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Permission requirements for the issue of writs or warrants following suspended possession orders

September 2018

Permission requirements for the issue of writs or warrants following suspended possession orders

Background

In October 2016 the Court of Appeal judged in the case of Cardiff County Council v Lee (Flowers) that Civil Procedure Rule (CPR) 83.2(3)(e) required the court’s permission to be obtained before a warrant of possession could be issued where the possession order was made on suspended terms (including payment terms only) and the claimant believed those terms had been breached.  

As a result, following the Court of Appeal decision, claimants could no longer continue with the enforcement process they had been used to following because the court’s permission was needed first.  

Consequently, in 2017 the Civil Procedure Rule Committee (CPRC) began a consultation on the current rules in the CPR and generally on the safeguards available to tenants and occupiers.  In addition, the following interim measures were put in place by the CPRC which remain in place for now:

  • a new court form N325A to be used when claimants request the issue of a warrant of possession where the order for possession was suspended on payment terms and the claimant contends that those suspended payment terms have been breached; or
  • when requesting the re-issue of a warrant previously suspended by the court on payment terms, an amended version of the existing court form (N445) for claimants to complete. 

Latest Announcement

It has now been announced that a new Statutory Instrument is anticipated to be published and implemented from 1 October 2018 to amend CPR 83.2(3)(e) from that date.  It is understood that the change will effectively reverse the requirement, in place since Cardiff County Council v Lee (Flowers), to seek permission of the court to enforce a suspended possession order made on payment terms (following a breach). This will mean that following the change, the claimant should be able to proceed with enforcement without the delay and added cost of seeking the court’s permission.

The CPRC Sub Committee is understood to be reviewing court form/s N325 and/or N325A to consider any changes required, because of the planned change to rule CPR 83.2(3)(e).

What next?

The change ultimately requires Ministerial and/or Parliamentary approval and so is subject to potential revision and the Statutory Instrument has not yet been published. Therefore, the exact detail is not yet known. However, claimants are advised to keep a close look out for any further announcements, particularly given the 1 October 2018 implementation date.