It is important that you go to the possession hearing and it is usually a good idea to arrive about half an hour before it is due to take place.
However, the requirement to maintain social distancing during the Coronavirus pandemic means that the court’s waiting room is not in full use so it is currently advisable to arrive only 5 or 10 minutes before the hearing.
When you attend the hearing it is important that you bring all the relevant paperwork with you. This will save time and it may mean you are able to give evidence to the court that could help with your case.
Important information to bring to the court with you
In most cases the Court will have to look at a lot of papers but it is possible that you have some important papers that the court hasn’t seen and that could help your case.
Also, if you don’t bring your papers with you it will mean that you and your ICCARS representative are at a disadvantage because you will be reliant on your landlord or mortgage lender to show you their copies.
Important information to bring to the court with you includes the following:
- All the court papers you have received.
- Any notices that have been sent or given to you.
- Any letters that have been sent about arrears
- Other letters from the claimant (ie landlord or mortgage company)
- Letters and details about benefits you have claimed
- Details of your household income
- Important tenancy or mortgage documents (eg tenancy / mortgage agreement)
- Details of any agreements or offers you have made
- A list of important dates such as when you moved in and when the problem started.
About Ipswich County Court
The address of Ipswich County Court is 8 Arcade Street, IP1 1EJ. The building is not far from the Corn Exchange and Ipswich Borough Council’s Customer Service Centre.
Website details can be found at: Court Finder
The County Court Helpdesk telephone number is 0844 892 4000.
The email address for general enquiries is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Disabled parking can be arranged by contacting the court in advance.
Even though the court proceedings are a formal legal process the staff at Ipswich County Court are friendly and they will try to put you at ease.
When you arrive the first members of staff you will see will be the security staff, who are based in the entrance area. They will check the details of your hearing against the court’s list and will carry out a search of your pockets and any bags you have. They will then most likely direct you to floor two where most of the cases are heard, but occasionally hearings take place on the third floor.
When you arrive at the floor where your hearing is due to take place you will see the waiting area and a desk where the Usher sits. The Usher is responsible for checking who is attending each hearing and for taking people into the Judge’s room. You will need to let the Usher know when you arrive.
The Usher will also ask whether you would like to see the Duty Adviser before the hearing. The duty advisers are volunteers provided by ICCARS and we have a separate private room next to the waiting area, which should have an orange ICCARS sign on it. If you need to attract our attention you can enter the room if the door is open or knock if it is closed.
The Usher will allow us to discuss your case with you before the hearing. We will be able to check your paperwork with you and meet with the claimant or their representative to see whether an agreement can be reached to put to the Judge during the hearing. We can also come into the hearing with you if you like.
About the Hearing
The Court has a list of hearings that tend to be divided into 15 minute slots with 5 minutes usually being allowed for each hearing. The hearings are not restricted to 5 minutes and because some people fail to attend, it is not unusual for hearings that are attended to go on a little longer.
In cases where more time is needed the Judge can adjourn the hearing and arrange a later date so that more time can be allowed to hear the case. Sometimes the Judge will give instructions to you (the ‘Defendant’) and to the claimant about what should be done before the next hearing.
When the Judge is ready to hear your case, the Usher will take you and the claimant to the Judge’s office or court room where you will be expected to address the Judge as ‘Judge’ (The requirement to refer to District Judges as ‘sir’ or ‘madam’ was withdrawn in December 2022.)
The Usher will introduce you to the Judge and show you where to sit and the representative from ICCARS will be able to sit next to you and speak on your behalf. After the Judge has heard both sides of the case and checked the papers they will tell you what their decision is. Click here for details of the types of decision the Judge can make.
Although you will be sent written notification of the decision it can take some time to arrive by post so it is a good idea to make a note of it. This is one of the reasons why it is advisable to have someone from ICCARS with you because, as well as trying to help you to get the most favourable decision, the representative will be able to discuss and explain the decision with you afterwards.