Latest changes to the Civil Procedure Rules
15 December 2021
Practice Direction (PD) 55C, which was due to expire 30 November 2021, was originally introduced so as to temporarily amend provisions in relation to possession proceedings under the Civil Procedure Rules (CPRs).
The latest update to the CPR affects cases from 1 December 2021 and provides that:
- all of PD55C will remain in force for all claims issued on or before 30 November 2021
- for claims issued on or after 1 December 2021 only the notice setting out what knowledge the landlord has as to the effect the pandemic has had on the tenant and/or their household is required (and will continue to be required until 30 June 2022)
The amendment to the CPR came into force on 1 December 2021 and splits possession cases into two categories, those issued before 1 December 2021 and those issued after.
Cases issued up to and including 30 November 2021
All of PD55C continues to apply. This includes, amongst other things:
- prohibitions on listing, relisting, hearings or referrals in stayed possession claims and provided that no stayed claim could be relisted without a Reactivation Notice.
- the contents of a Reactivation Notice.
- requirements to list cases for a hearing after the filing of a Reactivation Notice
- a stay on all existing claims if a Reactivation Notice had not been filed by 30 April 2021, coupled with a right to apply to lift the stay on a claim if a Reactivation Notice had not been filed before 30 April 2021. (This right to apply was expressly stated as not to amount to an application for relief from any sanction for failure to apply by 30 April 2021.)
Cases issued after 1 December 2021
Only paragraphs 6.1 and 6.2 of PD55C will apply to all claims commenced on or after 1 December 2021 (until 30 June 2022).
Paragraphs 6.1 and 6.2 of PD55C are rules that require notices to be filed and served by the landlord setting out the known effect(s), if any, of coronavirus on a defendant and/or their household.
For possession claims issued after 1 December, the process is very nearly back to pre-pandemic practice. The only exception being the notice setting out how the pandemic has affected the defendant and/or their household. Those notices fortunately were not particularly onerous and with the Omicron variant gathering pace, these requirements may be around for some time.
How can Birketts help?
Birketts have a specialist Housing Management Team to assist our clients to ensure our clients stay ahead. Our expert lawyers can advise on all aspects of housing and asset management from complex ASB claims, Equality Act defences, building safety issues, defending disrepair claims and EPA prosecutions, subletting and housing fraud cases, service charge disputes, s.20 consultation issues, applications to vary defective leases, to name but a few of the issues we can assist with. Our experts have decades of experience acting for Registered Providers and local authorities and offer a truly ‘one-stop shop’ for the issues facing the sector.
If you have any queries regarding the content of this article or wish to discuss any issue regarding the management of your tenants or stock, please contact Clive Adams, Jonathan Hulley or any member of the Social Housing Team, to see how Birketts can help you.
The content of this article is for general information only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. If you require any further information in relation to this article please contact the author in the first instance. Law covered as at December 2021.