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Hi All,

 

Just a quickie, but have been informed today that my local council want an amount of money from me relating to Community Charge 22 years ago. I know that council tax is not statute barred but does the same apply to community charge?

 

Thanks!

 

Jackie:|

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Maybe but they are hardly in a position to chase this even if it was true. You need to obtain the relevant paperwork from the Council on which they propose to reely. If it appears to stack up, all you have do is to say that you believe that it was paid. If they don't lke that then they must prove thoier case. Council records going back 22 years? Could they be relied upon to be accurate? Nor could anybody expect you to keep paperwork for such a period.

 

They may not be barred by statute but the six year limit is there for a purpose, one being that it is unreasonable to expect anybody to keep records for longer than that. Not much of a court case.

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Community Charge

 

The council should not go to the magistrates court and ask for a liability order for community charge (poll tax) if the community charge was due more than six years before the liability order hearing. This means that the council can only pursue you for outstanding community charge if they got a liability order within 6 years of April 1993 at the latest. This rule is outlined in Regulation 29 of the Community Charge (Administration and Enforcement) Regs. 1989 (as amended 1991).

In practice the Council may go to Court and ask for a Liability Order for a Council Tax or Community Charge (Poll Tax) debt which is more than 6 years old. They will get it unless you put forward a Limitation defence at the hearing.

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This is simply dreadful. Which local authority does this relate to?

 

Also, when did the local authority issue a Liability Order?

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  • 1 month later...

It's Liverpool Council and they say they did obtain a Liability Order within the timescales and they also said they were going to apply for an attachment of earnings order in around 1998 but they say they never took the money because they didn't have the resources! I got a letter from Newlands Bailiffs and so rang the council and said this is the first I've heard of it! They then told me they did write to me eight years ago but have heard nothing back! Honestly, if it wasn't so awful, I would laugh!

They've told me to write in using their complaints procedure - which I am just about to do. Would you suggest I ask for copies of all the paperwork and say that I am confident this has been paid? They are saying they can prove it hasn't been paid as it's showing as outstanding on my account but I think this is only proof that any payment I made has not been applied to my account?

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LCC can say anything it likes. Where is their proof of any of their claims? Demand tio see their written evidence.

 

If it comes then rell them simply that its over six years old and if they believe they have a case, perhaps they might care to quote the paragraph and section of whatever law they are reliant upon for their cyrrent demands.

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Thanks Fair-parking! I have asked them for copies of all correspondence (which I know they can't send me as the man on the phone told me as much!) including all the addresses they were sent to and dates. They said I kept moving house but I don't think 4 times in 22 years are the actions of someone on the run!!

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I think you may be entitled to move house without the council's permission.....

 

If that is the best they can come up with, then even the straw isn't worth clutching.

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Ok all, I got a reply from the council which I've copied here. I've left off the detailed statement (which isn't that detailed to be honest!) Here's what they say:

 

I can advise you that I am unable to provide you with copies of all correspondence previously issued to you. This is due as we do not keep copies of any documents issued to charge-payers and are not obliged to. However, I can provide you with a list off all correspondence previously issued to you at that time. All correspondence was issued to you at your last known address. Also included a detailed statement of your outstanding account.

Type of recovery action taken Date of recoveryFinal notice issued18/10/1990Summons issued08/01/1992Liability Order granted23/01/1992Account issued to bailiffs (Gaults & co)17/10/1992Account returned from bailiffs - Gone away07/08/1993Request for offer letter sent16/08/1993Account issued to bailiffs (Madagans)28/02/1998Account returned from bailiffs - no effects22/09/1998Committal file created22/09/1998Hold - Attachment of Earnings in abeyance07/10/1998Forwarding address traced27/06/2011Request for offer letter sent27/06/2011Account issued to debt collection agency (Moorcrofts)12/07/2011Account returned from debt collection agency 24/04/2012Account issued to debt collection agency (Newlyns)22/05/2012

Regarding the period of time which has elapsed I can advise you that work has been ongoing to collect the debts owed to this authority ever since the introduction of Council Tax in 1993. I accept that, ideally, the Council would collect all debts as soon after the date they are due as possible. However, I believe that it is reasonable for the Council to request payment for outstanding Community Charge as the Council is legally entitled to do so. A Liability Order was obtained for your outstanding balance on 23 January 1992 and therefore granted within six years of the debt being due and cannot be considered statute barred or out of time. Unfortunately, I am unable to provide you with a copy of the Liability Order as the Liability Orders was issued to charge-pyers direct and at that time copies of Orders were not obliged to be kept.

 

Concerning an Attachement of Earnings order; I can confirm that resources were avaliable to request Attachment Of Earnings Orders at that time and in fact this account was placed on hold as Attahment of Earnings Orders were in force against you for other years for Community Charge arrears.

I trust this now clarifies the matter however if you are not satisfied with the response you have received at stage one, you can contact me within 28 days and I will arrange for a full and fair investigation at stage two within 28 days."

 

Right, so obviously am not satisfied as it seems that they are just looking at their records and saying I owe this and they can't send me any documentation. So, if I write and say, according to my records I paid you but I can't send you any documentation, I can't see them accepting that?? Was wondering whether to contact the courts to see if they still hold the liability order because if they don't the council don't and I don't - then who can prove it ever existed?? Do you think that's a good idea or not?

Secondly, got another threatening letter from Newlyns today stating one of their agents would call with no further notice, but when I rang them and had a little conversation, I was told that they are not allowed to remove property for anything other than council tax or parking fines. I said "What about community charge?" and he just repeated "NOTHING, other than COUNCIL TAX or PARKING fines" I thought that was interesting?

