PRACTICE DIRECTION 51T – THE COUNTY COURT LEGAL ADVISERS PILOT SCHEME – FINAL CHARGING ORDERS

Contents of this practice direction

Title Paragraph number
Scope and interpretation Para. 1
Jurisdiction of a legal adviser to make a final charging order Para. 2
Reconsideration of a decision made by a legal adviser Para. 3
Discharge or variation of a final charging order made by a legal adviser Para. 4

Scope and interpretation

1.1 This Practice Direction is made under rule 51.2. It provides for a pilot scheme called “the County Court Legal Advisers Pilot Scheme – Final Charging Orders” (“the pilot”).  The purpose of the pilot is to enable legal advisers to make final charging orders in certain circumstances, and specifies the extent of the jurisdiction that may be exercised by a legal adviser in relation to the making of final charging orders. The pilot applies to applications for final charging orders made at the County Court Money Claims Centre (“CCMCC”).  The pilot runs from 1st August 2018 to 1st April 2020.

1.2 Where provisions in this Practice Direction conflict with other provisions in the rules or other practice directions, this practice direction takes precedence in relation to final charging orders made, or to be made, by legal advisers.

1.3 In this Practice Direction –

1.3.1 “final charging order” means an order confirming that a charge imposed by an interim charging order continues;

1.3.2 “interim charging order” means an interim charging order made in accordance with rule 73.4(5) or 73.4(6);

1.3.3 “legal adviser” means a court officer assigned to the County Court who is –

1.3.3.1 a barrister; or

1.3.3.2 a solicitor, who may exercise the jurisdiction of the County Court with regard to matters set out in this Practice Direction, with the consent of the Designated Civil Judge for Greater Manchester, or their nominee.
Jurisdiction of a legal adviser to make a final charging order

2.1 Paragraphs 2.2 to 2.5 apply where –

2.1.1 an interim charging order was made at the CCMCC;

2.1.2 the matter was not transferred under rule 73.4(6) for a hearing;

2.1.3 no person has filed evidence under rule 73.10(2) stating grounds of objection to the making of a final charging order; and

2.1.4 the application was not transferred under rule 73.10(3) for a hearing.

2.2 Rule 73.10(6) is modified for the purposes of the pilot, so that the application for a charging order may be considered by a legal adviser (rather than a judge), upon expiry of the period allowed under rule 73.10(2) for the filing and service of any objection by the last person served under rule 73.7 with a copy of the interim charging order.

2.3 When considering the application, the legal adviser may –

2.3.1 make a final charging order, but only if it provides that the charge imposed by the interim charging order is to continue without modification (except for the amount secured);

2.3.2 discharge the interim charging order and dismiss the application, but only if the applicant has requested it; or

2.3.3 refer the matter to a judge.

2.4 The jurisdiction of the legal adviser does not extend to making any of the decisions, directions or orders set out in rule 73.10(7)(c), (d) or (e).

2.5 Decisions of a legal adviser will be made without a hearing.

Reconsideration of a decision made by a legal adviser

3.1 Any interested person may request any decision of a legal adviser to be reconsidered by a District Judge.

3.2 A request must be filed within 14 days after the interested person is served with a notice of the decision, or becomes aware of the decision.

3.3 The request must include a summary of the issue and an explanation of why the reconsideration is sought.

3.4 Reconsideration will take place without a hearing.

Discharge or variation of a final charging order made by a legal adviser

4.1 Rule 73.10B(1) (discharge or variation of order) is modified for the purposes of this pilot so that any application to discharge or vary a final charging order made by a legal adviser must be made to the CCMCC.

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