The Litigation Series
Melissa Bennett, Trainee Solicitor at Black Norman Solicitors, considers the new procedure adopted by the County Court to manage the backlog of possession claims that were stayed during the first 6 months of the pandemic and provides guidance as to the steps which Claimants must now take.
The Coronavirus Act 2020
A stay was imposed by the Court on all possession claims that were issued but not heard prior to March 2020. With the lifting of the suspension on possession proceedings, the Court have introduced additional stages prior to re-listing any hearings for possession claims. Those stages are set out below.
A Reactivation Notice needs to be filed by the Claimant to request that the stay placed on the proceedings by the Court be lifted. The Notice can be filed at no cost until 29th January 2021. After this date an application fee must be paid when filing the Notice.
• The Court must be given details as to the effect of the pandemic on the Defendant as well as an updated rental account.
• A copy of the Notice also needs to be served on the Defendant and a Certificate of Service filed with the Court.
Notice of Review
The Court will schedule a thirty minute appointment for the Defendant to contact the Claimant (or their legal representative) to establish if any issues can be agreed or a settlement reached without a hearing. A legal advisor will be available to the Defendant for free during this appointment only.
• A bundle of documents must be prepared by the Claimant and sent to the Court electronically prior to this Review appointment as per the directions given by the Court on the Notice of Review.
• The bundle must be sent in hard copy to the Defendant and electronically if possible.
• Following the appointment, an email must be sent to the Court advising of the outcome of the Review.
• A District Judge will then review the bundle and the email regarding the appointment and decide whether the matter should be listed for hearing.
For more information about the new procedures in place or to learn how we can help, please contact us 0151 931 2777