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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Ordinary Cause: Amending the Initial Writ

An amendment to an initial writ is different to an adjustment to an initial writ.

An adjustment is only relevant to defended actions and can be made by either party without the authority of the court whereas an amendment cannot be made without the authority of the court. For further information on adjustments see DMBM681770.

The amendment procedure is used to change the Instance (the part of the first page of the initial writ giving names and addresses of the parties) and/or Craves of the initial writ whereas the adjustments procedure applies to the articles of Condescendences and Pleas-in-Law.

Typical examples of amendment include any changes or error

  • in the name and/or address of the defender
  • in the amount sued for (where for example a payment has been made or a return lodged which reduces the liability)

The initial writ can be amended at any stage prior to decree but the amendment can only be made with the authority of the court. That being so, whenever it is necessary to make changes to the Instance or to the Craves of the initial writ then, this must be done by aminute of amendment.

The minute of amendment is a document that narrates the changes requiring to be made to the initial writ and it is typed in a similar form to the first page of the initial writ. For example – “In Crave 2 delete the words “ten thousand pounds” and substitute therefore the words “five thousand pounds”.

The minute of amendment together with a motion requesting the court to allow the minute must be lodged in court. However before this action can be done you will need to arrange for intimation of both the motion and the minute to be made to the defender. In the unlikely event that such a motion is opposed you must contact HMRC Solicitors Office immediately.

In an undefended action, if the change is minor and does not prejudice the defender then intimation will not usually be necessary. However in a case, where for example HMRC were seeking to include an additional debt/ liability, the sheriff may order that the amended writ be re-served.

You will find styles for both the motion and minute for these contained within the Book of Styles supplied to you by Debt Management Edinburgh Group Office.

Note: Some sheriff courts will accept a crave for amendment that is contained within the minute sheet itself. This minute sheet will simply contain the standard crave for decree as detailed in the foregoing together with an additional crave for amendment. A style for this too is contained within the Book of Styles disc supplied to you by Debt Management Edinburgh Group Office. That being the case it may not always be necessary to prepare a separate minute and motion but you must be aware that the court may require them.