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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Enforcement action: county court proceedings: judgment summonses: preparing a witness statement

A witness statement is a formal document setting out the facts relating to a particular event or events, typically an interview with the judgment debtor, and must contain a Statement of Truth.

Any member of staff who, after the date of judgment, has spoken with the judgment debtor about payment, or has made a personal call but did not meet the judgment debtor, or who has any other material facts in support of the case, is required to make a witness statement.

If practicable, it should be prepared in the intended witness’s own words. It must clearly state where and when the interview took place and who was present and contain a clear statement that the judgment debtor was not coerced into answering questions.

Preparing a witness statement to summarise your evidence

Refer the papers to the EIS Bradford CCP Technical Team (Debt Management Bradford) who will prepare a witness statement, which will refer to any other statements given by members of staff.

There is no set wording for witness statements and they can be used for a number of different purposes in court proceedings. They are simply statements of fact by a witness in their own words and should list in a single series and in chronological order:

  • the actions since judgment was entered, such as the date of letters asking the judgment debtor for payment and their response, or failure to respond
  • the individual pieces of evidence of their ability to pay.

The witness statement (Word 41kb) and list of exhibits (Word 31kb) in support of a judgment summons application show how to present both your evidence and also demonstrate the judgment debtor’s wilful neglect or refusal to pay. The text of the witness statement must be personalised to each case. The examples give an indication only of how you might express certain facts or events. It is not comprehensive and is not to be followed literally.

The person making the statement must sign the statement of truth.

You must file and serve two copies of the witness statement and all supporting documents, with the judgment summons.