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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

From
HM Revenue & Customs
Updated
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Enforcement action: county court proceedings: preparation and service of the claim: claim forms returned undelivered

Individuals

If a claim that the court has served by post is returned undelivered, you will be sent form N216 (Notice of non-service).

Correct address shown and defendant has not moved

Where the correct address is shown on form N1 and you are confident the defendant has NOT moved, arrange to serve the claim personally and extend the time limit for service, if necessary.

Address incorrectly shown

If the address has been incorrectly completed on the form N1, you have the option of providing an amended form N1 clearly marked `Amended’ in red, showing the new address or arranging to serve the claim yourself.

Defendant moved address

New address within England and Wales

If the defendant has moved, make every attempt to trace their current whereabouts. Once found, either file an amended form N1 clearly marked `Amended’ in red, or arrange personal service.

Make sure you extend the time limit for service of the claim as necessary (DMBM665440).

New address in Scotland or Northern Ireland

If the defendant has moved to Scotland or Northern Ireland

  • write off the court fees
  • advise the court of the move out of jurisdiction and that no further action will be taken
  • transfer the debt to the appropriate office.

New address outside the United Kingdom

If the defendant has moved abroad

  • write off the court fees
  • advise the court of the move out of jurisdiction and that no further action will be taken
  • transfer the debt to the appropriate office (see DMBM560020 and DMBM560030).

Joint claims and partnership cases

In joint claims and partnership cases a claim will be served on each party to the action. If one is returned ‘RLS’ continue proceedings against the other parties.

For the unserved party, make every attempt to trace their current whereabouts. If a new address is found, ask the court to serve the claim at the new address.

Even if you are attempting to trace an unserved party or parties, do not delay any action against the other party.

Limited Companies

Part 6.9 of the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 gives a claimant a choice of where to serve a claim on a limited company. This may be either at the company’s principal office (that is to say the company’s registered office), or a place of business of the company which has a real connection with the claim.

You should invariably ask for service at a company’s registered office. However, where a claim is returned undelivered, arrange to have it served at the company’s place of business provided this is within England and Wales. Service by post at a director’s private address would not normally constitute good service.

CCBC cases

Current or last known address correct

The CCBC work on the assumption that all defendant addresses provided by the claimant are either the current or last known address. They will not therefore change the status on their systems and the claim will show as being served. Where the judgment has already been entered that will stand and enforcement may continue. If you deem that the address is correct no action is required.

Current or last known address incorrect - and judgment has not been entered

However in cases where you accept that the address is incorrect and judgment has not been entered send notification through to the CCCU that the claim has not been served.

Following re-service by the claimant, provide a Certificate of Posting and the new address to the CCBC, to let them update their databases.

Current or last known address incorrect - judgment has been entered

In cases where the judgment has been entered the claimant must

  • cancel any enforcement and
  • send notification through to the CCCU,

    • that the claim has not been served and that
    • the judgment should be set aside.

There is no application fee in these cases.