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Part 55 - possession claims

This content applies to England & Wales

The Part 55 procedure for claims for possession of land.

The Part 55 procedure must be used in all claims for possession of land. Applications for demotion and suspension orders are subject to Part 55 if coupled with possession claims, but if brought without possession proceedings they are subject to the procedure in Part 65.[1]

In some respects, Part 55 is like the Part 8 fixed date procedure explained in the section on Part 8 - alternative procedure.

Claim form

Specific claim forms are used, as follows:

  • most possession claims: N5
  • relief against forfeiture: N5A
  • accelerated procedure against assured shorthold tenants: N5B.

There are also specific particulars of claim forms for some of the most common claims:

  • possession of rented residential premises: N119
  • possession of mortgaged residential premises: N120
  • trespassers: N121.

Procedure

Most possession claims follow a fixed date procedure.[2] The court fixes a hearing date when it issues the claim form. The date must be no less than 28 days after issue, except in trespass claims where the court papers must be served no less than five days (if residential property) or two days (other land) before the hearing. There are specific rules for serving the claim in trespass cases, and for notifying occupiers in mortgage cases. The defendant is not required to file an acknowledgment of service or defence, but, except in trespass cases, her/his failure to do so may be taken into account when liability for costs is considered.

All witness statements must be filed and served at least two days before the hearing, except in trespass cases where the claimant's statements are filed with the claim form at the outset.

At the hearing, the court may determine the claim or may make case management directions, which may include allocation to a track (see the section on Allocating a case to a track for more information).

Accelerated possession cases against assured shorthold tenants use a specialised procedure.[3] A hearing only takes place if, having seen the claim form and any defence filed, the judge is not satisfied either that the claim form was served or that the claimant has proved that he has a right to possession under section 21 of the Housing Act 1988.

An application for an interim possession order, an alternative remedy against trespassers under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, uses a specialised procedure.[4] This procedure provides an initial hearing not less than three days after issue and, if an order is made at that hearing, a further hearing not less than seven days later.

For information about defending a claim for possession, see the page on Responding to claim for possession. The various defence forms are listed in the Essential links to the right of this page. The appropriate defence form depends on the type of claim form used.

[1] Civil Procedure Rules, rule 65.11 - 65.20.

[2] Civil Procedure Rules, Part 55 and Practice Direction 55.

[3] Civil Procedure Rules, Part 55 and Practice Direction 55.

[4] Civil Procedure Rules, Part 55 and Practice Direction 55.

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