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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Enforcement action: country court proceedings: the defendant’s response to the claim: striking out defences

Court action to strike out

Under CPR3.4(2) the court may, of its own volition, strike out the statement of case (that is either the claim or the defence) if it appears that it either:

  • discloses no reasonable ground for bringing or defending the claim
  • is an abuse of the process of the court, or likely to obstruct the just disposal of the case.

The court may also strike out a case where there has been a failure to comply with a rule, practice direction or court order.

If the court staff recognise a defence of this nature they will refer it to the district judge, who may strike out the defence.

Claimant action to strike out a defence

Both CPR rules 3.4 and 24.2 may be exercised on application by the claimant or on the court’s own initiative. If the court does not strike out a defence that either:

  • is a bare denial
  • sets out no coherent statement of facts
  • even if true, would not amount in law to a defence to the claim (for example, where it is wholly irrelevant to the claim)

you may apply to the court on N244 with the appropriate fee for the defence to be struck out stating the appropriate reason. CPR rule 24.2 enables the court to give summary judgment, so at the same time you should request summary judgment be entered under CPR24.2 for the amount of your claim, interest and the court fees and costs (including the fee for the summary judgment application).

When your application has been considered, the court may either:

  • strike out the defence and enter summary judgment
  • strike out the defence and allow you to request judgment in default
  • give any other order or direction considered appropriate. For example, the court may order the defendant to clarify or give additional information about the defence by a stated date, with the condition that if the clarification or information is not filed by that date, the defence will be struck out.

As an alternative, you may instead consider asking the defendant for more information under Part 18 CPR (DMBM665890).

Defendant action to strike out claims

You should be aware that CPR rules 3.4 and 24.2 may also be exercised by the defendant to strike out claims. You should be alert to such an application because unless you act on it quickly and properly, you run the risk of your claim being struck out.