Some changes have been made because of the Coronavirus pandemic. Details of the new procedures can be found in a document called ‘The Overall Arrangements’ which can be found by clicking here.
The courts are following Covid-19 health and safety measures and are currently operating a two-staged hearing process. The first stage is a ‘Review Hearing’ and the second stage is called a ‘Substantive Hearing’.
You are not required to attend the Court for a Review Hearing but you may be contacted by telephone and your landlord or mortgage provider is required to be available on the telephone.
You will be sent a ‘Notice of Review’ in the post at least three weeks before the hearing. The notice will tell you the date and time of the review and will include other important information.
At the review the Judge will go through the paperwork and decide if a full Substantive Hearing is needed. A Substantive Hearing is less likely if you have managed to make an agreement with your landlord or mortgage provider.
There are no court fees for a Review Hearing or for any order made at a Review Hearing.
A Substantive Hearing is similar to how hearings used to take place before Covid-19 but with new rules and procedures to make sure there is social distancing and that all the other safety rules are kept to.
Everyone must attend but landlords and mortgage providers will usually only attend by telephone. You will be expected to attend in person at Ipswich County Court and you must let the Court know if you are unable to, for example because you have the Coronavirus, or are shielding, or are unable to attend for some other reason.
Ipswich County Court has provided our ICCARS duty advisers with a room where we can see you to provide help and we can attend the hearing in the court room with you. Our room and the court room have been set up so we can maintain social distancing. At this hearing the Court can make a decision about the possession claim and about who should pay the court costs. It can also set a date for another hearing and issue directions about what should happen before then. Click here for details of the types of decision the Judge can make.