Part 55, Section II and section II of PD
55 provide for an accelerated possession procedure in certain assured
shorthold tenancy cases. Where
various conditions are satisfied it is possible to use this procedure
instead of the standard procedure in Part I.
The main features of the accelerated procedure are that:
the claim form and the defence are prescribed forms.
only applies to assured shorthold cases.
It also used to apply in some other assured tenancy cases but this
is no longer the position.
the court is satisfied that the landlord is entitled to an order for
possession no hearing takes place.
with the other provisions of Part 55, the procedure comes into force on 15
to the top
conditions that apply are set out in Rule 55.12. All conditions have to be satisfied but the main
conditions to note are that:
It is important to note that this last set of
requirements means that the accelerated procedure will not apply to new
shortholds entered into orally on or after 28 February 1997.
form, service and defence
claim must be started in the county court for the district in which the
property is situated (55.11). (If
it is started in the wrong court see CPR 30.2(3)).
The claim form must be in the form set out in the relevant practice
direction (Form N5B) and must contain the information and be accompanied by
the documents required by the form. All relevant sections must be completed.
(Note that paragraph 5 of the form adds a requirement in
relation to a "replacement tenancy" that the landlord and tenant
were the same people at the start of the replacement tenancy as they were at
the end of the previous tenancy).
The form can be found on the Court
court serves the form by first class post (55.13(3)).
defendant who wishes to oppose the claim must file a defence within 14
days after service. This must also be in the form prescribed by practice direction (Form N11B).
If the defendant wishes to oppose the order for possession it is
very important that the form is completed otherwise the court will undoubtedly
make the order.
the tenant accepts that an order for possession will be made but wishes to
obtain more than the usual 14-day order he must also use the
prescribed form. He should set
out such matters that may assist in Box 9 of the Defence form.
The court may only give an extension of time of up to six weeks and
even then only in exceptional circumstances so it is important to set out full
details of the matters relied upon (see further below).
procedure - reference to a judge
procedure after the claim has been issued and served on the
defendant is set out in rules 15 and 16 of CPR 55. Essentially, the position is as follows:
the defendant does not serve his defence within 14 days of service the
claimant will be able to file a request for an order for possession and
the court will refer the request to a judge (15(2).
the defendant serves a defence within the 14-day period the defence will
be sent to the claimant and the claim and defence will be referred to a
a defence is filed outside the 14-day period but before the claimant files
a request the defence will be sent to the claimant and the claim and
defence will be referred to a judge (15(3)).
a defence is not served but the claimant does not file a request for an order
for possession within 3 months after expiry of the 14-day period for
service of the defence the claim will be stayed (15(4)).
If the claim is referred to a judge he or she will decide whether:
make an order for possession without requiring attendance of the parties;
he is not satisfied that the claim form was served or that the claimant is
not entitled to possession under s21 of the 1988 Act direct a date to be
fixed for a hearing and give appropriate case management directions; or
the claim form discloses no reasonable grounds for bringing the claim,
strike out the claim.
the judge is satisfied that the claim form was served on the defendant and
that the requirements of s21 have been satisfied he will be required to make
the order for possession, normally to take effect within not more 14 days,
even if the defendant has asked for a longer postponement on the grounds of
exceptional hardship (PD 55, para 8.1).
a working rule, where the Defence form, on its face, raises a case that,
if true, would constitute an arguable defence to the claim, the judge must fix
a date for the hearing (Manel
v Memon  33 EG 74).
If the judge does fix a hearing date the parties will be given not less
than 14 days notice of it.
Where the claim is struck out the court will give reasons when serving
the order and the claimant will then have 28 says to apply to restore the
claim after the order was served upon him.
of the order for possession
usual order for possession is 14 days. The
maximum amount of time that can be given is six weeks and even then more than
14 days can only be given in exceptional circumstances (s89 of the Housing Act
1980). Part 55 contains specific provisions relating to the procedure
for postponing the date upon which possession is to be given up (PD 55, paras
8.1 to 8.4).
the defendant seeks postponement on the ground of exceptional hardship and the
judge on the basis of the defence form, is satisfied that the defendant has
shown exceptional hardship he will be able to postpone possession without
a hearing but only if:
considers that possession should be given up 6 weeks after the date of the
order or, if the defendant has requested postponement to an earlier date,
on that date; and
claimant indicated on his claim form that he would be content for the
court to make such an order without a hearing (paragraph 8 of the form
claimants should note that the paragraph is already printed on the form
and will need to be deleted if not acceptable).
any other case, if the defendant seeks a postponement for longer than 14 days,
the judge will direct a hearing of that issue (PD 55, para 8.3).
If at the hearing the judge is satisfied that an extended order should
be granted on the grounds of exceptional hardship he will be able to vary the
order to provide for possession to be given up at a later date.
However, that later date may be no later than 6 weeks after the making
of the order for possession on the papers (PD 55, para 8.4).