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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Enforcement action: county court proceedings: attachment of earnings orders (AEOs): varying an AEO

Reconsideration of attachment of earnings order

Once an AEO has been made it is open to both parties, within 14 days of the service of the order, to apply for the order to be reconsidered. If you have clear and substantial evidence that would justify a higher rate of deductions, or a lower protected earnings rate, you may apply to the court on form N244. The judgment debtor’s employer is required to make deductions under the original order pending the outcome of any reconsideration hearing.

Reconsideration of an AEO made by a court officer

On receipt of your application to vary the order, the court will set the matter down for hearing before the district judge who will hear the evidence and make an appropriate order.

Reconsideration of an AEO made by the district judge

If the district judge makes an order without a hearing you only have five days from the date of the order to apply for the order to be reconsidered. You should follow the guidance above if you wish the district judge to reconsider the order.

Applying to vary an attachment of earnings order

If, at a later date, you believe that the judgment debtor’s circumstances have improved materially, you should obtain up-to-date evidence of means and consider applying for the order to be varied.

To apply for a variation of the order, you should prepare three copies of form N244, applying for

  • ‘an order under the provisions of Section 9(1) of the Attachment of Earnings Act 1971 increasing the normal deduction rate specified in the attachment of earnings order made in this court on [date] on the grounds that such an order would be reasonable having regard to the judgment debtor’s improved circumstances.’

The court will list the case for hearing and send one copy of the application to the judgment debtor and return one copy to you.

Varying consolidated attachment of earnings orders

If your application to vary relates to a consolidated order you should find out from the court office whether you must also give notice of your application to all creditors covered by the order. If so, you must provide the court with an appropriate number of copies of form N244.