Sleepers Awake: CPR PD 55.
As heralded in yesterday’s article “‘Stay’ no more: the future for possession claims”, PD 55C is now with us; it is published on the MoJ website. What follows is a summary of its main ingredients.
- It will be in force from 23 August 2020 to 28 March 2021 (paragraph 1.1).
- Subject to the exception noted below, stayed claims will not be automatically revived with effect from 23 August – but only when a party has filed and served a “reactivation notice” (paragraph 2.1).
- Claims which are brought on or after 3 August 2020, or in which a final order for possession has been made, are not subject to the requirement for a reactivation notice (paragraph 2.2).
- A reactivation notice must confirm that the party filing it wishes the claim to proceed and must set out what knowledge that party has of the effect of the pandemic on the defendant and their dependants (paragraph 2.3).
- A reactivation notice served by a landlord whose possession claim is based on rent arrears must be accompanied by an updated rent account for the previous 2 years (paragraph 2.4).
- Where a reactivation notice is served in a stayed claim which was brought before 3 August 2020 in which case management directions had been made before 23 August 2020, the party filing it must also supply: (a) the previous directions, with the new dates for compliance taking account of the stay; (b) draft proposed new directions, or a statement that none are required; (c) a statement as to whether the case is suitable for remote hearing (paragraph 5.1). The other parties can provide their views within 14 days (paragraph 5.2).
- Any trial date set prior to 27 March 2020 will be vacated and the case stayed unless a party files and serves a reactivation notice, provides an updated rent account (where applicable) and (again where applicable) supplies its proposed directions etc. not less than 42 days prior to the scheduled trial date (paragraph 2.5).
- When the court responds to a reactivation notice, it must give the parties at least 21 days’ notice of any listed or resisted hearing (paragraph 3.1).
- In any claims (new or stayed) brought on or after 3 August 2020, the claimant must bring to the hearing two copies of a notice: (i) confirming that, if it is a social landlord, it has complied with the Pre-Action Protocol; (ii) setting out its knowledge of the effect of the pandemic on the defendant and their dependants. The notice must be served not less than 14 days before the hearing (paragraph 6.1).
- In any accelerated possession claims (new or stayed) brought on or after 3 August 2020, the landlord must file with the claim form a notice setting out its knowledge of the effect of the pandemic on the defendant and their dependants (paragraph 6.2).
- In relation to all possession claims (whether or not stayed claims), the standard 8 week period between issue and hearing does not apply, and the court may fix the hearing date either when it issues the claim form or subsequently (paragraph 4.1).
- If in a stayed claim brought before 3 August 2020:
- A reactivation notice is not served; or
- (Where applicable) no party supplies the required information about directions,by 4pm on 29 January 2021, the claim will be automatically stayed and an application will have to be made to lift the stay, although this will not be a case of relief from sanctions (paragraphs 2.6, 2.7, 5.3 & 5.4).
21 July 2020
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