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Local Authorities are a law to themselves and this is especially true when you consider the way Magistrates' Courts are exploited by councils for rubber stamping thousands of liability orders in a process which typically takes up less than an hour of courtroom time. It's usual for councils to be awarded hundreds of thousands of pounds costs in respect of each court application. Unlike typical hearings where Judges determine the level (if any); councils tell the Justices Clerk in advance how much Magistrates should award. This is what happens in reality but wonder if what they do is in accordance with the law. The Magistrates Courts' Act 1980 provides at section 64, the power to award costs. If anyone can confirm; the question is, will the above be the relevant legislation applying to costs, Magistrates award local authorities in respect of Liability Order applications. This would presumably include summons costs that councils offer householders the option to pay, in exchange for halting the court action. Regulation 34(2) is the relevant part of the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992, making provision for application to the Magistrates' court. Regulation 34 goes on to exclude a couple of sections of the Magistrates' court Act, but neither of these are in connection with section 64 (costs). If section 64 of the 1980 Act is the relevant law for which Council Tax costs must conform, there are some irregularities which would seem to question the legality of the summons charge councils force us to pay. Anyone throw some light on this?
A claim is being brought against me by a subsidiary of a large corporate group. The Claimant, a corporate entity with limited liability, ceased doing business 4 years ago, it has no assets and has no bank accounts (it has no capital to put in a bank account and neither does it have any cash flow since it is no longer doing business). The legal action of the Claimant is being funded by the parent of the group and/or another part of the group. My concern is that if judgement is given in my favour and the Court orders that the Claimant pay my legal costs then I will be unable to enforce that order against an insolvent Claimant. Moreover, I would not be able to enforce that costs order against the entity funding the Claimant's litigation since that entity is not a party to the Claim. It is clear that this corporate group is shielding itself behind the veil of corporate limited liability of its defunct subsidiary. Proceedings have been issued, the first CMC has been held and we are awaiting further directions from the Court together with a date for the hearing. So far I have been representing myself, fearful that any legal costs that I incur will not be capable of being recovered against the Claimant. However, I need legal representation but I am mindful that my legal costs may amount to hundreds of thousands of pounds in the High Court and you will understand that I do not want to commit to such costs if I have no prospect of recovering them in future. What action can I take to protect myself? Can the Court order the Claimant to identify the party funding its action and order the Claimant to post money with it to cover a costs order against it should its action fail? If I ask for such an order against the Claimant then is it likely that the Court would order me to make such a deposit with the Court should a costs order be made against me? Please advise me in relation to how I should deal with this situation.