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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Ordinary Cause: Defender lodges a notice of intention to defend (NID)


If a defender wishes to

  • state a defence
  • make a counterclaim or
  • challenge the jurisdiction of the court

he must complete the Notice of Intention to Defend (NID) (Court form O7) that was included in the defender’s copy initial writ that the sheriff officer served on him.

The defender must return the Notice of Intention to Defend (NID) (Court form O7) to the court before the expiry of the period of notice (DMBM680090).

Exceptionally you may find that the sheriff has allowed an extension to this period of notice but this will only be where the defender has satisfied the court that he was genuinely unable to respond within the original allotted time span.


A counterclaim or a claim for set-off against the crown in respect of recovery of taxes is incompetent in terms of Sections 35 and 50 of the Crown Proceedings Act 1947. If a defender attempts to make any such claim, you must refer the papers to the 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.

Action by the sheriff clerk on receipt of a NID (court form O7)

On receipt of a Notice of Intention to Defend (NID) in the sheriff court, the sheriff clerk will fix a date and time for an options hearing (DMBM680090). The sheriff clerk will also send a notice to both the pursuer and defender advising

  • the last date for submitting defences (that is 14 days after the expiry of the period of notice)
  • the last date for adjusting pleadings, that is 14 days before the options hearing (DMBM680090)
  • the date of the options hearing.

Requirement for defender to lodge his defence in court

Once the defender has lodged his Notice of Intention to Defend (NID) with the court, hemust lodge his defence with the Sheriff court within 14 days after the expiry of thenotice, in accordance with the Sheriff Court Ordinary Cause Rules.

Copy of defence not received in debt management office

Normally when lodging his defence with the court the defender will send you as pursuer a copy of his defence too. If however you do not receive such a copy you must immediately on the expiry of “the 14 day period” after the date set for the expiry of the period of the notice

  • contact the court and ask whether you can have a copy of any defence lodged. (The court may charge a small fee for doing this.)

or alternatively

  • obtain the name of the defender’s solicitor so that you can make contact with him to find out the reason why the defences have not been lodged.