The ‘overall Arrangements for Possession Proceedings in England and Wales’: Guidance

What better way to spend the 11th hour of your working day, than to read the 11th hour guidance on the 11th hour arrangements to the 11th hour stay on Possession Claims?

After months of no possession claims, the general stay is being lifted (for real this time), but not without one more lengthy publication from the Master of the Rolls’ Working Group on Possession Claims.

The working group has published a 13-page note on how possession claims will be dealt with over the next year, including rules on several topics including re-starting cases, issuing new cases, Court Arrangements, Covid-19 Case-Marking, listing and priorities, hearings and a few others!

A copy of the note can be found here:

but we realise that you’re all busy people with better things to do! On that note…we’ve shared a handy summary of some of the most important features of the arrangements. Why? Because lawyers have zero chill when it comes to new procedure. And also because that’s our job – making the law a little bit easier for you!

You can find our guidance below, but if you can’t find the information you’re looking for, get in touch.

Here’s what you need to know:

o The Overall Arrangements have been brought in to address the demand for courts to deal with claims accrued from the general stay on possession claims and the possible increase in demand caused by economic consequences as a result of Covid-19.

o The Overall Arrangements aim to reduce the backlog, take account of the effect of Covid-19 and maintain confidence in the fairness of outcomes.

o The Overall Arrangements place a strong emphasis on reaching early settlement.

o Courts will not deal with reactivation notices before the 21st September 2020.

o Further and separate guidance is expected for both social and private landlords, encouraging and guiding the parties on reaching settlement.

o Hearings will be broken down into five-minute review hearings at the end of the day, and 15- minute substantive hearings to decide Claims where appropriate to do so.

o In-person substantive hearings will be offered to parties with three exceptions. The exception most likely to apply is that the parties have agreed (subject to the Court’s approval) that the hearing should be by telephone or video.

o The Courts have designated 160 staff to serve as liaison for these guidelines.

o 200 Additional Judges have been assembled to assist as required.

o Courts will be marking cases which are (or are claimed to be) the direct consequence of Covid-19.

o Listing dates will not be provided until 21 September 2020. At least 21 days is required between the processing of a reactivation notice and a hearing.

o Certain types of claim (mainly those involving the risk or threat of harm, convictions, serious rent arrears or other types of serious breach of tenancy) will receive priority listing.

o Claimants will be required to file bundles before review hearings. If the Claimant’s documents are not in order for review hearings, the claim may receive further directions before a substantive, or even be dismissed.

Contact us, we are here to help

If you would like to discuss any of the above, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our team, via the below details: