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Applications for transfers for enforcement of possession orders to the High Court

|Practice Note|Civil

Senior Master Practice Note

I have received complaints that some High Court Enforcement Officers (“HCEOs”) have been using Form N293A to transfer County Court Possession Orders against tenants for enforcement to the High Court. This procedure is wrong because:

  1. The Form is intended for enforcement of possession orders against trespassers only (as stated in the notes at the bottom of the form; and
  2. CPR 83.13(2) requires the permission of the High Court before a High Court Writ of Possession can be issued; and
  3. CPR 83.13(8) (a) requires sufficient notice to be given to all occupants of the premises to enable them to apply to the court for any relief to which they may be entitled.

There have also been recent decisions where the misuse of Form N293A has been identified, e.g. Birmingham City Council v Mondhlani [2015] EW Misc (CC) (6 Nov. 2015); and lack of notice required under CPR 83.13(8) e.g. Nicholas v Secretary of State for Defence [2015] EWHC 4064 (Ch) (24 August 2015) Rose J. (unrep.).

In order to ensure that this practice does not continue:

  1. The Queen’s Bench Division Enforcement Section will not accept Form N293A for transfer to the High Court for enforcement of a possession order of the County Court other than for possession orders against trespassers. By distributing a copy of this note to Designated Civil Judges in District Registries I shall request that the same instructions be given to court staff in District Registries.
  2. The Queen’s Bench Masters will not accept applications under Section 41 of the County Court Act 1984 for transfer of a County Court possession claim for enforcement and such applications must be made under Section 42 of the County Court Act 1984 to a judge of the hearing centre of the County Court where the possession order was made, so that judge can satisfy themselves that the appropriate notice has been given under CPR 83.13(8).
  3. The Civil Procedure Rule Committee (“CPRC”) subcommittee on court forms has:
    • re-drafted Form N293A with greater emphasis on the restriction of the use of the form to requests for writs of control and writs of possession against trespassers only; and
    • drafted a new form of draft order (PF92) giving permission to enforce a judgment or order for giving possession of land in the County Court (other than a claim against trespassers under Part 55), which make it clear that applications for such permission must provide evidence to satisfy the judge determining such application that the requirements of Rule 83.13(8) are met.

It is anticipated that these will be available for use in April 2016.

The Senior Master
21 March 2016