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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Enforcement action: summary proceedings: hearings and orders in the magistrates' court: attending the magistrates' court

Good preparation is essential. You should always:

  • read the case papers thoroughly beforehand and confirm all the RP checks have been completed properly
  • note the main points
  • decide how to answer any potentially difficult issues and
  • calculate interest to the date of the hearing
  • have with you:

    • your collector’s warrant
    • certificates of debt and computations of interest, if you know they will be needed
    • two copies of the ‘copy minute of order’ (form SP26B) for the magistrates to sign
    • the relevant papers
    • a copy of any legislation you may need to refer to
    • a mobile telephone (this enables you to contact the office to process a payment, if offered, by debit card)
  • ensure your mobile phone is either switched off or ‘silent’
  • be early and allow sufficient time to find the right court.

Interviewing the debtor before the hearing

It is worthwhile speaking to any debtor who attends court before the hearing.

Tell the debtor that you will be asking for an order for payment forthwith. If the debtor asks for time to pay and you consider that it is appropriate, say that you will assure the bench that you will stay enforcement of the order as long as the debtor complies with the agreement.