In Arkin v Marshall the Court of Appeal has given judgment. The case involves the Practice Direction 51Z which was brought into play as a result of COVID-19 and which (in its original form) stayed all possession proceedings until the end of June.

The principle challenges to the Practice Direction were:

  • Whether the PD51Z itself was made unlawfully
  • Whether the stay applies to all proceedings under CPR55
  • Whether the court has the power under its general case management powers to lift the stay in individual cases

The Court of Appeal found that the Practice Direction was effectively a pilot scheme and that it was reasonable in the circumstances of the Coronavirus pandemic to reduce the number of hearings to minimise the spread of COVID-19.

Lauren McQue, Senior associate in Collyer Bristow’s Real estate disputes team, comments:

“The Court of Appeal has given judgment in Arkin v Marshall, an important appeal in which Collyer Bristow was heavily involved.

The case concerned CPR Practice Direction 51Z, which effectively prevents (with very limited exceptions) people, including landlords, bringing or progressing possession proceedings until after 25 June 2020 (a date which may be extended further) due to the Coronavirus.

Although the Court found that courts do in principle have power to lift the stay imposed by PD51Z, it said this is only in the most exceptional circumstances.”