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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Debt and return pursuit: PAYE recovery and associated processes: special arrangements/schemes: barristers’ chambers schemes

There can be two barristers’ schemes in operation; the barristers’ chambers PAYE scheme for chambers staff (dealt with here) and a separate scheme for the senior clerk (dealt with at DMBM523410). These will normally both be administered by the senior clerk.

Barristers’ chambers PAYE schemes

The advice that follows only applies to barristers’ chambers PAYE schemes and not barristers’ senior clerk PAYE schemes.

To identify these cases the employer name should always contain the word ‘Chambers’, for example, ‘J Smith QC (Chambers)’.

These are statutory schemes with normal enforcement paths. As most chambers have no assets, county court proceedings (England & Wales), summary warrant (Scotland) or summary proceedings (Northern Ireland) will be the most appropriate enforcement option unless monetary limitations indicate consideration of insolvency.

Payments

Like most employers, these have an option to pay quarterly if the amounts due over the year will be on average less than £1,500 per month. Monthly payments must be made for amounts over this.

Where payment has not been made

The potential embarrassment of action against a member of this profession means that such proceedings are likely to be very effective in producing payment as the consequences can be very serious for barristers.

If a phone number is held:

  • phone the barrister’s senior clerk (note: if the scheme has been set up in the name of the Head of Chambers, you will need to ask for the senior clerk where the name is not known)
  • request immediate payment
  • advise we will have to consider starting legal proceedings if payment is not forthcoming
  • record action history on IDMS
  • B/F the case for 14 calendar days.

If a phone number is not held or you are unable to make telephone contact:

  • issue the letter at PAYE Enforcement - PAYE310A (Barrister Chambers Warning Letter) (from SEES)
  • record action history on IDMS
  • B/F the case for 14 calendar days.

Where payment is still not forthcoming

Where despite your efforts payment is still not made you should commence proceedings.

The potential embarrassment of legal action against a member of this profession means that such proceedings are likely to be very effective in producing payment as the consequences can be very serious for barristers.

Once you have commenced proceedings, payment is very likely to follow.