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Administrative Court allows appeal by tenant on extending time for service of notice of appeal in ASB case

A Plymouth woman has successfully appealed over a closure order imposed on her home after complaints of anti-social behaviour.

In Crocker v Devon And Cornwall Police [2020] EWHC 2838 the Administrative Court has said Plymouth Crown Court should reconsider the case of Kayleigh Crocker v Devon and Cornwall Police.

Lord Justice Dingemans, who heard the case with Mr Justice Griffiths, said the appeal by case stated concerned the proper construction of the joint effect of section 84(5) of the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 and the Crown Court Rules SI 1982 No 1109 as amended.

He said: “The issue is whether the Crown Court has any power to extend the time for service of the notice of appeal on the other party to the appeal after the appeal notice had been sent in time to the court office.”

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HHJ Townsend had earlier ruled that there was no power to extend the time.

Ms Crocker became a tenant of a flat in August 2019 after which neighbours complained of anti-social and criminal behaviour and the police issued a closure notice under the 2014 Act.

On 13 February 2020 there was a hearing of the police application which Ms Crocker indicated she intended to contest.

It was adjourned to 19 February when Ms Crocker alleged she had been told by her then lawyers that the hearing had been adjourned again and so she did not attend and magistrates made a closure order for three months.

Ms Crocker on 4 March instructed different solicitors to pursue the appeal. On 11 March the 21-day period for appealing expired but on 26 March the Crown Court listed the appeal and the following day a copy of the appeal notice was served by Ms Crocker's solicitors with an apology for the delay.

Written submissions were filed on 1 April by the police to the effect that the appeal was out of time and that there was no power under the 1982 Crown Court Rules to extend this, with which HHJ Townsend agreed after further legal argument.

Dingemans LJ said Parliament did not intend the 2014 Act to become involved with issues of procedure relating to serving appeal notices.

But he said paragraph 7(5) of the 1982 Crown Court Rules gave the power to extend time as “it would be surprising to find that there was no procedure under which time might be extended”.

He said: ”The effect of this judgment is that the Crown Court should have considered whether to extend time for giving notice of the appeal to the other party.”

Although the closure order had since expired the matter was not academic because possession proceedings against Ms Crocker by the housing association which owns her flat might rest on there having been a closure order.

Dingemans LJ said: “The parties agreed that if this court found that there was a discretion to extend time under the 2014 Act when read with the 1982 Crown Court Rules, then the matter should be remitted to the Crown Court at Plymouth.

“The Crown Court can then obtain information about whether there is any need to hear the appeal. If the appeal needs to be heard, the court can then decide whether to grant an extension of time for appealing and, if an extension is granted, determine the appeal.”

Mark Smulian

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