HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

DMBM660060 - Summary proceedings: limits

There are limits to the age and size of debts that can be enforced in themagistrates’ court. Currently the total of debts entered into the magistrates’court must be less than

  • £2,000 and
  • 12 months old.

The age of the debt is determined from the date at which the cause of action arose, inaccordance with S127 Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980.

For example, in an SA case, the date for a determination will be the date of issue of thenotice and for an enquiry amendment it will be 30 days from the date of issue. The causeof action can move forward from the original due date of the POA, if the amount due forthe POA was established by determination or the return to the latest of the

  • statutory due date
  • date of any determination and
  • date the return is received.

Where the total of outstanding debts exceeds £2000, do not take multiple actions forrecovery. That is, do not split a debt up into its constituent parts in order to takeseparate SP actions.

You must observe the time and monetary limits strictly in all cases. Magistrates’ ordersobtained in cases commenced after the time limits have expired are void and cannotbe enforced.