Nine steps for a successful eviction

When removing trespassers – whether environmental demonstrators, other activist, squatters or travellers – the authorised High Court Enforcement Officer (HCEO) will have nine key steps at the forefront of their minds to undertake the eviction in a safe and proper manner for the benefit of all involved.

1. Manage risk

An eviction can carry risks, especially where the occupants are expected to resist removal. The HCEO will assess, document, manage and mitigate the potential hazards to safety on site. This is to maximise the safety of individuals present at the site and to minimise the risk of harm to enforcement agents, police officers, occupants and the public.

2. Reduce conflict

The HCEO is also responsible for managing and reducing the potential for conflict and violent behaviour conduct as a result of the removal of the occupants, as well as assisting the police in maintaining the peace.

3. Consider human rights

Part of the planning process entails the consideration of the human rights issues, as defined in articles 2 and 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998, which might be affected by the execution of the writ of possession and the documentation for the prepared response.

4. Execute the writ

At the heart of the process is the execution of the writ of possession on the land or at the premises to which it is directed.

5. Secure the site

Once the eviction has commenced, the HCEO’s purpose is to secure the site and any occupants so as to minimise the impact of the operation upon surrounding non-associated areas, to minimise disruption to the local community and to ensure a safe working environment during the enforcement operation.

6. Remove hazards

Once on site, the HCEO and his team of enforcement agents will need to identify, manage and remove or reduce any hazards they find on site and to safely adapt the enforcement accordingly, using a rolling “real-time” risk assessment during the operation.

7. Work with the police

The HCEO and his team will work in an integrated, efficient and effective manner with the police, other public authorities and agencies, with sub-contractors and with the claimant in order to successfully execute the writ of possession.

8. Obtain vacant possession

The successful completion of the eviction will be when the HCEO obtains vacant possession of the land or premises, having used reasonable force if necessary to remove all persons and animals from the site.

9. Manage your reputation

The HCEO will plan and execute the eviction in such a way as to maintain and protect the reputation of the claimant and their agents, as well as the police and High Court Enforcement Officers.

If you would like to discuss the removal of trespassers from your, or your client’s, property or land, please do get in touch.