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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Enforcement action: country court proceedings: appearing in court: preparing for pre-trial reviews

Initial preparations

You should prepare thoroughly for the Pre-trial review [PTR] by

  • reading through the case in the office
  • referring to the relevant guidance
  • deciding precisely how you intend to answer the defence (in most cases you will have already sent a formal reply to the defence (DMBM665770)
  • making notes of the key points
  • making sure you are fully conversant with the finality principles, if appropriate
  • familiarising yourself with the appropriate legislation
  • taking copies of anything to which you may want to refer in court
  • identifying which of the following principal regulations (and any amending regulations) you may need to quote during the hearing

    • Income Tax (Pay As You Earn) Regulations 2003
    • Income Tax (Sub-Contractors in the Construction Industry) Regulations 1993
    • Social Security (Contributions) Regulations 2001
    • Statutory Sick Pay (General) Regulations 1982
  • making sure that you can identify the particular Regulations that were in force when the liability arose.

Judges and district judges are bound to pay regard to an Act of Parliament merely on it being cited to them. They can refer to it from a Queen’s Printer’s copy or one of the collections of statutes available to them.

Final preparations

You should prepare an imminent proceedings list and, on the morning of the day of the PTR,

  • carry out an RP check, and note any payment on the papers (if you find that the claim has been paid in full, telephone the court, as you may not have to attend.)(DMBM615040)
  • prepare an imminent proceedings list
  • complete the certificate(s) of debt
  • ensure that the certificate(s) of debt, the notice of issue and any other exhibits or documents are securely with the papers
  • prepare two copies of a calculation of any interest accrued from the date of commencing proceedings to the date of the hearing
  • make sure you know the nature of any penalty included in the claim and note on the papers

    • whether the penalty relates to failure to render returns (and, if so, the year(s) involved) or failure to comply with a Commissioners’ notice
    • whether the charge relates to an initial or a continuing penalty
    • the section of the Act under which the penalty arises.