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Update to Practice Direction 51Z


Practice Direction 51Z – the stay of all Part 55 possession proceedings and enforcement – has been amended with effect from 20 April  2020.

A new 2A now excludes certain kinds of matters from the automatic stay for 90 days from 26 March 2020:

(a) a claim against trespassers to which rule 55.6 applies;

(b) an application for an interim possession order under Section III of Part 55, including the making of such an order, the hearing required by rule 55.25(4), and any application made under rule 55.28(1); or

(c) an application for case management directions which are agreed by all the parties.

CPR 55.6 is claims against ‘person unknown’ trespassers. IPOs are also claims against trespassers.

On the application for case management directions, as I see it, this exemption is only for new applications for directions where the parties have agreed the directions sought. It would not apply to existing case management directions, whether agreed or not, which remain stayed. It is a sensible provision in enabling parties, where they agree, to sort out case management for when the stay is lifted.

There is also a clarification added to 3) of the PD that Part 55 claims can still be issued.


Giles Peaker is a solicitor and partner in the Housing and Public Law team at Anthony Gold Solicitors in South London. You can find him on Linkedin and on Twitter. Known as NL round these parts.

1 Comment

  1. StateException

    What has been happening so far in my experience with squats is that some owners have simply resorted to illegal violent evictions, with police witnessing the illegality but refusing to get involved and muttering about the courts taking too long. Now the law has been changed with respect to trespass and IPO hearings, there will no doubt be a lot of confusion on the street level and I can imagine owners not serving papers and simply trying to blag their way through a possibly virtual court experience. This is all quite worrying.


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