FORM FOR FORM’S SAKE: Form N119 and the new CPR PD 22
7th May 2020
This is a short practice note examining the relationship between Form N119 and the new CPR PD 22.
Practitioners who undertake residential possession work will be intimately familiar with Form N119. It is the prescribed form for Particulars of Claim claiming possession of rented residential premises.
Paragraph 1.5 of CPR PD 55A, which gives guidance on possession claims, stipulates that the Claimant “must use the appropriate claim form and particulars of claim form set out in Table 1 to Practice Direction 4…”. In turn, Table 1 of CPR PD 4 identifies Form N119 as the appropriate form in the case of rented residential premises. A broad class of claims.
The new CPR PD 22, found in the 2020 edition of the White Book, prescribes wording that should be used for a statement of truth verifying a statement of case. Paragraph 2.1 provides that the statement of truth should be as follows—
“[I believe] [the (claimant or as may be) believes] that the facts stated in this [name document being verified] are true. I understand that proceedings for contempt of court may be brought against anyone who makes, or causes to be made, a false statement in a document verified by a statement of truth without an honest belief in its truth.”
The current Form N119 was last updated on 22 October 2018 (over two-white-books-ago) and does not reflect the updated CPR PD 22. There is, therefore, a conflict.
The sensible course of action seems to be to amend the Form N119 using one of the array of PDF editors which we are all becoming increasingly familiar with during lockdown. It is possible to simply insert the appropriate wording into the statement of truth box.
However, technically, this is doctoring the form – albeit in a sensible and practical way. This begs the question: when does a Form N119 stop being a Form N119? A desperate Defendant looking for something, anything, to challenge the possession proceedings may alight upon an amendment to the prescribed form as a basis of challenge.
On the other hand, a Claimant who files a Particulars of Claim in an unamended Form N119 has failed to comply with CPR PD 22.
It is hoped that a reasonable judge would favour a small amendment to a form to allow compliance with another Practice Direction. However, during this hiatus in possession claims, it would be helpful if Form N119 could be amended to avoid widespread uncertainty later in the year.
By Robyn Cunningham