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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Enforcement action: summary proceedings: hearings and orders in the magistrates' court: after the SP hearing - England and Wales

Serving the order

If the debtor did not attend the hearing, you must serve the order on the defendant before you can enforce it. To do this when the court return the two signed copy minutes of the order (form SP26B), you should:

  • send one copy SP26B to the debtor with a letter to:

    • tell them the terms of the order
    • ask for immediate payment
    • include a warning that interest continues to accrue until payment
    • tell them the time and date of the hearing at which you will apply for a distress warrant if payment is not made
  • keep the other copy SP26B with the case papers
  • complete the certificate of service on your copy of form SP26B, or use the certificate of service form or list supplied on the CD-ROM. Insert the name of the Post Office or Sorting Office that collects your outgoing mail and
  • update the appropriate computer records, giving a 7 day B/F.

If, exceptionally, the court significantly delays signing the order, note the delay on the papers for QA/QC.

If the debtor does not comply with the order

If the debtor does not pay within 7 days of issuing the SP26B you should contact the debtor personally to:

  • request payment (together with any outstanding returns)
  • warn the debtor:

    • of your intention to apply for a distress warrant at the imminent hearing
    • the only way to prevent this happening is to comply with the order immediately.

If for any reason you wish to delay your application for a distress warrant, you should write to the debtor with a new date and time for the hearing as appropriate.