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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Enforcement action: country court proceedings: the defendant’s response to the claim: defence on the grounds that the debt has been paid

‘States paid’ defence

Where the debtor files a defence to your claim alleging that they have paid the debt (a ‘states paid’ defence) the court will send you form N236 [Notice of Defence that Amount claimed has been paid]. The form N236 invites you to either:

  • continue with the action if you disagree with the debtor’s allegation
  • withdraw the case if you agree the debtor’s allegation is correct.

You should investigate the position thoroughly and apply the chronological test as in DMBM665670.

Replying to the court

Time limit

The form N236 specifies a date by which you should reply. You should return the form N236 to the court advising whether you wish to proceed with or withdraw the claim. An experienced officer may sign the form under the direction of a debt manager.

If you fail to respond in time, the court will stay the action and you will have to apply to the court, and pay a fee, that cannot be recovered from the debtor, to have the stay lifted.

Pursuing the claim

If wish to continue with your claim the court will list the case for hearing, in the defendant’s home court where appropriate.

Withdrawing the claim

If the defence is valid, you should complete form N236 to withdraw your claim. Arrange for any associated interest charge to be amended, if appropriate, and treat the court fees as irrecoverable.

CCBC cases

For CCBC cases:

  • highlight the master work item on TIS
  • click on the [ Proceedings ] button
  • click on the [ OK ] button on the Proceedings Details General screen.
  • click on the [ Forms ] option from the menu bar on the Proceedings History screen
  • click on the [ Withdrawn ] menu item
  • B/F the case as appropriate.