'Pretty boring stuff': District Judges and housing possession proceedings

DS Cowan, E Hitchings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


In this article, we demonstrate how judgecraft, though mundane in the context of housing possession proceedings in England, involves the client-processing mentality suggested in Lipsky's work on street-level bureaucracy. Although they may be regarded as mundane, the consequences of these proceedings may well be dire producing homelessness and other forms of extreme housing need. Lipsky helps us, because his work enables us to think about the factors that make up 'being a District Judge'. Having discussed the background to housing possession proceedings, including their growth, we discuss this client-processing mentality in the context of the ways in which District Judges seek to control their clients as well as processes in the courtroom. Repeat-players are moulded by individual District Judges through routines, discipline, and just knowing what is expected. In particular, crucial decisions are made as to the worthiness of claimants and occupiers. As a result, relationships of trust develop which facilitate a 'rubber stamping' approach. In the conclusion, we reflect on the value of Lipsky's work as well as its limits in this context.
Translated title of the contribution'Pretty boring stuff': District Judges and housing possession proceedings
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363 - 382
Number of pages20
JournalSocial and Legal Studies
Volume16 (3)
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2007

Bibliographical note

Publisher: Sage


Dive into the research topics of ''Pretty boring stuff': District Judges and housing possession proceedings'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this