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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Enforcement action: county court proceedings: warrants of execution: requests for indemnification

Occasionally the court may ask you for indemnity in respect of costs and damages that may be incurred when executing a warrant.

Insufficient effects / address uncertain

Such requests will generally be:

  • where the bailiff thinks that a judgment debtor’s goods are of insufficient value to cover the cost of removal and sale, but the creditor (in other words, HMRC), disagrees and insists that the sale goes ahead
  • where the bailiff intends to force entry into a non-domestic property in order to execute a warrant, but there is some doubt about the address.

It is not HMRC practice to give such an indemnity in these circumstances. You should tell the court manager that you wish to withdraw the warrant. Treat the fee for the warrant as irrecoverable and enforce the judgment by another method (unless further goods come to light before the warrant expires).

Removal of goods

Bailiffs may also request indemnity when they propose to remove goods. You should refer such requests to the higher debt manager, who should use the same criteria in deciding whether to authorise removal as used in distraint action by the department.

Other reasons

If there is any other reason for the request for indemnity, the higher debt manager should consider the case on its merits and if still in doubt, seek advice from the EIS Bradford CCP Technical Team (Debt Management Bradford).