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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

CCP: action after judgment obtained: applications by judgment debtor to set judgment aside

You should examine carefully all applications for consent to set aside a judgment. Normally, you should not sign the consent application; instead you should return it to the applicant suggesting that the application is made direct to the court. However, you should tell the applicant whether or not you will oppose the application and, if opposing, your reasons for doing so.

Where you do not intend to oppose the application, there may be rare occasions where it would be appropriate to sign a consent application. For example, to insist on the matter being referred to the court would cause a delay which would badly affect the applicant. Such cases should be referred to a debt manager or above to consider. If need be, seek assistance from the EIS Bradford CCP Technical Team.

Common reasons for application

Listed below are the more common reasons for a judgment debtor to apply for judgment set aside.

Particulars of claim not received

The judgment debtor may apply in accordance with CPR13 to have a judgment entered in default (under CPR12) set aside where they did not receive the particulars of claim in time.

Late payment

Late payment of the judgment debt is not considered grounds for setting aside a judgment that has been correctly entered and you should oppose any application made on those grounds.

Debt ‘extinguished’

In certain circumstances a tax debt may be extinguished or reduced to nil (for example, because the debtor has submitted tax returns). If you receive an application to set judgment aside for this reason, you should not oppose the application.

However, where there is another liability included in your claim, you should oppose the application.

Informing the applicant

Where you intend to oppose an application for judgment to be set aside, you should write to the applicant to advise them of this and your reasons for opposing. Your letter should

  • confirm that the action was correctly started
  • confirm that the judgment was properly entered against the judgment debtor
  • address all the arguments put forward for setting judgment aside

You should send a copy of your letter to the court and in cases where the reply is to someone acting on behalf of the judgment debtor, typically a solicitor, you should also send a copy of the reply to the judgment debtor.

Credit repair companies

Credit repair companies attempt to repair a person’s credit status by legally removing county court judgments, whether the actions have been settled or not. The most popular method used by such companies is to apply to have the judgment set aside on the grounds that the claim was not received. Initially they will try to do this by consent of the claimant before applying to the court.

If court staff spot applications that appear to have no basis of fact, they will refer them to the district judge.