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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

From
HM Revenue & Customs
Updated
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Enforcement action: country court proceedings: the defendant’s response to the claim: defendant files an acknowledgment of service

The court rules allow defendants to file an Acknowledgment of Service if they need more than 14 days to prepare a defence. Filing such an acknowledgment extends the time limit for filing a defence to 28 days from the deemed date of service of the claim form.

This rule is intended to be used primarily where matters are complex but the provision can sometimes be used by defendants simply as a stalling tactic to delay matters, even where there may be no intention of defending the claim. You should therefore be particularly alert in these cases and ensure that a strict B/F is applied.

The court rules also allow defendants to file an Acknowledgment of Service if they wish to contest the court’s jurisdiction to deal with the matter though in practice this is rarely used.

Defence not filed

If the defendant files an Acknowledgment of Service but does not subsequently file a defence within 28 days from the deemed date of service of the claim form, you should request judgment in default immediately the time has expired (DMBM665640).

Jurisdiction dispute not filed

If the defendant does not file an application to dispute the jurisdiction of the court within 14 days of the date of filing the Acknowledgment of Service, you should request judgment in default immediately the time has expired (DMBM665640).