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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Enforcement action: county court proceedings: warrants of execution: if the warrant of execution is not executed

Warrant of execution not executed

Where the court bailiff cannot execute the warrant for any reason, for example

  • they cannot gain entry to the premises, or
  • the judgment debtor’s goods are of insufficient value to justify the cost of removal and sale

they have the discretion to accept payment by instalments.

The bailiff does not work to fixed rules as to the number of instalments or period of time, but will take a common sense and economic approach, bearing in mind that a warrant of execution remains live for 12 months from the date of issue. The bailiff may sometimes approach you for agreement to accept payment by instalments.

If no such offer is made, or the bailiff decides not to accept the offer, the court will send you form N317 (Bailiff’s report). When you receive a form N317 indicating that the warrant cannot be executed, because for instance the judgment debtor has no effects the bailiff can levy on, consider if you have evidence that the judgment debtor does have sufficient effects.

If so

  • return a copy of form N317 to the court with a suitable note, otherwise
  • consider enforcing the judgment debt, including the unpaid application fee for the warrant, by other means.

Reissue of warrant


A warrant of execution can be executed at any time within 12 months of issue. See DMBM666900 for further details.