Stay Of Possession Proceedings Arrangements For Expiry
The current stay of possession proceedings is due to expire on 20 September 2020. Guidance, which applies in both England and Wales, published by the Master of the Rolls (as Head of Civil Justice) Working Group on Possession Proceedings, explains what will happen upon the expiry of the stay.
Re-starting Existing Cases
Claims brought before 3 August 2020 will not be listed, or re-listed or referred to a judge until one of the parties files and serves a Reactivation Notice. A Reactivation Notice may be filed and served from 21 September 2020. The deadline to do so is 29 January 2021. A template Reactivation Notice will be made available.
In existing claims where directions have already been ordered, the party filing and serving the Reactivation Notice is required to propose new dates for directions and propose a hearing date, or state that no new directions are required and the original hearing date can be adhered to.
New cases which were immediately stayed will be issued from 21 September 2020. Note, however, that landlords are required to wait until the notice period in its section 8 or 21 notice has expired before they may commence proceedings.
If the Claimant files and serves the Reactivation Notice, it is required to set out, with the Notice, what knowledge it has of the effect of COVID on the Defendant. If issuing a new claim, Claimants are required to set out this information when issuing.
Once a Reactivation Notice is filed and served, the Court will first list the matter for a Review. The parties must be provided with at least 21 days’ notice of such. At the review, the Court will order new directions or list the matter for a substantive hearing.
Throughout the process, the Court may (on its own initiative or on the request of either party) mark the case as being affected by COVID. If a case is ‘COVID marked’, this may have an effect on its prioritisation in terms of being listed for a hearing.