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Keep your DJ happy

Graeme Smith advises on how to handle a possession claim in a contested hearing

18 February 2005

Now you are an expert on consent orders, bundles of documents, and witness statements (having read the previous articles in this series), you decide to tackle something more ambitious – a contested hearing. And what better place to start than a possession claim? Your district judge (YDJ) will probably have a substantial list of claims for possession by landlords and mortgagees, with only a few minutes allocated for each hearing. To make life easier, the defendant is nowhere to be seen. So you may be lulled into a false sense of security, rashly thinking that you can just pop into chambers and have a brief friendly chat with YDJ, and emerge triumphant with your possession order. But, horror of horrors, YDJ is pedantic and insists on some evidence. Result: you depart from chambers wondering how you will explain to your client the fact that the case has been adjourned despite the ever-increasing arrears of rent or mortgage instalments. Hearing The key to avoiding th...

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