What happens in court?

Find out about what happens in a court hearing if your lender wants to repossess your home.

You should always go to any court hearing and try to get advice before you go. If this is not possible some courts will have duty advisers who can help you.

Where are possession hearings held?

Mortgage possession hearings usually take place in your local county court. The papers you get from the court will tell you the address.

The hearing usually take place in a room called chambers. This could be the judge’s private room or a courtroom.

Use the Gov.uk Court finder to find details of your local court.

Why you should go to a repossession hearing

At a court repossession hearing a judge decides if your mortgage lender can repossess your home.

You have more chance of keeping your home if you attend the court hearing.

You can explain your situation to the judge. If you have an adviser they may be able to speak for you.

Being taken to county court is different to going to a criminal court. You can’t be sent to prison.

What happens when you arrive at court

Arrive at the court before the time of your hearing. If you arrive late, the court may already have made an order to repossess your home.

When you arrive:

  • tell the court staff that you are there to attend the hearing
  • ask to see the duty adviser if you don’t have an adviser or representative to speak on your behalf
  • find out in which room your hearing is taking place.

Be prepared to wait. There are usually other cases being heard.

Court duty advisers

Many courts have a duty adviser or solicitor who may be able to give you last-minute advice. This service is called the court duty scheme.

Ask the court staff when you arrive if there is a court duty scheme. The scheme is free of charge (it is funded by the Legal Aid Agency) and the advisers might be from Shelter Cymru, but not always.

A duty adviser can:

  • give you last-minute advice
  • try to negotiate an agreement with your lender’s representative
  • speak for you in court.

Arrive at the court early if you want to speak to a duty adviser. Take any relevant documents and letters with you.

You can’t rely on getting help on the day of your hearing as there isn’t always an adviser on duty. It’s better if you can prepare for your court hearing.

Who is allowed into the court hearing?

A district judge hears your case. The judge checks that everyone in the room is there for the correct hearing.

The general public are not allowed in.

If you have an adviser who is not a solicitor, they can speak on your behalf if they are part of the court’s duty scheme. If your adviser is not part of a duty scheme, they must ask the judge for permission to speak for you.

You can usually take a friend or family member with you into the courtroom to help you if you don’t have an adviser or solicitor. Ask the judge’s permission if you want your friend to speak on your behalf.

How the court makes a decision

Your lender’s solicitor explains what order the lender wants the court to make.

You or your adviser can ask the lender or their solicitor questions.

You or your adviser tell the court your arguments against repossession (defences).

The judge may ask you or your lender’s solicitor questions.

The judge makes a decision based on what the law says and on evidence from you and your landlord.

Phone an adviser

If you have a housing problem, call our expert housing advice helpline
0345 075 5005

Email an adviser

If you have a non-urgent problem and would like to speak to an advisor
email us

We are sorry that we cannot provide this information in Welsh, however if you would like to speak to an adviser in Welsh please contact 0345 075 5005.

This page was last updated on: April 19, 2018

Shelter Cymru acknowledges the support of Shelter in allowing us to adapt their content. The information contained on this site is updated and maintained by Shelter Cymru and only gives general guidance on the law in Wales. It should not be regarded or relied upon as a complete or authoritative statement of the law.