County Court action on overpayments

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    Does anyone do their own CC procedures or do you all pass unpaid invoices to Legal? Where I work they go to Legal…and that’s where they stay. I can’t believe we couldn’t do it better ourselves. How much work is involved?


    Hi Chris

    I do my own court work – in the DWP overpayments guide it gives details of the form that you have to use in order to get yuor judgement.

    N322A – and the website to access it from . I just request a cheque from accts for £35.00 and send it to the court together with the form, and also a copy of the original invoice.

    the debtor is adjusted to include the costs and the debtor is notified. I also send a letter to the court together with the N322A form although I am not sure if it is a requirement. The letter advises the court that the debt is correct and that no appeal has been received.

    Example below:

    Application for an Order to Recover Money in Respect of Overpaid Housing Benefit

    Please find enclosed an application for an order to recover money under section 75(7) of the Social Security Administration Act 1992, together with the issue fee of £35.00.

    The debtor was informed of the overpayment and his/her rights of appeal on and a demand was subsequently issued on , I confirm the sum of £ is still outstanding. To date no appeal as prescribed in sections 79 to 83 of the Housing Benefit (General) Regulations has been received and the case in now out of time for appeal.

    I enclose a copy of the original notification and invoice as proof of debt and would be grateful if you would consider this matter and grant an Order for Recovery as requested.

    Once you have your judgement you can decide whether/how you are going to enforce the debt. It is not difficult, but quite a lot of paperwork, and I think if you have more than one person dealing with ops the court work will be more effective as you can set time limits and follow it through more easily.

    Hope this helps


    Agree with the previous correspondent

    Refer you to Circualr A59/98 – go to the circular library elsewhere on this site, alternatively refer to the content of the HB Overpayments Guide part 7.40 onwards, also includes the stationary previously discussed


    At present we use arbitration in the County Court but I am in the process of trying to persuade the powers that be to start using Registration of the debt, thereby saving me countless hours doing Witness Statements (and trying to fathom out why some OP decisions were made), and collating reams and reams of evidence.

    Not too sure how our legal dept will take that though, since it does not need to be a legal officer completing the form.

    Do I know what I'm doing? The jury's out on that........................



    We had the same problem 6 or 7 years ago, whereby the whole process ground to a halt at the point when we forwarded cases to legal.

    Since 2000 we’ve obtained our own County Court Orders as Caroline explains.

    You may like us, come up with some resistence from legal to give up the work. But if they are not doing what they ought to and that it costing you and the LA money, they have no real ground to stand on. We pushed them to give it up by showing they were not resourced to handle the work and even if they were, the person doing it would be over-qualified as it’s pretty basic stuff that a clerical could quite easily do.

    We came up with a compromise. We now gain the orders ourselves and then involve them if we look to enforce an order. That means they still retain an involvement in the process but with far fewer cases and they are able to handle the level of work we now give them.


    Thanks for all your comments. We’ve decided to bite the bullet and do our own recovery.

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