High Court, QBD, 15 August 2017
The High Court has held that CPR 83.13 (permission required to issue a writ of possession) does not require that the occupier be given notice of the actual application for permission. What is required is that they should have sufficient knowledge about the case as a whole.
Where a possession order is made in the county court, the case may be transferred to the High Court for enforcement: s.42, County Courts Act 1984. Enforcement of possession orders in the High Court is governed by CPR 83.13. In general (and subject to exceptions, e.g. in mortgage possession cases), permission of the court is required to issue a writ (CPR 83.13(2)). Permission will not be granted unless it is shown that every person in possession of the land has “received such notice of the proceedings as appears to the court sufficient to enable [him] to apply to the court for any relief to which [he] may be entitled.” In Secretary of State for Defence v Nicholas  EWHC 4064 (Ch), it was held that “notice of the proceedings” meant that an occupier was entitled to notice of the application for permission to issue the writ.
Mr Partridge was the assured shorthold tenant of Mr Gupta in a house that he occupied with his wife and three children. Mr Gupta obtained a possession order under s.21, Housing Act 1988 and successfully applied for the case to be transferred to the High Court for enforcement. He subsequently told Mr Partridge that he intended to apply for a writ, but the actual application for permission was made on a without notice basis. The application was granted by the Master and the writ was executed.
Mr Partridge applied to set aside the writ. He accepted that he had had notice of the possession order, the transfer to the High Court and of the intention to apply for a writ, but contended that, following Nicholas, he should have been given notice of the application for permission to issue the writ. The Master dismissed his application and he appealed to a High Court Judge.
The appeal was dismissed. The rule did not require any particular form of notice of any particular application. All that was required was that the occupier knew enough about the proceedings to be able to apply for any appropriate relief. Mr Partridge had been fully involved in the possession proceedings, was aware that the case had been transferred to the High Court and that Mr Gupta intended to make an application for permission to issue a writ. Nicholas was a decision on its own facts.