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Here comes the new stay, same as the old stay


There is more detail on the stay of possession proceedings that will replace Practice Direction 51Z on 25 June 2020. But first there is an amendment to PD 51Z.

The amendment came out today, 11 June 2020 and is effective immediately. Here is the 121st Practice Direction Update. The amends are simply clarification that:

  • during the stay, courts are not required to give any notice to parties,
  • nor does time run (in relation to time limits) during the stay,
  • the PD ceases to have effect on 25 June 2020, when the new rule comes into effect.

Meanwhile, the statutory instrument putting the new rule into effect has been laid. It is here and will come into force on 25 June 2020. The SI adds a new section to CPR Part 55, 55.29, which will read:

Stay of possession proceedings, coronavirus

55.29(1) Subject to paragraph (2), all possession proceedings brought under this Part and all enforcement proceedings by way of writ or warrant of possession that are—

(a) stayed immediately prior to this rule coming into force; or

(b) brought after this rule comes into force and on or before 22nd August 2020,

are stayed until 23rd August 2020.

(2) Paragraph (1) does not apply to—

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

(b) proceedings under Section III of this Part; (Interim Possession Orders – NL)

(c) an application for case management directions that are agreed by all the parties; or

(d) a claim for injunctive relief.

(3) Paragraph (1) does not prevent the bringing of a claim notwithstanding that it may be stayed.

(4) For the purposes of the application of any rule to any proceedings that are stayed by paragraph (1)—

(a) time does not run; and

(b) no notice is required to be given by the court. .

So in effect, the same as PD 51Z with the clarifications, but without any basis for a challenge to its vires. (I suppose extending PD 51Z couldn’t be wholly justified as a ‘pilot project’, in view of Arkin.)

We are used to the Civil Procedure Rules setting time limits, a time limited Rule, on the other hand, is a novelty.

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. John (not john)

    I wonder if the follow-on to this will be titled “We won’t get stalled again”?

    I asked this before but no-one answered – if you were able to effectively get rid of an anti-social tenant via an injunction are you still stuck with not being able to re-let the property until you can get a possession order in a few months time, or would you be able to claim abandonment?

    • Giles Peaker

      I don’t think it would arise as I doubt you could get them out by injunction. But tenancy would continue. Abandonment is a non-thing.

      • Michael Barnes

        “Abandonment is a non-thing”

        Is that because although Parliament passed the Housing & Planning Act, 2016 the government have failed to bring into force Part 3?

  2. RD

    Lord Greenhalgh, a minister at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), confirmed possession proceedings will resume from 24 August in response to a written parliamentary question.

    He said: “From 24 August 2020, the courts will begin to process possession cases again. This is an important step towards ending the lockdown and will protect landlords’ important right to regain their property.

    “Work is underway with the judiciary, legal representatives and the advice sector on arrangements, including new rules, to ensure that judges have all the information necessary to make just decisions and that the most vulnerable tenants can get the help they need when possession cases resume.”

    There’s nothing on the MHCLG website as of 11am this morning, mind you.



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