Have you received a letter from the HMCTS Historic Debt Team? You might be confused and wondering if this letter is a scam.

Well, there is a good chance that your debt letter from the HMCTS Historic Debt Team is not a scam. These guys are a real outfit created by the UK Government and are on the hunt to recover old debts.

It’s not your fault. Complaints to the Financial Ombudsman have risen this year from 830 to 2,006, so it’s safe to say that you’re not alone.

Deal with your debt today and feel amazing tomorrow.

Discover more about the HMCTS Historic Debt Team in this guide!

Who Are the HMCTS Historic Debt Team?

The HMCTS Historic Debt Team is a group of debt chasers set up by the UK Government back in 2016. The job of this debt collection group was to locate people who have unpaid court fines and get them to pay.

Don’t worry, here’s what to do!

You could get rid of debt collectors by writing off your debt. I’ve put together a 4 question debt calculator which will tell you if you’re eligible:

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Why HMCTS Historic Debt Team Was Created

The group was created by the government because too many court fines were not being paid. They identified that the reason for this was because the courts were sending these fines to the wrong addresses, and thus, the people who owed the money did not know. Or they knew they were supposed to be fined but didn’t receive anything so, understandably, didn’t say anything either. 

Will the HMCTS Historic Debt Team Chase Old Court Fines?

Yes, when HMCTS Historic Debt Team was initially created they were aiming to collect fines over the previous ten years. However, the group was so successful at recovering the money owed that they were allowed to recover court fines from over ten years ago.

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Is all this information starting to feel overwhelming? Don’t panic! I’ve put together a 4 question debt calculator so you can quickly and easily find the best solution for you. Answer the four questions now.

But, Isn’t My Court Fine Statute Barred?

A Statute Barred debt is a debt that is at least six years old and never received a CCJ. A legal loophole in the Limitations Act states that debts of this age cannot be legally enforced and the debtor is never forced to pay. 

However, court fines do not apply. Because the court fine is the result of breaking the law, these types of debts can never be too old to be enforced. 

And for the same reason, court fines are not allowed to be repaid as part of some popular debt solutions. For example, you cannot include court fines in a DRO, IVA or a bankruptcy application.

Simply put, you’re going to have to pay up.

Can I Make a Statutory Declaration (Section 14)?

It is possible to make a Statutory Declaration to reduce the fine you owe. Yet, this doesn’t happen often and many people choose to just pay the full amount.

I Can’t Afford to Pay the HMCTS Historic Debt Team…

If you can’t afford to repay the court fine you owe, you may be concerned that the common debt solutions are not available to you.

However, there is a way to make the court fine more affordable without seeking debt solutions.

The HMCTS Historic Debt Team will listen to your offers to pay back in instalments.  You could argue this is pretty much identical to a Debt Management Plan anyway.

There is a situation where the HMCTS Historic Debt Team will not accept a repayment schedule from you. And that is if they have passed on the court fine debt to an enforcement agency. 

In this situation, HMCTS Historic Debt Team will have employed enforcement agents to come and recover payments. If you somehow make a payment to HMCTS Historic Debt Team when enforcement agents have already been employed, your payment is forwarded to the enforcement agency.

The payment will still count towards your court fine repayment, but you might now also have to pay additional fees to cover the services of the enforcement agents that will have been paid for by the HMCTS Historic Debt Team.

What Enforcement Agencies Does HMCTS Use? 

There is a chance that the HMCTS Historic Debt Team will use a new enforcement agency or add a new agency to their frequently used agencies.

But there are three enforcement agencies in particular that HMCTS are known to use. There are:

  1. Collectica Limited
  2. Excel Enforcement Limited
  3. Marston Holdings

If you receive a debt letter from any of these enforcement agencies and the letter includes either ‘HD’ or the term ‘HMCTS HD’, they will be referring to unpaid court fines.

Will HMCTS Use Enforcement Agencies First?

No, the HMCTS Historic Debt Team will try to resolve the matter without the need for enforcement services. They do this with what is called a Further Steps Notice. This notice outlines the action which will be taken if you don’t pay. Ultimately, it gives you the opportunity to respond before enforcement agencies or other tactics are used against you. 

You have the right to appeal within 10 days of this notice.

Should I Ignore HMCTS Historic Debt Team Letters?

You should not ignore any request for payment from the HMCTS Historic Debt Team. If you believe the letter is not genuine, we have created a post to help you spot debt collector scams.

You might want to be more cautious if the letter comes from an enforcement agency that isn’t one of the three listed above. But this on its own is not a sign of a scam, so do your research. 

By ignoring these letters, you might have to pay more to cover enforcement agency costs. And remember, the HMCTS Historic Debt Team will listen to your repayment proposals if you can’t afford to pay the fine in a single payment. 

How Do I Contact the HMCTS HD Team?

The HMCTS Historic Debt Team provides their contact details on the letter they send out informing you of the unpaid fine. Alternatively, you can discuss these debts by calling The National Enforcement Service. Their number is 0300 123 9252.

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About the author

Scott Nelson

Scott Nelson is a financial services expert, with over 10 years’ experience in the industry, including 6 years in FCA regulated companies. Read more
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