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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Enforcement action: country court proceedings: appearing in court: the day of the hearing

On the day of the hearing

  • ensure that you dress appropriately
  • arrive at court in good time
  • inspect the court list and advise the court usher of your attendance.

What you need to take with you

When attending the court you should take with you

  • your identity card
  • the papers, on which you intend relying, as appropriate including

    • the evidence of means (DMBM666170) and / or
    • the certificate(s) of debt (DMBM615420)
  • a mobile telephone (to enable you to contact your office to process a payment, if offered, by debit card).


Before attending court make sure that

  • an imminent proceedings list has been prepared and displayed in a prominent position in the office
  • an RP check has been carried out (DMBM615040)
  • where accruing interest is included in your claim, you are able to explain how the additional interest between the issue of the claim and the hearing date has been calculated
  • your mobile telephone is either switched off or ‘silent’.

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Discussing the case with the defendant beforehand

Hearings before entry of judgment

If the defendant or their representative attends a hearing before judgment has been entered, it can often be useful to see if you can resolve any areas of dispute or difficulty with the defendant or their representative before the hearing is called.

If there is time, you may also obtain details of the defendant’s financial circumstances and any other information likely to be of use in helping you to achieve the best possible result.

Hearings after judgment has been entered

If a judgment debtor attends a hearing after judgment has been entered, especially in the case of a judgment summons hearing, you must take a different approach. It is important to avoid any suggestion that you are coercing the judgment debtor into taking a particular course, or that you are undermining the authority of the court (for example you must not discuss the judgment debtor’s financial circumstances with them before a hearing to obtain that information under oath).

If the judgment debtor approaches you, you may listen to them and take notes, but do not comment or agree to any proposals outside the court room.