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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Enforcement action: county court proceedings: Third Party Debt Orders (TPDOs): Third Party Debt Orders (TPDOs) - introduction

How third party debt orders work

Third party debt orders are the quickest and most effective way to enforce a judgment and you should use them in preference to any other means of enforcement.

Where a third party who is within the jurisdiction of England and Wales owes money to the judgment debtor, the judgment creditor may apply to the court for a ‘third party debt order’ (TPDO) under CPR72. This is an order requiring the third party to pay to the judgment creditor either:

  • the amount of the debt owed to the judgment debtor
  • so much of that debt as is sufficient to satisfy the judgment debt, plus the court fee for the TPDO application.

As judgment creditor, you will find this an extremely effective method of enforcing judgment debts. Remember that you can issue two or more TPDOs simultaneously if several third parties owe money to the judgment debtor.

Noting Records

Note: Bank account details are not regarded as suitable data for free format notes and should not be recorded manually in any departmental free format notes field with the exception of automated entries.

For more information, see DMBM510250.

CCBC cases

If your claim has been made through the CCBC you need to transfer the case to the local court before taking this method of enforcement. In limited company cases the local court is the claimant’s home court; in all other cases it is the defendant’s.


The debt manager can give written authority for third party debt orders where:

  • payment of the judgment debt is in arrear under the terms of the judgment or instalment order
  • there is evidence that the third party is indebted to the judgment debtor
  • there is a realistic prospect of recovering a significant proportion of the judgment debt from the third party; there is no point in issuing TPDOs against third parties who dispute the debt owed to the judgment debtor, or who are in no better position financially to pay the debt.

Conditions to be satisfied

The debt due to the judgment debtor by the third party must exist now, although it does not have to be payable immediately. For example, future instalments of a debt payable by instalments are attachable. However, where both the debt and its payment are in the future, such as under a life insurance policy, no debt exists and cannot therefore be attached.

Money in court

If money is standing to the credit of the judgment debtor in court, you cannot apply for a third party debt order, but you may apply for an order that the money in court be paid to you (or so much of it as will satisfy the judgment debt and the court fee for the application). Refer the papers to EIS Bradford CCP Technical Team on how to apply in these circumstances.