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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Ordinary Cause: Receiving cases for ordinary cause action

Initial checks

When cases are received check that

  • you have all the papers and that you have the authority to take these proceedings
  • final warning has been given in the last six months (if not issue IDMS11 or a letter along similar lines)
  • consideration has been given to the defenders residence and the jurisdiction of the court.

Where the defender resides in Scotland, any action should be raised in the sheriff court district in which the defender resides. Where the defender resides in a part of the UK outwith Scotland you should not start proceedings locally but instead transfer the case to the debt management office in whose area the defender now lives.

In cases where the defender resides abroad, as difficult questions may arise with regard to jurisdiction which may result in various methods of service applying you should in the first instance arrange for the case papers together with a full report to be referred to Debt Management Edinburgh Group Office for advice.

Preparation of OC file

Where you are satisfied that ordinary cause action should be taken you should prepare a folder for each case to serve as both a file in which to keep the papers and as a record of the actions taken.

Preparation of worksheet

Before drafting an initial writ you should prepare a work sheet. This will enable you to compile a list detailing the different categories of the claim which you will need to form the basis for the craves on the initial writ.

Cases requiring either further action or information

For cases where you consider that further action is necessary arrange for further action to be undertaken before initiating the proceedings. If you do not have sufficient information, or papers are missing, obtain the relevant information or missing papers before embarking on the court action.

Cases where the defender already the subject of either OC or SO action

Where the defender is already the subject of summary or ordinary cause action and you receive a further debt for him you should review the case to determine the most suitable action for the further debt.

To do this consider

  • how effective the recovery action already taken has been
  • the extent and nature of the further debt
  • whether liability will continue to accrue
  • the defender’s circumstances
  • whether local recovery action is likely to bring the defender’s tax position up to date within a reasonable time
  • where payment is being made by instalments, whether the payments can be increased to achieve clearance of the new debt too
  • whether consideration can be given to remission or referral to Enforcement and Insolvency Services Scotland.