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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Enforcement action: county court proceedings: reviewing the enforcement strategy: establishing the judgment debtor’s financial position

Where you cannot enforce a judgment by your planned enforcement strategy, it is essential that you obtain comprehensive up-to-date information about the judgment debtor’s financial position. Where possible the judgment debtor should be interviewed either in person or by telephone. The interviewer must be prepared to attend a judgment summons hearing later if those proceedings are taken.

You should try to persuade the judgment debtor to make a voluntary disclosure of his or her assets and means and record the information on a ‘Statement of County Court Judgment Debtor’s Circumstances’.

Use this form only at personal interview (the judgment debtor must be invited to sign the statement). Do not hand or send this form to the judgment debtor to complete or complete it over the phone. 

Where the judgment debtor refuses to cooperate, you should warn him or her that you will apply for an order to attend court to obtain information (form N316). See DMBM666600.

This will mean that he or she will have to attend court to answer questions, on oath, and failure to attend can result in their arrest and imprisonment. In most cases this will be enough to secure the judgment debtor’s cooperation but if the judgment debtor does not co-operate, you must be prepared to do what you have threatened.

Completing the ‘Statement of County Court Judgment Debtor’s Circumstances’

Use the statement only after judgment has been entered, when the judgment debtor provides information voluntarily at interview.

If you complete this form fully and properly, it will provide you with sufficient information about the judgment debtor’s financial position for you to choose the best method of enforcement.

Once you have completed the form invite the judgment debtor to read and sign it. Do not attempt to force the judgment debtor to sign the statement if they are unwilling to do so. Information on this form may be used as evidence later if judgment summons proceedings are taken.