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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Debt and return pursuit: Child Benefit overpayments: enforcement: type of proceedings and right to sue

Type of proceedings

An action in the county court for recovery of a child benefit overpayment is brought by way of an application under Part 70.5 of the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 (commonly known as CPR70.5).

The application is made ‘ex parte’, which means that there is no hearing.

CPR70.5 is a modified form of county court proceedings and is often used by bodies that have no separate enforcement power. This is usually a cheaper method of enforcement and there is no mechanism for the debtor to either defend or admit the liability.

The court’s order can be given by an officer of the court and does not have to go before a District Judge.

HMRC’s right to sue in the county court

The legislation that authorises you to make application under CPR70.5 in the county court is contained in section 71(10)(a) of the Social Security Administration Act 1992 (SSAA).

Section 71(10) Social Security Administration Act 1992 says:

‘Any amount recoverable under the provisions mentioned in subsection (8) above

(a) if the person from whom it is recoverable resides in England and Wales and the county court so orders, shall be recoverable by execution issued from the county court or otherwise as if it were payable under an order of that court’.

This means that if a customer with a child benefit overpayment lives in England or Wales you can apply to the county court for an order to enforce payment.