arising out of a mortgage. When it came to enforce the order by warrant, it found that Mr D (the “another” in the case name I presume) as in possession. It appears that the warrant was not enforced, but the Bank applied for Mr D to be added as a defendant and for a warrant to be issued again. The warrant was, apparently, endorsed with a penal notice. When the enforcement officers came to execute the warrant, the property was vacant. Metal shutters and an alarm were then installed.

At a later date, Mr D was found to have re-entered the property and the Bank applied for him to be committed to prison for breach of the penal notice. That application was granted. He had broken back in in flagrant breach of the penal notice. That was a serious contempt and an immediate prison sentence (3 months) was imposed.

Now, I have a few questions about this. First, why was the first eviction cancelled and Mr D added as a defendant? Surely the warrant could have been executed against Mr D without needing that step (see R (Wandsworth LBC) v Wandsworth CC [1975] 1 WLR 1314)? Secondly, how is a penal notice attached to a warrant? To a possession order, I understandbut how do you do it to a warrant (I’m happy to be told that this is my ignorance). Thirdly, an immediate sentence of 3 months seems pretty harsh (doesn’t it?).

J is a barrister. He considers housing law to be the single greatest kind of law known to humankind and finds it very odd that so few people share this view.

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