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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Enforcement action: county court proceedings: attachment of earnings orders (AEOs): how to apply for an attachment of earnings order

Applying for an attachment of earnings order

You should file a request for an Attachment of Earnings Order [AEO] on form N337.

If you intend applying for AEOs for two or more judgment debtors for the same judgment debt at the same time, use a separate form N337 for each judgment debtor showing the full amount of the judgment on each form and pay the appropriate court fee for each application.

When you have completed form N337

  • prepare an imminent proceedings list
  • carry out an RP check (DMBM615040)
  • arrange a cheque for the court fee
  • enter the fee on form C17(SAFE)
  • send or take the documents to the court
  • B/F the case to make sure that the request is followed up.

The court will allocate a number to the application and send you a copy of form N55 (Notice of Application for Attachment of Earnings Order), showing the application number. You should quote the application number (as well as the title of the action and the claim number) in any future correspondence with the court.

Court action on receipt of form N337

The court will complete and send form N55 to the judgment debtor by first class post, enclosing form N56 (Form for Replying to an Attachment of Earnings Application) for the judgment debtor to complete to give a statement of their means.

The judgment debtor’s options on receipt of form N55

The judgment debtor can choose to pay the balance of the judgment debt and court fees, plus the fee for application for the AEO, or complete and return form N56 to the court within eight days of the service of the notice (DMBM667590).

Telephone the court office immediately if you receive a payment direct from the judgment debtor after you have sent form N337 to the court.

If form N55 is returned undelivered

If the notice is returned undelivered, the court will send you a notice of non-service on form N216, together with form N55, advising that you must now attempt service of the notice yourself. Form N55 may be served at any time within 12 months of issue. If there are difficulties serving a notice, for example where you are trying to trace a new address, consider whether to apply to the court to renew it and, if you consider it worthwhile, make your application in good time before the 12 month expiry date.

If you find that the judgment debtor still resides in the area of the home court, serve the form N55 (amended and correctly endorsed to show the new address) on the judgment debtor personally or by first class post.

Then file form N215 (Certificate of Service) with the court attaching a copy of the amended form N55, drawing the court’s attention to the new address.

If the judgment debtor has moved outside the area of the home court, but still within England & Wales, transfer the proceedings to the new court and arrange for service at the new address. If the judgment debtor has moved outside of England & Wales, follow the guidance at DMBM666440.