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121st Practice Direction Update to the Civil Procedure Rules – Coronavirus Pandemic related

Amendments to Practice Direction 51Z to Stay Possession Proceedings and The Civil Procedure (Amendment No.2) (Coronavirus) Rules 2020

The Master of the Rolls and the Lord Chancellor have signed an Amending Practice Direction, which amends Practice Direction 51Z in relation to possession proceedings during the Coronavirus pandemic.

PD51Z came into effect on 27 March 2020 (under the 117th PD Update), suspending possession proceedings brought under CPR Part 55 for a period of 90 days to 25 June 2020. An Amending Practice Direction (under the 120th PD Update) was further issued to clarify elements of PD51Z on 18 April 2020.

Now, following a review, the 121st PD Update is being issued, intended to provide for two further clarifying amendments effecting the existing stay under PD51Z.

The Amending PD is effective immediately.

The amendments are intended to clarify that:

  • during the stay, courts are not required to give any notice to parties,
  • nor does time run (in relation to time limits) during the stay,
  • the PD ceases to have effect on 25 June 2020, when the new rule (below) comes into effect.

A copy of the PD Update is viewable (opens in a new tab.


The Civil Procedure (Amendment No.2) (Coronavirus) Rules 2020 has been laid before Parliament.

It followed the Lord Chancellor giving written notice to the Civil Procedure Rule Committee under s. 3A Civil Procedure Act 1997 that he thought it expedient that the Committee include provision that would extend the stay on possession proceedings imposed by Practice Direction 51Z for a period of eight weeks and to address points of detail that have arisen during the course of the operation of the pilot Practice Direction 51Z.

The rules will temporarily amend the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 Part 55 to stay all possession proceedings brought under this Part and all enforcement proceedings by way of writ or warrant of possession.

It is intended to:

  • avoid any gap in the operation of the stay on possession proceedings,
  • come into force on Thursday 25 June 2020 for eight weeks,
  • expire on 23 August 2020.

The enabling Statutory Instrument will be published via the Legislation website (external link, opens in a new tab). The online rules/website will then be updated accordingly.

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