Housing possession court desk scheme
Available at Portsmouth County Court (pre-Covid) & Havant Justice Centre (during Covid – up until at least September 2021) every Wednesday and Friday
What Swain & Co can do for you under our Housing Possession Duty Desk Scheme
We hold the Legal Aid Contract for the Housing Possession Duty Desk in Portsmouth. This means if you are at Portsmouth County Court/ Havant Justice CEntre for a Housing possession hearing (rent or mortgage), we will be there too, and can advise and support you.
Our contract enables us to advise you prior to entering the courtroom and advocate on your behalf.
Understanding your Court Letter
Your court letter will give a time and date for your hearing.
A Housing possession matter will initially be listed for a ‘review’ hearing. You do not need to attend this hearing. The review hearing involves the Judge looking through the documentation relating to your case to decide how the case ought to proceed. Possession Orders are not made at Review Hearings. Your case will then be listed for a ‘substantive’ hearing, of which you MUST attend.
Cases listed for substantive hearings will be given a time slot, usually 15 minutes.
On the day, the Judge will hear from the Claimant (the Landlord or their legal representative) and the Defendant (that’s you) and look at any evidence which is presented. The Judge will then make a decision.
The Court has the power to make an outright possession order, a suspended possession order, adjourn the case, make directions for filing a defence or submitting further evidence or dismiss the case. The Court can also make money judgments and cost orders.
We are able to advise and assist you through this process, including ensuring you understanding the implications of any orders made.
What to do when you receive a Court Letter
When you receive a letter from the Court with a hearing date, you will notice our telephone number – 02392 483322 or 033 33 582581
We recommend you ring us as soon as you receive any court papers, as this will enable us to discuss your matter with you. We will invite you to our offices for a face to face meeting, if it is considered necessary prior to your court hearing.
At any face to face meeting we can look through your papers and take full instructions.
If we consider you need assistance beyond what the Housing court desk covers, we will discuss further funding options with you such as your eligibility for legal aid.
What to bring with you to your hearing?
It is a good idea to bring any documentation you have regarding the case. Normally you will be provided with a trial bundle prior to the substantive hearing. It is your right to request this from the landlord if you have not been provided with a copy.
What to expect on the day?
Currently, possession hearings are being held at the Havant Justice Centre and will continue to be held there until September 2021, at the earliest. This is due to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensures your safety when in Court. On arrival, you will pass through security and be escorted into the waiting area. If you have not contacted us prior to the hearing, you will be asked by the court ushers if you would like to see us.
If you would like to speak to us, we will invite you into a meeting room and take some initial details. We will ask you about your current situation and what has happened and look at the documents you have with you. We will then be able to establish if you are in the position to put forward a defence or ask for more time. Our aim is to avoid you losing your home and we will do what we can to ensure this does not happen but sometimes it is not possible.
If you want us to come into court with you, we will do so and we are happy to advocate on your behalf.
Following your hearing, we will advise you on any decision made by the Court. We will then discuss next steps. Sometimes it is necessary to assist you on drafting a defence or providing further housing advice. It is normally at this point we will look in to how we can fund your case, our court desk contract only covers basic advice and advocacy on the day of your hearing.
Regardless of the outcome of your case, we will send you a follow up letter. This will detail what you have told us, what happened in the hearing and what your next steps are.
Initial Free advice
Legal Aid is Available
Purely for Individuals