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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Enforcement action: CCP: general: proceedings in the county court

County court proceedings (CCP) may be described simply as the use of a legal process to secure payment of an outstanding debt. Compared with other means of enforcement - distraint and summary proceedings - CCP cases can take longer to clear and involve more time and work. But it can be a very effective enforcement method, particularly when used against large businesses and ‘professional’ taxpayers who would not welcome a county court judgment against them.

You will often find CCP described as an action or actions. The rules for conduct of actions brought before the civil courts are contained in the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 (CPR).

There are two ways to bring an action in the county court

  • for recovery of a fixed amount of money under Part 7 of the Civil Procedure Rules
  • for any other form of redress (including unqualified damages, orders for eviction and so on) under Part 8 of the Civil Procedure Rules.

Debt technical offices will always start an action under Part 7 of the Civil Procedure Rules.

See also DMBM665100 ‘Parties to the action’.

You should only commence an action in the county court where the defendant lives in England and Wales.

The county court process

It may be helpful to consider actions as being in three parts:

  • starting proceedings - issuing the claim and serving it on the defendant
  • entry of judgment - obtaining the court’s decision in your favour
  • enforcement of judgment - using the court’s powers to enforce payment in line with the court’s order.