This is for civil procedure anoraks in England and Wales and anyone who has been told by the court that their acknowledgment of service of the claim form or defence was sent in too late and so the claimant has obtained a default judgment against them.
Here's a snapshot of changes to be made to our civil procedure rules by the Civil Procedure (Amendment) Rules 2020 (SI 2020/82). From 6 April 2020, an acknowledgment of service or defence sent in to the court late will still bar the claimant obtaining judgment in default when requested after its receipt . Assume, for example, that you had to put in your defence by 6 February 2020 but failed to put it in until 13 February 2020 and on 24 February 2020 the claimant asked the court to enter a judgment against you for £10m because your defence had been received by the court after the deadline. It's now clear that from 6 April 2020 the court will have to tell the claimant to get on their bike and that your defence will be valid. Say that a similar situation arises before 6 April 2020. There are conflicting court decisions as to what should happen although my guess is that the position should be the same. The issue is due to be decided by the Court of Appeal later this year.
Other changes coming into force on 30 March 2020.
*Where on an appeal the court is deciding challenges to both the merits of a judgment and an order for costs made along with that judgment. it will be open for both challenges to be dealt with together and for offers made under Part 36 of the Civil Procedure Rules to be mentioned. A bit technical that one!
* The accelerated procedure for a landlord to obtain possession of a house or flat will no longer be available for demoted assured shorthand tenancies or where any of the tenancy agreements under which the tenant has occupied have not been in writing. And the procedure will not be available unless the tenancy was entered into before 28 February 1997. The landlord will still be entitled to bring proceedings where accelerated possession is unavailable but the procedure will take longer.
*The pilot scheme for charging order applications to be dealt with by non-judges is made permanent. A non-judge decision can be challenged to a district judge within 14 days of notification of the decision and the district judge will now be able to direct a hearing of the challenge.