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Graham Awards


Possession Court Delays - no improvement for at least a year

Justice Secretary Dominic Raab says it will take a year for court backlogs to be reduced substantially and even longer to restore the judicial system to pre-pandemic efficiency.

The private rental sector has been plagued by legal problems for around 20 months with eviction bans, extended notice periods and court proceedings slowed down to accommodate social distancing.

Even now, with the eviction ban lifted and notice periods in England restored Foote-pandemic lengths, there are countless delays.


Landlord Action says it’s seen a 43 per cent rise in possession instructions from letting agents and landlords since the end of June, compared to the same period last year. Review hearings, set up during the pandemic to speed eviction proceedings, have themselves slowed down; Landlord Action says of approximately 400 review hearings, it knows of only one case that has received a possession order straight afterwards.

Now Raab - in an interview with the BBC - can see only a very distant light at the end of the tunnel.

More than 60,000 Crown Court trials are waiting to be heard with many serious cases being listed to be heard in late 2023. Raab, who is also the deputy prime minister, says he knows some victims face agonising waits.

"In the Crown Court ... we are just starting to see the backlog flattening” he comments.

Asked if the backlog would be below pre-pandemic levels a year from now, he replied: "I don't think we will be that far forward. We need to drive down, we have got the plan working with the judiciary to drive this forward as quickly as we conceivably can.

"We're going to reduce the backlog within six to 12 months, I can't give you a precise figure... it depends on lots of moving parts but I am confident we will make progress."

  • Angus Shield

    Without appearing callous or uncaring, if the repossession is under statutory grounds, why can there not be 'locum' courts presided over by a panel of 3x JP's.
    If the Courts Clerks were to determine the more 'routine' cases for hearing (landlords selling, etc), would this not ease the burden on the County Courts?

  • icon

    The Govt' has no incentive to speed up evictions as it would just burden councils so it would prefer to burden landlords instead.


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