Further to our update of 6 October 2017, there has continued to be considerable confusion in relation to possession claims in Lambeth. It appears that some notices of hearing have referred to hearings taking place at the County Court at Clerkenwell and Shoreditch (INC), giving the address for Inner London Crown Court, when the hearings have in fact been listed in the Lambeth County Court building, which is temporarily being kept open. There has also been some confusion as to whether applications for housing matters in Lambeth should be issued at the County Court in Clerkenwell and Shoreditch, or the Stratford Housing Centre.

 

The guidance outlined below was provided from HMCTS to Duty Advisors and was recently published on NearlyLegal.co.uk. From this, it appears that the Lambeth County Court building will finally close after 24 November 2017 and rent possession matters in Lambeth will be listed at the Inner London Crown Court from 27 November 2017 (referred to on PCOL as The County Court at Clerkenwell and Shoreditch (INC)). It is not clear whether mortgage possession matters will also be heard at Inner London Crown Court or the Stratford Hearing Centre, although it seems likely that adjourned hearings with longer time estimates will be transferred to the County Court at Clerkenwell and Shoreditch. It also appears that the correct venue to issue applications is the Stratford Housing Centre for non-urgent matters and the County Court at Clerkenwell and Shoreditch for urgent applications.

 

The guidance provided remains extremely confusing and there is great concern from practitioners as to the impact of the changes following the closure of the County Court at Lambeth.

 

Inner London Crown Court

Lambeth County Court will stay open as hearing centre until 24 November 2017. It is intended that after, that all rent arrears possession cases will be heard at Inner London Crown Court. Cases listed to be heard before 24 November at ILCC will now be heard at LCC. Notices of the change of venue will be sent out. Please note this part is up in the air, post 24 November, so you will receive documents saying go to ‘Hearing Venue A’ but this may change at short notice and we will need to send further amended notices.

It is highly recommended that you check the address on any court notice carefully.

 

New cases

New possession cases will be issued from Stratford. Anything under 30 mins will be heard at the hearing centre (be it LCC or Inner London). Anything over at Clerkenwell and Shoreditch.

Injunctions and applications to commit will be heard at Gee St. (Clerkenwell & Shoreditch)

 

Applications to suspend warrants

Applications to suspend warrants should be made at the Stratford Housing Centre but will be heard at LCC/ILCC.

The address is

Stratford Housing Centre
398-397 High Street
Stratford
London
E15 4SB

DX: 157553 Stratford, London (5)

Tel No: 020 8437 3520 (General)
Tel No: 020 8437 3515 (appointment Line) –

This is shown on Google Maps as Stratford Magistrates Court

If you go to Clerkenwell to issue, your application to suspend will be issued but may be heard at Clerkenwell.

 

Existing Lambeth cases

All existing Lambeth cases have automatically been transferred by HMCTS case management system to Clerkenwell. No formal notices of transfer will be sent out. Correspondence, applications, bills of costs etc should be sent to Clerkenwell. In any issue that requires the court user to return papers there will be a notice explaining where to send. 

In possession cases that are initially heard at Lambeth but become defended, Defences, Directions questionnaires etc. should be sent to Clerkenwell. They can be sent to Stratford but will be sent on to Clerkenwell.

Stratford will deal with all undefended possession matters and all possession matters that remain within 30 minute hearing timeframe. Anything heard at Stratford and subsequently transferred parties will be informed, thus, knowing where to send any further documents

Correspondence sent to LCC will be forwarded to Stratford.

 

Lists

The system will be that cases will be listed Tues-Fri, morning and afternoon, possession cases in the morning, warrants in the afternoon. The terms of the duty scheme oblige us to cover both sessions.

 

Hearing times

There is a big backlog of cases from Lambeth. Stratford are aiming to have any adjourned cased listed within 4 weeks (unless the court directs a longer adjournment) and all orders/notice of hearing to be sent out within 10 working days.

 

Official Court name

The official court name is Clerkenwell and Shoreditch sitting at Lambeth County Court. The (INC) is just for PCOL to differentiate between the two C & S courts . The address is Stratford Housing Centre as above