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What's the true cost of a liability order

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Hi everyone, need some advice as i think my council is trying it on big time. I was abit behind with my CT for the sum of of £412.00.

On the 18/01/12 i paid £206.00 online which left £206.00 to pay. In the mean time i received a pre-printed letter from my council saying i was being summoned to appear at the local court on 27/02/12 to explain why i hadn't paid my CT. No letter came from the court

 

On the 10/02/12 & 15/02/12 i paid 2x £103.00 leaving a zero balance, remember the court date is on 27/02/12.

Today i receive a letter saying that i owe the council £123.00 for issuing a liability order & court costs for non payment of CT.

I phoned the council asking for a breakdown on how much the LO actually cost & how they can justify charging an extra £30 on top as my CT bill was paid in full. Their reply is pay or the bailiffs will be instructed to call. It's a bloody rip off

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It sounds like your council has no interest in being any assistance, even though all you appear guilty of is having either, a minor cash flow problem or, an oversight in paying your instalments. Clearly your council is only interested in adding another charge to its collection in order to hit its annual target which the authority will be reliant on as a steady source of income.

 

Can you clarify how your Council is applying these court costs? i.e, are there separate costs for issuing the summons and for obtaining the liability order?

Edited by outlawla

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Hiya, letter that i got today just states that as of 27/02/12 a LO was issued against me for non payment of CT & costs of £30 added. My CT was paid in full on the 15/02/12 & that as of the hearing date when the LO was done it was against a zero CT bill. Looking at the previous letter that i got it says a LO may be issued, but they have charged me £93 anyway just for sending out a very badly pre-printed letter that came in a council addressed envelope.

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If they're going to extort this money from you, at least make them earn it. Be prepared though for obstruction from your council. You could find out what the council's policy is on pursuing council tax accounts through the Magistrates' court, i.e. the minimum outstanding debt for example.

 

I think I can see what the council will use as there argument against you.

 

Even though you paid your council tax balance in full, there were still costs outstanding of £93. So effectively they proceeded with the court action for their costs.

 

Have a look at the following from the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992:

 

Application for liability order

 

34.–(5) If, after a summons has been issued in accordance with paragraph (2) but before the application is heard, there is paid or tendered to the authority an amount equal to the aggregate of—

(a) the sum specified in the summons as the sum outstanding or so much of it as remains outstanding (as the case may be)
(you paid this)
; and

 

(b) a sum of an amount equal to the costs reasonably incurred
by the authority
(whether this is reasonable is another thing)
in connection with the application up to the time of the payment or tender,
(unfortunately this £93 was unpaid)

the authority shall accept the amount and the application shall not be proceeded with.

 

(6) The court shall make the order if it is satisfied that the sum has become payable by the defendant and has not been paid.

 

(7) An order made pursuant to paragraph (6) shall be made in respect of an amount equal to the aggregate of—

(a) the sum payable
(costs of £93)
, and

 

(b) a sum of an amount equal to the costs reasonably incurred by the applicant in obtaining the order.
(They then added this £30)

 

 

Councils are making £millions out of this racket each year, and sending thousands of cases to bailiffs unnecessarily.

Edited by outlawla

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Right i've just found that lovely pre printed letter requesting i attend court on the 27/02/12 to explain why i haven't paid my CT. Todays letter says that the LO was issued on the 24/02/12 3 days before the court hearing & issued at a different court. which i knew nothing about. Was i supposed to attend 2 different courts then? seems abit pointless asking me to attend on the 27th when it was done on the 24th

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I assumed that because the hearing was on Feb 27th that was when the Lo was done, but it was done on 24th are they allowed to do this?

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I'm as mystified as you about this now, but wonder if you have more than one liability order and whether these relate to different addresses, as you have details about court hearings at different courts?

 

Can you reveal which council this is to maybe tally up the summons and liability order costs – if they're published on its website.

