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Judgment on Coronavirus Stay in Possession Claims

His Honour Judge Parfitt in the County Court at Central London has held in Arkin (as fixed charge receiver) v Marshall that the 90 day stay in possession claims under Part 55 from 27 March 2020 under Practice Direction 51Z applies to a multi-track case where directions had been given before the stay started and the trial window starts in October 2020. The Judge relied on Secretary of State for Communities v Bovale Ltd [2009] EWCA Civ 171 as authority for the proposition that the case management powers of judges did not give power to vary the rules or practice directions generally and a judge cannot ignore a practice direction. The judge commented that PD 51Z was an exercise of the Court’s case management power to stay cases (CPR 3.1(2)(f)). The effect of the stay is that the time for compliance with directions will be frozen during the stay and start running again after the stay has ended. Julian Gun Cuninghame of Gough Square Chambers represented the successful mortgagors opposing an application made by an LPA receiver.

Copy of the first instance judgment available here: ArkinMarshallStayJudgment

Court of Appeal

Permission to appeal was refused by HHJ Parfitt but granted by the High Court; the case was subsequently transferred to the Court of Appeal. The appeal was heard on  30 April 2020 by Vos C, Underhill and Simler LJJ. The Appellant argued on appeal that PD51Z is ultra vires. The Lord Chancellor was given permission to intervene and take part in the hearing and the Housing Law Practitioners’ Association was given permission to intervene by way of written submissions. Julian Gun Cuninghame of Gough Square Chambers represented the Respondent mortgagors as junior counsel.

Judgment will be handed down at 1pm on Monday 11 May and shall be uploaded to this page shortly thereafter.