A couple of items on possession claims and evictions. And another occasion to overuse exclamation marks.
According to the Minutes of the CPR Committee meeting of 8 October 2021, Practice Direction 55C will be sort of coming to an end on 30 November 2021, but not quite.
The Chair introduced the item which was last before the CPRC on 9 July 2021, at which point it was agreed that CPR PD 55C would be extended until 30 November 2021.
The CPRC noted the existing requirements under CPR PD 55C, paras 6.1 and 6.2, including about giving notice of the effect of the pandemic on the defendant and their dependants.
The following amendments were proposed to provide transitional arrangements for claims commenced before 1 December 2021:
the insertion of the wording ‘save as provided by paragraphs 1.8 and 1.9’ in para 1.1
the addition of the following paragraphs:
1.8 This practice direction continues to have effect after 30 November 2021 in relation to claims issued before 1 December 2021.
1.9 Paragraphs 6.1 and 6.2 of this practice direction continue to have effect until 30 June 2022 in relation to any claim issued on or after 3 August 2020, including any claim issued after 30 November 2021.
These amendments will be incorporated into an urgent, out-of-cycle, practice direction update to come into force before 30 November 2021.
My understanding is therefore that:
For claims issued before 1 December 2021, PD 55C will continue to apply in full.
For claims issued on or after 1 December 2021, PD 55C paras 6.1 and 6.2 will continue to apply, apparently for any claim issued up to 30 June 2022.
(Paras 6.1 and 6.2 are the ones requiring notices to be filed and served by the landlord for an issued claim on the known effect of coronavirus on the defendant and their household.)
I’m sure we are all now clear on what this means…
Meanwhile, for Christmas yet to come, there is an apparently official rumour that bailiff evictions will be suspended between 13 December 2021 and 10 January 2022. According to this source:
HM Courts and Tribunal has confirmed that this will follow the pattern of previous years.
In line with formal protocol the Lord Chancellor will inform the High Court Enforcement Officers’ Association – this association, in turn, will instruct its bailiff members not to enforce evictions during the truce period.
The formal protocol? The formal protocol?! This is nonsense and as per previous discussions, such a ‘Dear Bailiffs’ letter is very likely unlawful. I’ve no problem at all with a suspension of evictions during this period, but please let us not pretend this is effective at the whim of the Lord Chancellor by scribbling a note to bailiff bodies.