How long do Court Proceedings for Possession take?

As many of our regular readers may be aware the time taken for Courts to process claims particularly in the London Region has extended dramatically.

We would normally say that an accelerated possession claim if no Court hearing was required would take about 2 to 3 months from issue of proceedings until bailiff appointment. For traditional proceedings normally we would have the first hearing date within 3 to 4 weeks of issue.

Sadly we are finding that these dates are taking much longer with dates for hearings under traditional hearings taking up to 4 months! Unbelievable but true in a recent case we issued in a London Court. Despite representations to the Court they said pressure of work meant nothing could be done.

With regards to accelerated possession claims where hearings have been listed by the Court or the Defendant has lodged a Defence form we have found that these may not be listed for up to 5 months! Again a recent example we faced where an Order had been made but the Defendant immediately made application to set aside and Defend.

Whilst some Courts are still sticking to the more usual times generally the hands of Landlords are tied as to which Court to issue in. The rules provide that generally such possession claims must be issued in the County Court and in particular the Court with jurisdiction for the area in which the rental property is situated.

Certainly a worrying development that all practitioners need to be aware of and the implications of the same!


  • Adrian Thompson 30th November 2011 at 3:17 pm


    Doesn’t the hearing date have to be “not less than 28 days but not more than 8 weeks”? [CPR 55.5]

    I’ve had quite a number as you describe in your post but a swift letter or worst case, application to vary the order and it’s always been brought back within the 8 weeks max.

    I do appreciate that once you’ve had a first hearing which is then adjourned, the court is no longer bound by time limits and can seem to go on forever. However, the first hearing after issue should be as above.

    Interestingly, I have successfully argued that the time limit also applies to accelerated possession (if a hearing is called) but don’t know whether that was legally correct! (If I recall I called upon the word “accelerated”!)

    Many thanks


    • PainSmith 30th November 2011 at 3:25 pm

      It is standard procedure for it to be listed no more than 8 weeks, but this is not set in stone and we have argued it and been told that the courts are busy…….

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