THE SEQUEL: RAJINDER V THE HIGH COURT OF JUSTICE AND GUESS W

Posted: 08/06/2018

Around mid-May 2018, I was instructed to evict between 6-100 squatters from an elderly peoples home, which had been run as a brothel; a tattoo parlour and being used to grow drugs. If that wasn’t bad enough, they were professional squatters and well known to the police. They had the audacity to activate the premises utility services; removed every scrap of metal that came into their hands, (including fixtures and fittings), and sought to threaten the warden who visited the premises on a daily basis whilst they lay empty. The knock on effect of this was that they left my client to foot the bill in making use of the gas, water, and electrical services at the premises. The pressure was on..


In all haste, I proceeded to issue proceedings in the High Court, on the basis that the circumstances demanded it, not least on the basis that they were causing a public disturbance to neighbouring residents, including the elderly. I waited for a hearing date which should have arrived within days. Alas no hearing date arrived, despite chasing the court for it.


In the event - some 10 days later – having called the court, I was told (by its own admission), whilst the court had issued the proceedings, it had then failed to process the Application! Expressing the urgency of the matter to the Clerk, particularly, given the time period which had lapsed since the application had been filed with the court, and the ongoing issues at the premises, I then received notification that the Master had decided that the Application was unsuitable for the High Court. The choice was that either the Application would be dismissed, or we could have it transferred to the County Court to be dealt with. In the latter instance, I was informed there would be many weeks delay before it would reach the County Court.


What absolute nonsense!! – I had undertaken sufficient research to be confident in the knowledge that it was entirely right and proper that the proceedings be heard in the High Court. As a result, I called the court; spoke with the Master’s secretary to question why the above decision had been made, but failing to receive a suitable response, I made immediate representations to the court demanding that it listed the application for a hearing without further delay, and setting out the precise reasons why it was suitable to be heard at that court, and requested a decision be made that day.


It paid off – and shortly afterwards – I received a call from the court to say that the hearing was going to take place that week, provided I could get the papers served on the squatters THAT day. Thus, with no time to lose, and engaging the services of County Enforcement Ltd, the proceedings were served at the premises that day. The actual hearing then took place, and the court granted the Order which I had sought, ie; that the squatters be evicted forthwith. On top of that, (and quite unusually) despite my client not being immediately entitled to an Order for costs, (but having requested one), we also received an Order that they be paid by the squatters too!


Subsequently the squatters were evicted from the premises on a mass scale, involving canine units, to ensure that the squatters did leave the premises, and to secure them from re-entry.
Again – happy clients – another example of Jarmans delivering a service where it “punches above its weight”. It doesn’t matter if we are faced with an entourage of opposition in any given case; it doesn’t matter if we have to argue with the court to get a case heard; it doesn’t matter if we have to challenge our own profession for the client’s benefit– at Jarmans the client comes first, and we will do all we can in our power to ensure we provide a quality service to them - that is what makes us different from the rest.
We are fearless!!


Rajinder Rai
Dispute Resolution Solicitor

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