The new civil injunctions created by Part 1 of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 came into force on 23 March 2015.
Social media sites have been buzzing with news about the various applications that have been made under the new powers. However, one issue which arises is which judge in the county court?
Ordinarily applications for injunctions which the county court has jurisdiction to make must be heard by a Circuit Judge (CPR 2B PD 8.1). The old Housing Act 1996 injunctions could be heard by a District Judge by virtue of an exception contained in CPR 2B PD.8.1(d).
The news on the grapevine is that Lord Justice Richards has sent an email to county court judges. The email sets out his view that District Judges have jurisdiction to hear the new injunction applications.
The Civil Procedure Rules Committee is yet to issue an amendment to the CPR to enable District Judges to hear applications for Part 1 injunctions, amendments are expected shortly after Easter.
If you are making an application for an injunction it is worth raising the issue of jurisdiction in order to ensure there is no point taken about the lawfulness of any order made by a District Judge. The safest course would be to ask for applications to be listed before a Circuit Judge or to seek confirmation from the court that the District Judge is content to hear the application in view of CPR 2PD 8.1.
Kuljit Bhogal is the author of Cornerstone on Anti-Social Behaviour: The New Law