Housing Trainee Solicitor
Caroline Brosnan trained with Hodge Jones & Allen and
qualified as a solicitor in September 2011. She now works in
the Housing team.
9.30am I always start the day by writing a list
of things I need to do today. It helps to focus my mind on all the
tasks that I need to do and to ensure that I don't forget to do
something important. It is especially important where we have to
comply with court directions to ensure that deadlines are not
missed and I find that it helps focus my mind. Today the list is
very long as I have to issue an application to suspend a warrant of
As my client is due to be evicted tomorrow afternoon, I need to
issue the application at court today and ask the court to list a
hearing for tomorrow morning. This morning I have to prepare the
application notice, draft my client's witness statement and
instruct a barrister to attend the hearing tomorrow morning. If the
application is unsuccessful, my client will be made homeless
tomorrow. I also have to check the CPR rules as I need to abridge
notice for the application.
I saw this client for the first time yesterday and therefore I
have only been able to get a fairly brief account of why she is
facing eviction and what she is in a position to offer at court if
the warrant is suspended. She is being evicted from her council
tenancy because she has rent arrears which have accrued after she
lost her job and was unable to keep up with rent payments. Although
she has made a claim for housing benefit, and it is likely that she
will receive full housing benefit once the Council have assessed
her entitlement, it has not yet come into payment. She is making
payments to her rent account. It is not an unusual story, but she
is facing eviction and homelessness.
11.30am I draft the statement and the
application notice so that they were ready for my client to sign
when she attends the office. I also drafted a copy of the
order that we would like the court to make so it can be attached to
the application notice. After the client had signed the
witness statement, I arranged for Clerk to attend the court to
issue the claim.
12.30pm I check through my post. I have
received a surveyors report on one of my disrepair cases which
confirms that my client's landlord is in breach of their repairing
obligations. Having checked with my supervisor about what to do, I
draft a quick letter to my client asking him to read over the
report and give me his comments. I arrange an appointment for him
to see me at the office next week to discuss it. I enclose a copy
of the report for his records.
After lunch I drafted the brief to send to the barrister who
will represent my client at the hearing
3pm I speak to a new client who rang up to see
if we can assist her. I take her details and put them on the
database. She and her three-year-old child are to be made homeless
next week as a result of rent arrears which have accrued because
the new cap on Housing Benefit means that she has to cover a £60 a
week shortfall on her rent, which she cannot afford on her income.
She doesn't know what to do. She was advised by a friend that she
should make a homeless application but when she attended the
council's Homeless Persons Unit this morning they told her that
they could not help and sent her away. I really feel sympathy for
her because when she entered the tenancy agreement, the rent was
covered in full by Housing Benefit and she didn’t know that her
entitlement would be capped in the future. I hope that we will be
able to help her.
3:15pm The clerk confirms that the courts have
listed our application to suspend the warrant of eviction for
hearing at 10 AM tomorrow morning. I quickly rang my client to
advise her to be at Court by 9:30 AM to meet me and the
4:30pm The brief is finished and approved by my
supervisor. I photocopy all the relevant papers and arranged for
the documents and the brief to be sent to the barrister by courier
so they would get it before the end of the day.
5pm I receive an e-mail from a Partner
asking me to arrange an appointment to advise the lady who I spoke
to at 3pm today. I will see her on Friday and she is really
happy when I confirm that I am able to see her this week.
5.30pm I rang the barrister to discuss the
hearing tomorrow and ensure that they received all the paperwork.
The barrister feels confident that we will be able to convince the
court that it is reasonable to suspend the warrant as this is the
first time that the client had faced eviction and she had started
to make payments towards her rent and housing benefit will come
into payment shortly, which will significantly reduce the arrears.
The barrister tells me to bring spare copies of the witness
statement to court tomorrow and so before I leave the office for
the day, I take a few copies and leave them on my desk. I’ll come
in early tomorrow and collect them and the file before going to