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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Enforcement action: country court proceedings: the defendant’s response to the claim: applying for further information or clarification from the defendant - Part 18 of the CPR

Occasionally you will receive a defence that may have substance but provides too little information for you to consider it. For example, the defendant may simply state “I do not owe this money” or say that it has been paid without providing any evidence to support the allegation (and your RP and other checks have failed to locate the payment).

Occasionally the defence will be vague and you may need further details before you can consider it. In these circumstances consider making an application under Part 18 of the CPR for the defendant to give further particulars of the defence or give further information.

Where the defendant applies for further information as part of his defence, see DMBM665990.

Preliminary request for further information

Before making an application to the court for an order under Part 18, you need to write to the defendant asking for the relevant information or clarification.

The request should be concise and confine itself to what is necessary to enable you to understand the defence and state a date by which a response is required. If the request is brief apply by letter: otherwise attach a separate document.

The request, in whatever format, must:

  • be headed with the name of the court and the title and number of the claim
  • state in its heading that it is a request made under Part 18, identify the claimant and state the date on which it is made
  • set out in a separate numbered paragraph each specific query
  • identify the document clearly where the query relates to a document
  • state the date by which you expect a response
  • allow the defendant a reasonable time (at least 14 days) in which to respond.

Defendant’s response

The defendant’s reply must be in writing, and be signed and dated by the defendant or his legal representative. It must be in the same format as the request, identify itself as a response to the request and answer all the points raised. The defendant should verify the response with a statement of truth.

The defendant should file a copy of the response together with the original request with the court.

If a defendant objects to complying with the request or any part of it, or is unable to do so within the time stated in the request, they must inform the claimant within that time.

Application for an Order under Part 18 of the CPR

If the defendant does not, for whatever reason, provide the necessary information, you will have to make formal application for an order under Part 18:

  • prepare 3 copies of a Part 18 application on plain paper. The application should set out the text of the order sought and should specify what information you need or what should be clarified. If a request has been made to the debtor, the application should describe the response. If a Request has not been made, the application should explain why not
  • send one copy of the notice to the defendant
  • take (or send) one copy to the court, with a letter confirming that you have served a copy of the notice on the defendant
  • keep a copy.

If the defendant provides you with further particulars of his or her defence you should deal with it in the normal way.

If he or she fails to supply the required details within the time limit you have specified, apply to the court for judgment (in default of the Part 18 order).