31 January 2024
Blog: Law Reform Committee - Edition 3: Nice while it lasted? FTT Unopposed Lease Renewal Pilot to end
The Central London County Court has confirmed that the FTT Unopposed Lease Renewal Pilot Scheme (whereby unopposed 1954 Act lease renewal claims issued at Central London County Court are automatically transferred to be case-managed and heard by the First Tier Tribunal (FTT)) has come to an end with immediate effect. We understand that any unopposed lease renewals currently being dealt with by the FTT will be transferred back to Central London. There is no need to do anything and those with current cases should be informed of this in correspondence.
Although originally a year-long pilot introduced in 2018, the scheme has continued and there were expectations that it would become permanent on a more formal footing. However, we understand that concerns were identified around the fact that FTT Judges do not technically have jurisdiction to hear 1954 Act cases and there was therefore a lack of legislative basis for the scheme to continue.
Recent surveys on reform of the 1954 Act and experience of using the county courts have highlighted that many have found the FTT to be a more efficient and user-friendly forum for litigation when compared to the county courts. In particular, the FTT’s ability to issue standard directions quickly, usually with a trial date within 6 months is in stark contrast to the time it can take to progress unopposed lease renewal cases through the county courts, and perhaps particularly the Central London County Court. The LRC has raised these concerns with Central London County Court and we intend to explore with them how some of the positive experiences of the pilot might be carried forward – for example, the automatic issue of standard form directions without the need for a case management hearing. We will be sure to keep members updated on this, but if you do have any comments or ideas feel free to pass them to the LRC by contacting Paul Tonkin (LRC Chair) firstname.lastname@example.org or Emma Pinkerton (LRC Vice-Chair) Emma.Pinkerton@cms-cmno.com
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