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Cardiff County Council v Lee (Flowers) [2016] EWCA Civ 1034

Many will be aware of the recent case of Cardiff City Council v Lee (Flowers) which sought to introduce a second permission stage prior to issuing of…

In a landmark judgment, the Court of Appeal has ruled in Cardiff County Council v Lee (Flowers) [2016] EWCA Civ 1034 that residential landlords must apply for the court's permission before being able to apply for an eviction warrant if a Suspended Possession Order is breached. Sian Evans, Weightmans’ Head of Housing, looks at the implications…

Many will be aware of the recent case of Cardiff City Council v Lee (Flowers) which sought to introduce a second permission stage prior to issuing of a warrant where a defendant has breached the terms of a suspended order of possession. 

Following this case, the Civil Procedure Rule Committee met in November and December to assess the impact of the judgment. Further consultations are anticipated in the New Year. 

The case created a level of uncertainty as to the correct procedure to obtain a warrant. In particular, it was suggested that an additional application would need to be made to Court to obtain permission from the court to apply for a warrant.

It has today been confirmed that HMCTS is implementing a work around through the introduction of a new N325A “Request for warrant of possession of land following a suspended order for possession”, and an amended Form N445 for reissue of a warrant. Where an immediate order for possession is made, the usual N325 form should be used. These requests will now be reviewed by a district judge to confirm whether a warrant can be issued. The requests should, at all times, be made on paper to the appropriate local County Court. 

It should additionally be noted that the new and amended form require, in cases involving a breached suspended order, the attachment of a statement of the payments due or made under the original judgment or order when applying for an initial or reissued warrant. 

It remains to be seen what the final outcome of the CPR Committee consultations will be, for many this official workaround should provide some comfort to landlords and housing associations that significant delays and costs will not be incurred through any need to make additional applications to enforce the orders they obtain.