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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Ordinary Cause:

This procedure may be used at any time within 20 years of the granting of the decree as long as there is a balance of the debt remaining outstanding. Reponing is not appropriate for cases where the sums in decree have been paid in full (DMBM680090).

What the defender must do

The defender must lodge a reponing note with the sheriff clerk stating his proposed defence and the reason for failing to appear when the action was first raised.

The defender must also serve the pursuer with a copy of the reponing note.

Sist of proceedings

As soon as the defender has lodged the reponing note with the court and served you with a copy this will operate as a sist of the diligence. Note however that any diligence already executed is not recalled (DMBM680090).

What the sheriff clerk will do

The sheriff clerk will set a date for hearing the application and the defender shouldadvise you of this date.

Debt management office action

On receipt of a reponing note you must

  • ask the sheriff officer to suspend action until further notice and
  • contact HMRC Solicitors Office(1st Floor Clarendon House 114-116 George Street Edinburgh EH2 4LH (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)
  • immediately to inform them of receipt of the reponing note and at the same time advise them of the date and time of the hearing
  • forward all your papers together with a copy of the reponing note to that office as a matter of urgency.

Depending on the nature of the defence HMRC Solicitors Office may decide to appear at the hearing themselves otherwise they will return your papers to you giving you instructions on how they wish you to proceed.

What the sheriff will do

The sheriff will consider the defender’s explanation and the pursuer will also be given the opportunity to put his viewpoint too.

Where the sheriff is satisfied with the defender’s explanation he may recall the decree in respect of the debt remaining unpaid. The case will usually then proceed as if the defender had responded initially.