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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Enforcement action: summary proceedings: enforcing magistrates' orders: debtor moved to a new address after a magistrates' order

New address found

If you find a new address for a debtor after the magistrates have made an order (including where a distress warrant was issued) and

  • the address is within the court’s area
  • the debtor fails to respond to your application, and
  • you have applied to enforce the order by distress warrant

the court will not normally refuse to execute a distress warrant at a different address from that shown on the order.

However, the court may wish to confirm that the debtor was aware of the summons and the order made against him. A copy of your letter to the debtor sending a copy minute of order (SP26B) to them at their new address should provide sufficient confirmation.

If the debtor’s new address remains within the bailiff’s area of operation (bailiwick)

If the debtor’s new address is within the area of the court that made the order, you should enforce the order by distress warrant in the normal way.

If a distress warrant has already been issued to the bailiff, the area in which the bailiff operates (a bailiwick) may be wider than the court’s own area. If the debtor’s new address is within the named bailiff’s bailiwick, you should tell the court or the bailiff of the new address and ask that the warrant be executed there. The court will normally agree to this.

If the debtor’s new address is outside the court and the bailiff’s areas

There is no specific way to handle cases that fall into this category. You will need to discuss with the court the best way forward. It may be possible to have the distress warrant handed to a bailiff contracted to the magistrates’ court in whose area the debtor now lives, or, with the court’s agreement, to liaise with the appropriate debt management office to suggest a bailiff who will be willing to enforce your debt. In that case, arrange with the court how the warrant should be amended to name the new bailiff on your warrant and send it to them to enforce.