Thursday, 25 February 2021

Whiplash Reform: Revisited

Phew! We've got the rules now which were laid before Parliament today. See Civil Procedure (Amendment No 2) Rules 2021 (SI 2010/196). More to come. 

Whiplash Reform: At last!

The controversial road traffic whiplash injury reforms under the Civil Liability Act 2018 will come into force on 31 May 2021 as a result of regulations (Civil Liability Act 2018 (Commencement No 1 and Transitional Provisions) Regulations 2021 SI 2021/195)  made on 23 February 2021. They will only apply to accidents occuring on or after that date. More regulations, procedural rules and a Practice Direction are awaited. 

Friday, 19 February 2021

Legal Aid: Financial Eligibility Rules Eased

The Legal Aid scheme for a civil as opposed to a criminal case is still there but it has shrunk to the size of my pen top. You will know if it is available for your case because you will have applied and been turned down on the ground that you had too much money even though you did not realise you were so well off. You might be able to apply again thanks to changes in the financial eligibility rules which have recently come into force.

If you owed more than £100,000 on your mortgage, the excess over that figure was ignored. No more. The whole mortgage debt will now be reckoned. And certain one-off payments made to you will be disregarded when it comes to assessing the amount of your capital. These  are compensation payments from some certain UK government and UK charitable schemes that support victims of state error and serious incidents. Infected blood support and criminal injuries compensation are among them. 

Good luck.

Friday, 29 January 2021

Flexible Tenancies: Landlords in Trouble

Between 2014 and 2018 an estimated 30,000 flexible tenancies were granted by local authorities. If a flexible tenancy has been granted to you, your landlord may well be frustrated in any attempt to get you out before the fixed term of the tenancy has come to an end. A judgment of the Court of Appeal in a case called Croydon London Borough Council v Kalongola [2021] EWCA Civ 77 has made it clear that without a so-called forfeiture clause in your tenancy agreement - you should check with a professional on whether you've got one - the landlord cannot bring the tenancy to an early end. And, even if there is a forfeiture clause in the agreement, there are certain technical steps the landlord would need to take before it could secure a court order for possession against you.

Croydon has been refused permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. It might seek permission from the Supreme Courts itself. We shall see.

Sunday, 10 January 2021

COVID-19: REPRIEVE FOR TENANTS

The majority of residential tenants due to be evicted from their homes have been granted a further reprieve in England until 21 February 2021. The reprieve is in the same terms, except for one important exception, as the last one: see  https://www.breakinglaw.co.uk/search/label/COVID-19   The exception is that evictions can go ahead where the tenant owed at least nine months' worth of rent which had been run up before 23 March 2020. That has now been reduced to at least six months' worth of rent. Tenants should give thanks to and landlords should curse The Public Health (Coronavirus) (Protection from Eviction) (England) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021/15) which, unlike its predecessor, does not halt bailiffs' seizure of goods. Despite the reprieve, which also protects mortgage borrowers, possession proceedings may still be brought and possession orders may still be made by the court, although not enforced by a bailiff or High Court enforcement agent where the regulations apply.

For Wales, a similar, but not identical, reprieve has been granted by The Public Health (Protection from Eviction) (Wales) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021/12) and, just to be different, they have placed the name of the dreaded virus in a different place to England. The Wales regulations prevent evictions for a longer period until 31 March 2021 but must be reviewed earlier and so could be brought to an end earlier. They do not make an exception for cases where the arrears had reached six or nine months. 

Some crumbs for business tenants too. The paralysis on landlords being able to forfeit their leases or go into their premises to take them over where there are rent arrears has been extended from 31 December 2020 to 31 March 2021,  in England by SI 2020/1472 and in Wales by SI 2020/1456.

Friday, 11 December 2020

MASTERCARD CLAIM: APPEAL RESULT

MasterCard has lost its appeal to the Supreme Court against the decision of the Court of Appeal that the Walter Merricks claim can proceed. Open the champers. On second thoughts, make it the prosseco. More to follow. See https://www.breakinglaw.co.uk/search/label/MasterCard%20claim 

Monday, 16 November 2020

COVID-19: EVICTIONS & BAILIFFS HALTED AGAIN: ENGLAND

Regulations made today and coming into force tomorrow 17 November 2020 will save the majority of residential occupiers in England from eviction and seizure of their goods for the time being. The Public Health (Coronavirus) (Protection from Eviction and Taking Control of Goods) (England) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/1290) stop evictions up to 11 January 2021. They also stop bailiffs and enforcement agents seizing goods inside residential premises (but not outside or on the road and not from business premises) until the end of the current national lockdown on 02 December 2020. Possession proceedings which are pending and new possession cases can still continue.

There are exceptions to the paralysis on evictions (which extends to even delivering tenants with a notice of eviction proclaiming when the bailiff or enforcement against will be calling and so this effectively amounts to a ban on fixing eviction appointments).   The main exception is where the possession order was made on the ground of rent arrears amounting to the equivalent of nine months but any arrears which have clocked up since 23 March 2020 will be disregarded for this purpose. Other exceptions include evictions where the possession order has been made in relation to social tenancies on the grounds of anti-social behaviour, nuisance, false statements to obtain the tenancy or domestic abuse and orders made against trespassers whose identities have not been established.