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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Enforcement action: county court proceedings: judgment summonses: committal orders following a judgment summons hearing

Where the judge orders that the judgment debtor be committed to prison (other than for contempt), apply for the issue of the warrant of committal as soon as practicable after the hearing, or after any default in the terms on which it was suspended. (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)

You should always send a memo by fax to the office holding the judgment debtor’s main file and to any other office with an interest in the case (such as, for example, EIS) asking the office(s) to confirm that they do not hold any:

  • unsettled claim
  • appeal
  • application for postponement
  • accounts or correspondence

that may affect the liability.

You should head your memo ‘ACTION ON DAY OF RECEIPT’ and ‘IMPRISONMENT’.

Send your faxed memo as late as possible but ensuring that it can be actioned in time for your application to the court. That office will either confirm that nothing held that affects the liability or send a report giving details.


Where the judgment debtor’s circumstances have seriously deteriorated since the committal order was made, do not apply for release of the committal order. Seek advice from the EIS Bradford CCP Technical Team (Debt Management Bradford).

It is of course open to the judgment debtor to apply for a further suspension of the committal order. They should write to or call at the court office and make a formal application for suspension, giving their reasons for inability to comply with the terms of the original suspension. The court will:

  • fix a day for hearing the application
  • give all parties at least three days’ notice of the hearing.

If you receive notification of such an application, the higher debt manager must attend the hearing.

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Applying for a warrant of committal

Where you are satisfied that no payment has been made and no unsettled claim or unprocessed returns are held, make a prominent note in red on your case papers ‘WARRANT OF COMMITTAL DO NOT ACCEPT PAYMENT’. Then:

  • carry out an RP check (DMBM615040)
  • prepare an imminent proceedings list
  • note the computer record
  • complete form N344 (Request for Warrant of Committal)
  • take the form N344 to the court.

No fee is payable.

Unless the judgment debtor immediately pays the amount involved, the court bailiff will arrest and deliver the judgment debtor to the prison named in the order.