Into the Unknown – High Court Writ of Possession



We speak to clients on a regular basis, who all have the same challenge…


‘What to do when ‘persons unknown’ AKA trespassers are found on land or in commercial property.’


So, what do you do?


Luckily, we’re just about as skilled in this area as it’s possible to be, and we have a great deal of experience in dealing with squatters, activists, travellers and other trespassers too, so let us explain what’s involved…


In order for us to act, we need a High Court Writ of Possession against the persons unknown, and then we can begin the process.


To get the ball rolling, possession claims like this are usually started in county court, or via Possession Claim Online (PCOL) and they usually originate from any or all of the following directives from Practice Direction 55A (1.3)


1. There are complicated disputes of fact;

2. There are points of law of general importance; or

3. The claim is against trespassers and there is a substantial risk of public disturbance or of serious harm to persons or property which properly require immediate determination.


A county court possession order requires no additional permission for it to be transferred up the High Court, as the writ is made against ‘persons unknown’, even though we, as #TeamCES, usually have a good idea as to who these persons are…


That’s nearly always a good thing though, as it’s where our onus on strong relationships and mutual respect come in handy.


An N293A form transfers the writ up to the High Court, with a £71 court fee that pays for sealing the writ.

It’s at this point, that #TeamCES can really get to work on enforcement.


Our commitment to high standards ensures that each assignment is fully risk assessed and meticulously planned, so that every single stakeholder’s safety is kept at the forefront of our operations. This includes our agents and the trespassers themselves, as well as any third parties such as the police or members of the public.


It is not common practice to serve notice of eviction in trespass cases, however, as with all of our assignments, we operate on a case-by-case basis. As you can probably imagine, there needs to be an emphasis on the ‘element of surprise’ for our operations to be as impactful and successful as we aim for them to be.


This said, we always look for the signs of vulnerability and it is our absolute commitment to do things properly, meaning that occupants are always given ample time to pack their belongings and look after their families properly. From the landowner/ client’s perspective, we conduct thorough checks of the site to ensure all trespassers are removed.


Should trespassers enter within 12 months of the execution of the writ of possession, land or property owners can apply for a writ of restitution, which means the client doesn’t need to start the whole process over from the beginning.


In terms of trespassers in residential properties, this is now a police matter, since squatting in residential property became a criminal offence in 2012.


We know just how frustrating and worrying it can be to have trespassers on your land or in your property, and for many of our clients, it really does feel like a step ‘into the unknown…’


…which is why we’re offering this conversational break down of how the whole process works, from where to get started, right through to when we get involved and how we eventually bring things to a positive conclusion.


If you’d like #TeamCES to help bring about your positive conclusion, just get in touch with a member of the team today.

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