A few days ago a vitally important judgment was released concerning (once again) the matter of Liability Order 'costs'. This particular case was an appeal and was heard in the High Court but unlike in the recent case of the Reverend Nicolson, this particular local authority (East Northamptonshire District Council) had prepared a schedule of standardised costs of the type encouraged by Judge Andrews in the Reverend's case (paragraph 46).
The claimant; Edward Williams represented himself and his appeal concerned (amongst other points) the following:
That the summons served was an abuse of process because within it, it included an amount of costs (£75). He contended that the Regulations make no provision for the summons to include an amount by way of costs and that costs could only become due once, and if, a liability order were made
That including the amount of costs on the face of the summons was an abuse because it was an unlawful demand for money which the local authority had no right to make at that time. He contended that the costs were not due and owing
at the date of the summons
He pointed out that the complaint on which the summons was based made no reference to the costs of £75. He submitted that it was an unfair manipulation of the Court process to include an amount for costs on the face of the summons,
particularly when the only real summons cost was £3.
He suggested that the recipient of a summons would be misled into believing that the costs of £75 were
and could not be debated or challenged.
He wanted to appeal the earlier decision regarding the sum of £75 and whether the costs had been 'reasonably incurred'. Most importantly; (and this is of significance to all local authorities who had been waiting for this case to be heard), Mr Williams considered that when compiling a schedule of costs, East Northamptonshire Council were wrong to include figures for:
Information and Technology costs.
Chip and Pin costs.
Pension deficit funding.