An extra 200 deputy district judges have been drafted in to help with housing possession cases if needed when the moratorium on evictions ends this weekend, the Gazette has learned.
Courts will resume dealing with possession proceedings, which have been suspended since March, from Monday.
A cross-sector working group convened by the master of the rolls has been working out arrangements for when the suspension is lifted. A document outlining overall arrangements for possession proceedings has been distributed.
There is unlikely to be an immediate surge of evictions as claims brought before 3 August will not be listed, relisted or referred to a judge until a party serves a reactivation notice. Where case management directions were made before 21 September, a party filing and serving a reactivation notice must propose new dates for directions and a proposed hearing date, or state that an existing hearing can be met. The new arrangements also include a review date before the case proceeds to a substantive hearing.
The document states that court centres will, as far as possible, allocate to possession proceedings the same number of courtrooms and days per week as before March.
The preferred starting point for the opening months is to use full-time district judges and deputy district judges who sit extensively at the particular court centre. ‘In addition, a cadre of 200 additional deputy district judges (and property tribunal judges) has been assembled to assist as required,’ the document says.