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Remote hearings protocol –Covid-19- County Courts


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The current pandemic necessitates the use of remote hearings wherever possible. This Protocol applies to hearings of all kinds, including those in which there are litigants in
person, and those made in the applications court.


This Protocol seeks to provide basic guidance as to the conduct of remote hearings. Whilst court buildings, including the Rolls Building, currently remain open, the objective is to
undertake as many hearings as possible remotely so as to minimise the risk of transmission of Covid-19.

 

Remote hearings.Protocol 19_03_20 2.pdf

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • Manual claims
  •  
  • County Court Money Claims Centre (CCMCC) (Salford etc etc) publishes customer FAQs – the key points to note are that the CCMCC:
    • will continue to send documents by post as it is unable to send documents electronically
    • is unable to accept claims for issue by email, because of restrictions in the CPR
    • is unable to provide blanket extensions to deadlines and formal applications are required on an individual basis (fee will be waived) but one application can be made to cover multiple cases
    • is still processing enforcement work but if practitioners do not require the processing of enforcement work already sent, notification should be sent to the CCMCC

 

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I wonder if possession hearings will be done remotely ?

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As far as Im aware everything with regards to evictions and repossessions are on hold.

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I hope so -  I thought it was just that evictions weren't allowed. 

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I heard something about introducing legislation, but I believe they are on hold for at least the next 3 months.

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117th Practice Direction Update to the Civil Procedure Rules - Coronavirus Pandemic related

New Practice Direction 51Z to Stay Possession Proceedings

The Master of the Rolls and the Lord Chancellor have signed Practice Direction 51Z (PD) in relation to possession proceedings during the Coronavirus pandemic. It follows the Coronavirus Act 2020 emergency legislation and complements the provisions therein to prevent imminent evictions and delay possession proceedings.

The PD is effective immediately ie from today, 27th March 2020
The main changes effected by this PD are:

  • All proceedings for  possession brought under CPR Part 55 and all proceedings seeking to enforce an order for possession by a warrant or writ of possession are stayed for a period of 90 days from today, 27th March 2020.
  • Claims for injunctive relief are not subject to the stay set out in paragraph 2 of the PD.
  • The PD ceases to have effect on 30 October 2020.

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  • 1 month later...

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  • 6 months later...

Small claims taking almost a year to come to trial 

 

Small claims are taking almost three months longer to come to trial than a year ago as the pandemic puts pressure on the county courts, official figures have revealed. 

Quarterly statistics released by the Ministry of Justice show that from July to September it took an average of 48.8 weeks between a small claim being issued and the claim going to trial. This was 10.7 weeks longer than in the same period in 2019.

Multi/fast track claims took on average 62 weeks to reach a trial – 2.6 weeks longer than in July to September 2019.

The figures give a sense of the impact of the pandemic on a civil justice jurisdiction already facing increasing delays. While backlogs in the criminal courts have drawn most of the attention, the civil justice system, with outdated IT and dozens of permanent court closures since 2010, has its own problems.

 

Trials in the county court are down across the board from July to September this year

 

In total, 11,000 trials were held from July to September 2020, down 37% from the same period in 2019. Of the claims that went to trial, 8,100 (74%) were small claims (down 35%) and 2,800 (26%) were fast and multi-track trials (down 42%).

The MoJ says Covid-related delays are likely to be observed sooner in the small claims process because these claims are more likely to have reached a hearing. To deal with the backlog, the courts have encouraged re-referring existing cases for mediation and early neutral evaluation, where a judge will try and engineer agreement without any finding on fact. The delay figures will look worse, officials say, because the outcomes of these cases are not used within timeliness calculations. This year’s drop in cases - county court claims were down 47% on the same period in 2019 – is also expected to filter through into less pressure on court services in the coming months.

The MoJ said: ‘To help the system cope with demand, additional venues – referred to as Nightingale courts – have been provided to add temporary capacity to hear cases and help the court and tribunal system to run as effectively and safely as possible during the coronavirus outbreak.

‘We are working with representative bodies to understand the expected demand and will continue to monitor future trends in both volumes and timeliness.’

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