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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Summary proceedings (Sc): The defender disputes the debt and lodges a defence

Normally you will not know the details of any defence until the actual hearing in courtwhen the defender or his representative will state his defence orally. It is vital in thecircumstances that you record the grounds of defence fully and accurately as you will berequired to give the Solicitor of HMRC a comprehensive report of the defence stated.

Occasionally, at the first hearing the sheriff may grant the defender a further 14 days inwhich to lodge a written supplementary defence with the court. In these circumstances thecourt may either continue the case or fix a diet of proof (DMBM675100).

As the pursuer you will not receive a copy of the defence. You will need to

  • contact the sheriff clerk to find out whether the defence has been lodged within the 14 days allowed and
  • arrange for a copy to be taken so that you can pass the details to the Solicitor of HMRC who in turn, must then lodge productions in court at least 7 days before the diet of proof
  • ensure that the case is given priority at all stages.

If you have any doubts about the grounds of defence ask the sheriff clerk for details– the court will have noted them on the summons.

When a defence is stated at the first calling the court will in most cases fix a date fora diet of proof (DMBM675100).

If the date fixed is less than 21 days ahead

  • inform the court that this may not allow you sufficient time to instruct and arrange for the Solicitor of HMRC to represent you at the diet of proof (or continuation where a supplementary defence has been allowed) (DMBM676220)
  • ask the court to fix a later date if this is at all possible.

Very exceptionally when the defender states his defence, the court may ask for yourresponse. You should answer initially using your knowledge of the case and the informationcontained in the papers. Where necessary

  • advise the court that you are unable to deal with the points raised without further investigation and
  • ask that the court fix a diet of proof (DMBM675100).