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Enforcement of suspended orders – Law Society response to the CPRC

29 August 2017

The Society’s Housing Law Committee has responded to a consultation by the Civil Procedure Rule Committee (CPRC) on proposals to clarify the process for enforcing suspended orders following the Court of Appeal’s judgment in Cardiff City Council v Lee (Flowers) [2016].

Housing practitioners will be aware that in this case the court held it was common ground that the claimant landlord ought to have sought permission to apply for the issue of a warrant following the process in CPR 83.2. The rule states that a 'relevant writ or warrant' (which includes a warrant of possession) must not be issued without the permission of the court in any of the circumstances specified in CPR 83.2(3)(a)-(f).

The CPRC consultation sought views from practitioners on whether amendments were required to rules and forms in light of the judgment.

The Society’s response argues that a permission stage in enforcement provides a useful safeguard to often vulnerable defendants and must therefore apply to all suspended orders. However, judicial scrutiny must be careful not to discourage claimants agreeing to suspended orders in the first instance. The response therefore also recommends simplifying the process to issue a warrant and suggests that permission could be decided on the papers, rather than requiring a full hearing.

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