Edited by outlawla

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Hi outlaw i've lived at the same address for 21yrs. The 1st letter said i was to appear at Romford court on 27th feb in relation to my unpaid council tax. The 2nd letter dated the 27th, which i got today says that a LO was granted on Friday the 24th at Barking court. So how can the council get a LO issued before i was due to appear at court on the 27th

I don't owe any CT from previous yrs & its LBBD council

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Ok, this is a document from Newham council 'Agenda Item 1' but page 2 lists court costs of other London Boroughs including LBBD. As you'll see the court costs are split for Summons and Liability Order in the proportion £93 to £30. So they've only charged costs for one council tax debt, but you have two different court hearing dates at different courts. I guess it's time you start giving your council grief over this until you get answers.

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Had a blazing row with the council today over validity of LO. They are now saying that the wrong date the 27th Feb for summons & it should have been the 24th & that they did send me a correction letter. When i explained that i didn't receive it their response was to take it up with royal mail, that their system says one was sent. I told them that any summons should be sent via recorded to gaurantee delivery & had to laugh when they said that they couldn't afford it, course you can i replied with all the fees for the bulk court cases. Seriously though i've never received this correction of the court date & have requested a copy & have to assume that one was sent , though not delivered. Do i have any redress as they have given me a further 7 days to find £123.00 which i haven't got, though they did say if i gave them the name & address of my employer they would extend the date till march 22. Told them no way.

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You're experiencing obstruction from the council which is normal, council staff will be under orders to be unhelpful.

 

This is from Cardiff council's website, and indicates that the authority doesn't have to prove you received notices. I don't know if this is true, but this is what they say.

 

Do I have to go to court?

 

It is your right to appear in Court if you have been summonsed. However, you do not have to attend the hearing but, the Council will still request that costs are awarded against you.

 

If you have contacted us to discuss your account you may not have to go to court.

 

 

If you choose to go to the court hearing, the Magistrates will ask if you have a valid defence, which will stop the Liability Order being granted. The following are not valid defences:

  • You can't afford to pay.
  • You have applied for Council Tax Benefit, Discount, Exemption or other reduction.
  • You have an outstanding appeal with the Valuation Tribunal.
  • That you have not received the notices sent to you. The Council does not have to prove that you received them.

 

 

It might be worth writing to your council to request that they apply to the Magistrates' court to have your liability order quashed. Emphasise that you didn't receive an item of correspondence which your council claims to have sent, and the probability is that they didn't send it as they had previously made mistakes by incorrectly sending a summons for a court hearing for the wrong date and wrong court.

 

Of course, you had paid your outstanding council tax before the date of the court hearing. This is worth emphasising, but bear in mind it's not likely to have any influence on their decision.

 

If you decide to write to them, it might be worth including some of the following:

 

[YOUR COUNCIL]

 

[DATE]

 

Dear Head of Income and Payments Service [or equivalent for your council]

 

Re: Quashing Liability Order

 

The Local Government Finance Act 1992 provides for magistrates' courts to be given powers to quash liability orders if the court is satisfied that the liability order should not have been made.

 

A liability order was made against me at the council’s request on [DATE].

 

I request you apply to the Magistrates’ court under Part 12A , Schedule 4 of the Act to have all record of this order deleted from the record.

 

[YOUR REASONS]

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

NOTE: You could alternatively refer to the following legislation as an alternative to the Local Government Finance Act 1992:

 

The Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 2004, Statutory instrument 2004/927 Regulation 5(2).

Edited by outlawla

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It's the councils responsibility to make sure the the amount on the lo is correct even on the day of the hearing. U paid s few days before the hearing date therefore the council should have immediately reduced the amount on the lo. Basically they've gone to court with a false amount. I'd make a complaint to the court itself.


SAFU

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Have now received the correction of date letter regarding outstanding CT. Remember the 1st letter told me i had to appear Feb 27th at court A & a LO was issued on Feb 24th at court B. Either way it still doesn't tally up as the correction letter says the new date of the 24th at court A but the LO was still issued at court B . How in gods name could i be at two different courts that are not in the same borough, on the same day at the same time.

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