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What Housing and Community Care Lawyers Can Do During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Speaker: Nicholas Nicol
Chambers: One Pump Court

Nicholas Nicol
One Pump Court

What is the Likely Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the UK Private Rented Sector?).
There is a daily HMCTS operational summary Legal aid guidance is also available: Coronavirus (COVID-19): Legal Aid Agency contingency response.

One Pump Court’s own Stephen Knight has produced a myth buster to combat the myths surrounding the Coronavirus Act 2020

a. Court Proceedings
b. Possession Cases
c. Housing Related Benefits Matters
d. Housing Conditions
e. Anti-Social Behaviour
f. Homelessness
g. Community Care
h. Court Hearings

Practice Direction 51ZA
Parties are permitted to agree extensions of time limits under CPR 3.8 for up to 56 days, rather than the usual 28
Any extension beyond that time still requires court permission but the application will be dealt with on the papers, at least initially.
The impact of the pandemic is an express consideration when considering extension of time, adjournments and relief from sanctions, e.g. in R (McKeown) v LB Islington [2020] EWHC 779 (Admin) the judge gave the Council 10 weeks instead of 6 to comply with the court’s order

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 the date this Direction comes into force.
For the avoidance of doubt, claims for injunctive relief are not subject to the stay…

Paragraph 2A

Grant v Dawn Meats UK [2018] EWCA Civ 2212 Coulson LJ stated at §18:
A stay operates to ‘halt’ or ‘freeze’ the proceedings. In general terms, no steps in the action, by either side, are required or permitted during the period of the stay. When the stay is lifted, or the stay expires, the position as between the parties should be the same as it was at the moment that the stay was imposed. The parties (and the court) pick up where they left off at the time of the imposition of the stay.
Pre-action correspondence

Court Proceedings
Anti Social Behaviour
Equality Act

o Respect
o Reasonableness (rational, fair, practical and grounded in evidence)
o Minimising Harm
o Inclusiveness
o Accountability
o Flexibility
o Proportionality
o Community