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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Enforcement action: county court proceedings: Third Party Debt Orders (TPDOs): hearing the application for a final third party debt order

The court has wide powers at the hearing. The attending officer should state their case and ask for a final third party order together with the fees for your application. If the judgment debtor or the third party attend the hearing and object to the court making a final third party debt order, the attending officer should deal with their representations based on the evidence held and any which the judgment debtor produces.

The court may either:

  • make a final third party debt order
  • discharge the interim third party debt order and dismiss the application
  • decide on any issues between the parties involved
  • direct a trial of the issues and, if necessary, give directions.

If the court directs a trial, refer the papers to the EIS Bradford CCP Technical Team.

Effect of the final third party debt order

The third party may discharge (that is, satisfy) the final third party debt order by paying the specified amount direct to you. If they do not do so within the terms set out by the court, you can enforce the order against them immediately as if it were an order from the court to pay money. You can do this by warrant of execution or writ of fi fa, or, exceptionally, by attachment of earnings order or charging order. However, especially where the third party is a bank, building society or large organisation, such as a local council, you should consider phoning the third party to enquire as to the position regarding payment before enforcing the order.

Note that where the third party is a deposit-taking institution, it may deduct an administrative fee, currently £55, from the judgment debtor’s account for complying with a third party debt order. Also note that a third party debt order must not reduce the balance in a building society or credit union account below £1. In such circumstances the third party will retain £1 in the judgment debtor’s account and pay the excess to you, having first deducted their administrative fee, in satisfaction of the order.