When to start your possession claim in the High Court

The majority of possession claims will start in the county court, rather than the High Court. However, there are some specific circumstances where the case may start there.

It is important to be certain that your case complies before starting as, if it is rejected by the High Court, you will have to start right from the beginning in the county court and may lose valuable time. The court will normally disallow the costs of starting the claim or a transfer if the court transfers the claim on its own initiative.

Starting the claim in the High Court

There are three sets of circumstances which may justify starting a claim in the High Court. Land or property with a very high value will not, in itself, be justification, but may be taken into account along with other factors.

The three reasons given in Practice Direction 55A, supplementing CPR Part 55 are:

  • There are complicated disputes of fact
  • There are points of law of general importance
  • The claim is against trespassers and there is a substantial risk of public disturbance or of serious harm to persons or property which properly require immediate determination

It is worth noting that High Court claims for the possession of land subject to a mortgage will be assigned to the Chancery Division.

Claims against trespassers

This is the area where the National Eviction Team specialises and we have enforced many high-profile cases where the claim started in the High Court.


Of course, claims started in the county court can still be transferred to the High Court to obtain a writ of possession for enforcement by High Court Enforcement Officers (HCEO) – the powers that we have are the same in either case. Where the writ is against persons unknown, leave is not required to transfer the possession order up to the High Court.

Please do get in touch if you have any questions or would like any further information.