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From April 2019 the Court will pilot extended opening hours on Monday evenings, with some cases being listed in the normal court day, and others being listed in a new 2-7pm slot. It is our understanding that the lists in the out-of-hours session are likely to be block lists, rather than fixed appointments.
Out-of-hours work will include infant approval hearings, small claims, housing possession, chancery applications, and Part 8 stage 3 applications. Therefore, any of our RP clients with possession claims that are issued in Manchester are likely to be affected by this announcement.
Outlining the plans at the MCC User Group in December, Judge HHJ Bird explained that the pilot is entirely voluntary, with claimants and defendants having to agree to the inclusion of an out-of-hours hearing for it to proceed.
Parties won’t be forced to attend if they cannot make it – notices of hearing have been changed so that if there are any issues the court can be informed, without the need to give reasons, and that hearing will simply be taken out of the list.
That said, there will of course be advantages if attendance can be agreed, in terms of getting matters listed quickly, ensuring the earliest possible hearing date, and progressing and resolving cases quickly, for the benefit of clients, defendants and witnesses.
We know waiting for court dates can be a real concern, and we encourage clients to take advantage of this additional court list. You will have the full support of Croftons’ housing management team - we are ready and equipped to deal with the extended court hours to expedite your cases, and we won’t charge an enhanced rate for dealing with matters that occur outside of normal office hours.
Croftons is in regular attendance at the MCC User Group, and we will keep clients updated of the launch date and any further developments and details as and when they are announced.
Croftons is the trading name of Croftons Solicitors LLP, a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with number OC343375. The term ‘partner’, if used, denotes a member of Croftons Solicitors LLP or a senior solicitor of Croftons Solicitors LLP with equivalent standing and qualifications. A full list of members is open to inspection at the office. Croftons is authorised and regulated by The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) number 508041. Croftons has its principal place of business at The Lexicon, Mount Street, Manchester, M2 5FA.