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HMRC internal manual

National Minimum Wage Manual

Records, Evidence, Powers & Offences: Evidence; applying best judgment

“Best judgment” is the term used by NMW Officers to describe the consideration process where the evidence (NMWM12050) obtained during the course of an investigation is conflicting, disputed or incomplete.

In these circumstances the NMW Officer will assess the relevant information using the clarification they obtained from their “checking and challenging” (NMWM12160) of that information. This will enable them to form a view on what are the most persuasive aspects of the information provided and which evidence, on balance, is indicative of the most likely true position. The application of “best judgment” must always have some basis on evidence that will enable the NMW Officer to explain how their conclusion has been reached. It must never merely be a set of unsupported assumptions.

A NMW Officer’s view is impartial (NMWM12150) and where “best judgment” is used it will be applied equally to information provided by both workers and employers. Where a NMW Officer uses “best judgment”, it is essential that they fully record their reasoning of that judgment and communicate this to the relevant parties to give them the opportunity to respond. (NMWM12180).