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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Enforcement action: country court proceedings: the defendant’s response to the claim: defendant does not respond to the claim - judgment in default

Experience shows that most defendants fail to take any action within the time available to them. Where both:

  • the defendant, or defendants where there is more than one, has not filed an Acknowledgment of Service (DMBM665630) or a defence
  • the time for filing has expired

you are entitled to judgment in default under Part 12 of the CPR.

CCBC cases

Judgment in default will be entered automatically 22 days after issue of the claim in cases issued through the CCBC. The 22 day B/F period between the issue of the claim and the entry of judgment includes the normal 14 day B/F period from the deemed date of service (5 days after the date of issue) plus a few extra days to allow for weekends and Bank Holidays.

Interest to judgment and additional fixed costs (where appropriate) will be calculated automatically by IDMS. A fixed cost work item will be created by IDMS. The fixed cost will appear on the Cost Report and you must enter it onto SAFE using the SAFE charge type ‘Fixed Costs (CCBC)’.

IDMS does not have a de-minimis amount for the inclusion of interest amounts in the claim or at judgment.

Manual cases

It is important that you request judgment immediately the 14 days have expired. If not, you are allowing the defendant(s) more time to file a late defence, which may be time consuming and expensive to resolve.

You must organise your work so that you request judgment immediately the 14 days have expired, calculated from the deemed date of service (DMBM665390). This is the day after that given to the defendant to reply on the N205A. The higher debt manager should ensure that a robust system is in place to make sure that applications for judgment in default are made at the earliest possible opportunity.

Where there is more than one defendant in the action, each must be pursued separately and judgment must be entered against each one.

How to request judgment in default

To request judgment in default you should complete either:

  • the bottom part of form N205A [Notice of issue (specified amount)]
  • form N225 [Request for Judgment and reply to Admission (specified amount)]
  • form N30 [Judgment for Claimant (in default)].

Order for payment of the judgment debt

Besides asking for judgment to be entered, you need to ask the court to order the defendant to pay the judgment. Normally you should ask the court to order payment ‘forthwith’ but exceptionally, where you know the defendant has goods that would be susceptible to a warrant of execution, you may specify payment by monthly instalments in the amount you believe you may be able to recover by warrants of execution.


Calculate interest from the date of your claim to the date of your application for judgment and enter it on the form.

Fixed costs

Where a fixed cost has been claimed at the stage of entering the case into court:

  • calculate the fixed cost at judgment by reference to the table at DMBM668755 
  • enter the fixed cost amount manually onto SAFE using the SAFE charge type ‘Fixed Costs (CCP)’ and it will flow to IDMS
  • manually link the fixed cost work item to the CCP case once it is in IDMS
  • enter the relevant fixed cost at judgment amount in the appropriate ‘Solicitor’s costs’ box on form N205A, N225 or N30 as necessary.

Note: For cases that were entered into court manually prior to 10 April 2012 and therefore no fixed cost was included in the claim, a ‘fixed cost at judgment’ should not be claimed.

Date of birth

You should include the defendant’s date of birth (if known) on an application for judgment. If you do not have the date of birth the court will accept your application without it. A reason for omitting the date of birth is not required.

Action to take

After recalculating the interest and fixed cost:

  • prepare an imminent proceedings list
  • carry out an RP check (DMBM615040)
  • sign the application
  • send or take the form to the court (no fee is payable).

An experienced officer may sign the application under the direction of a debt manager.

The court will usually enter judgment within 10 days of your application, though this may vary depending on the court’s workload at that particular time.

Once judgment has been entered, you should follow the guidance at DMBM666520 onwards.

Time limit for entry of judgment

If for any reason you do not apply for judgment within 6 months from the end of the period for the defendant to file a defence, the court will stay the action in accordance with CPR15.11.

Stays of proceedings

A stay imposes a halt on the proceedings. To have a stay lifted you will have to make a formal application to the court on form N244, and pay a fee that you cannot recover from the defendant.