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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Enforcement action: county court proceedings: judgment summonses: speaking to the judgment debtor at court before the hearing

In the past it was common practice to see the judgment debtor within the court building before the hearing and persuade them to make an offer of payment by instalments. Officers then put that before the judge and asked for a committal order, suspended on payment of the instalments offered. This proved a convenient device in the past, but it carries with it significant risk that could prejudice the outcome of the case.

You should not therefore discuss the case with the judgment debtor before going into court.

It will be for the court, based on the evidence that you are presenting, to decide whether to make a committal order and the terms, if any, on which it might be suspended. There must be no suggestion that the higher debt manager has coerced the judgment debtor into making an offer of payment.