22/10/2020

Which Tier are you in, or out?

Via the High Court Enforcement Officers Association, comes sight of a letter from the Lord Chancellor to the HCEOA requesting that no evictions are carried out:

a) where Tier 2 or Tier 3 restrictions are in place, and
b) during the 11 December 2020 to 11 January 2021 period (with exceptions to be notified)

The letter is below, and apparently a similar letter was sent to the county court bailiffs.

Lord Chancellor's letter

The HCEOA members have apparently agreed to this. It appears that the county court bailiffs have likewise. In practical terms, this would mean no evictions to be carried out in large swathes of England for the currently forseeable future, as it does not look likely that tier 2 or tier 3 restrictions will be lifted quickly.

But I have to say I find myself wondering on what legal basis the Lord Chancellor can do this by writing a letter with a request to bailiffs. And I am struggling to come up with an answer. It would not surprise me at all to see this challenged.

Also who knows where this leaves Wales!?

 

 

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.

13 Comments

  1. RD

    If the usual pattern repeats itself, we will hear about the “Christmas period” exceptions on 10/12. Does anyone else have a Christmas that lasts a whole month, or is it just Government Ministers? I know I’ve never been so lucky.

    Presumably we can anticipate the Master of the Rolls being roped in to make the latest “eviction ban” lawful, though the tenor of his letter back in August suggested to me that he’s not a fan of the Government making such changes at the figurative “five minutes to midnight”.

    Reply
    • Giles Peaker

      It sounds like the LC first wrote to bailiffs back in September, and this one is just to update on the new three tier scheme, so I presume that they think a letter from the LC is enough. I am not so sure…

      Reply
    • Jon

      Not too sure how correct those dates are the Giles has provided. According to an email I got yesterday from The sheriffs ( the guys in bbc1) it’s effective as of now and goes on indefinitely. They are not doing any residential visits for evictions or control of goods.

      Reply
      • Jon

        I just wanted to clarify that the email I received doesn’t state any dates and seems to indicate that it is effective as of now. I could be wrong as I haven’t actually spoken to anyone at the sheriffs office.

        Reply
      • Giles Peaker

        You’ve got the wrong end of the stick. It is tier 2 and tier 3 areas now, and everywhere 11 Dec to 11 Jan.

        Reply
    • Paul Stockton

      My guess is the period has been set to cover Hanukah (11 December) and the Orthodox Christmas (7 January) as well as the Western Christmas and New Year period.

      Reply
  2. Paul Stockton

    I am a bit puzzled by your saying that a similar letter was sent to county court bailiffs. They are HMCTS civil servants so their management can simply tell them what they are, or are not, to do.

    Reply
    • Giles Peaker

      As the post says, I’m not sure how the LC can do this…

      Reply
  3. RIchard Flavin

    I presume Robert Buckland in the last paragraph of his letter meant to say ‘residential evictions’ not ‘residential restrictions’.

    Reply
  4. John

    So, those of us with Possession Orders (which expired eight months ago now) and have spent the last five weeks struggling to get the CC to issue a Warrant of Possession (they are spending at least as couple of days of the week NOT answering the phone, they admitted same) are to be arbitrarily denied our right to possession of our property, meanwhile the tenant continues to live rent free and has done so for 20 months now. Sounds fair!!!

    Reply
  5. RD

    This was the position *last* week. This week we have a national lockdown for four weeks (possibly more, according to a Government Minister this morning.

    Does anyone know if the latest lockdown is *also* going to put a pause on all domestic evictions?

    Reply
    • Giles Peaker

      No, not yet. I’d expect evictions to be paused, at least. Whether there will be a stay of possession claims again, I have no idea.

      Reply

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