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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Enforcement action: county court proceedings: reviewing the enforcement strategy: serving the order to attend court for questioning

When you receive the ’Order to attend court for questioning’ (form N39) from the court you must serve it on the person ordered to attend personally, at least 14 days before the hearing.

Travelling expenses (for orders to attend only)

The person ordered to attend can ask to be paid a sufficient sum to cover their travelling expenses (formerly called ‘conduct money’) to and from the court. Such a request should reach you within 7 days of service of the order.

Affidavit of service

You must wait at least 7 working days after service of the N39, to give sufficient time for a request to be made for travelling expenses, before swearing an affidavit of service (form EX550)

  • giving details of how and when the order was served
  • stating either that the person ordered to attend court has not requested payment of their travelling expenses or that the judgment creditor, that is HMRC, has paid travelling expenses in line with such a request
  • stating how much of the judgment debt remains unpaid.

You must then either file the affidavit at least 2 days before the hearing (in order that the court have enough time to link it with their papers), or produce it at the hearing.

Inability to serve the order

If you are not able to serve the order you must inform the court at least 7 working days before the date appointed for hearing. You should apply on form N446 for the order to be reissued and a fresh date set for hearing.