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Think you need help from Citizens Advice.

 

I think unfortunately, however wrong we may think this is, that once they had the LO (even though no evidence is now held), that they can pursue for as long as they like. There is no legislation in force that helps you, as far as I can see.

 

But check with Citizens Advice and if you have to pay, see if you can come to an arrangement.

 

Once you are aware of the situation, suggest that you raise the subject with your local MP. I don't think they will be happy that people are being pursued for a 22 year old debt.

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Oh, Hi JackieJ, I thought I'd catch up with you. Don't you remember in 1993 you borrowed £1000 from me in the Dog & Duck pub in Cloud Cuckoo land? I'm sorry, I've lost the IOU / Receipt you gave me. I have a note of it I found in my 1993 diary though.

 

You can't make this stuff up! :jaw:

Oh! Let's have a snappy corporate strap line shall we.....

 

'Peeling the skin off the Banana Republic'

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Sorry Jackie, I just can't believe what I'm reading. This sounds like something Arthur Daily or Del Boy would try to pull off.

Oh! Let's have a snappy corporate strap line shall we.....

 

'Peeling the skin off the Banana Republic'

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Hi

 

Well they still have not answered actually what you asked and in a response i would point out that at the times you moved you informed the council of your new address at the time and recieved confirmation by letter from the council of this change. (well they aint kept records correctly and also if this is missing well a data protection issue)

 

Play them at there own game they hate that, now as you put this in as a complaint and its at stage one did they forward you a copy of their Complaints Procedure as they should have? (If not this is something else to complain about)

 

Now something I must point out after my own 6yrs battle with a council and they lost is this is going back some 22yrs as community charge so they have to use the regulations that were in force at that time NOT todays or last years regulations. (NOTE: this was scotland so it may differ in england but something to check or others may advise on that)

 

Also request the following as well:

 

1. Councils Community Charge Policy for XXXX - XXXX (just put year dates - this is important as you need to know the councils policy at the time of these charges.)

2. Council Tax Policy. (you want the latest to compare with the above to see the difference especially since almost 22yrs past they will be almost completely different)

3. All Documentation relating to that account including - liability order, community charge bills, financial statements, any data relating to me the data subject, letters etc

4 Copies of the regulations, acts of parliment being used for community charge.

 

Now in any further response from the council if they refer to certain policies, acts in fact anything them ask them to provide you with a copies in a way your still putting them to proof. Also if you dont understand anything in there letters then also just write and ask them for further clarification.

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I advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer nor Welfare Rights Adviser.

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re the poll tax/community charge being abolished and collection of outstanding amounts I have this information. "The Local Government Finance Act 1992 ss 100, 117, Sch 13 (as amended), Sch 14; and as to saving provisions enabling the collection of outstanding amounts of community charge see s 118."

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Thanks guys, there's some really useful info in there which I can put in my response. I think at least, if I can gather a load of evidence to prove their mismanagement, I can maybe refer to the local government ombudsman once I've exhausted their complaints procedure - which, incidentally, they've given me no information about at all!

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Also going to ring magistrates court tomorrow to see if they keep records of liability order being issued - because if they don't; there's no proof that the order was ever issued??? Thanks all for your help - it's much appreciated!

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I wonder what the council would say if you said that you had informed them of your new address every time you moved and that as far you were concerned, you receive no notice of any payment still being outstanding.

 

Tell them that you are quite prepared for them to request committal proceedings in front of magistrates, where you would like to bring this matter to their attention. ( Get legal advice before you do this, as I would hate for you to be sent to prison).

 

I had just read a document from the law society in 2003, where is discussed some of these issues and it basically said that the community charge payer had very few rights and the councils could do pretty much what they wanted. They were issuing liability orders before peoples benefit claims were decided. The ombudsman got involved in one such case and found the council guilty of maladministration, after someone had committed suicide due to demands from the council for payment which could not be made.

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The Ombudsman got involved in one such case and found the council guilty of maladministration, after someone had committed suicide due to demands from the council for payment which could not be made.

 

Oh man! :mad2:

Oh! Let's have a snappy corporate strap line shall we.....

 

'Peeling the skin off the Banana Republic'

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The use of the phrase 'according to our records' is an interesting one and one I suspect that the Council is reliant on. However if they feel that they can go back 22 years with some credibility on this - then where do you draw the line?

 

Perhaps I can help on that for in 1978 I attended my local county court and witnessed a remarkable exchange between a judge and the local council who actually used the phrase 'according to our records' as part of their case, to which a red eyed judge exploded 'What do you mean - according to your records? Are your records always correct? Did you check them before you came here this morning? and promptly dismissed the case.

 

So the inference from that is that the phrase 'according to our records' has no validity in law at all and that if this council can go back 22 years then it will have to think of a unique reason as to why a judgment of 34 years ago would be outdated.

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Fair-parking

 

That was a county court, where Judges could do that. When legislation was passed regarding community charge actions, they allowed these to be dealt with by magistrates. The magistrates were given very few reasons not to grant a liability order and it became a rubber stamping exercise. With a LO, you only have 14 days to go back to a magistrate to ask for a set aside. After that you have to go to the high court and ask for a judicial review which I expect would be really expensive.

 

There is nothing in the relevant legislation preventing a local authority continuing collection of the charge, based on a LO that is noted on their records. They don't have to have an actual copy. This is not in the legislation. The only thing that the OP can do, is cast doubt on the community charge still being outstanding after all these years. They may wish to involve their local MP to see if there is anything they can do. The MP might be able to make enquiries about what the OP can do and write to the local authority on their behalf. That is the only way I can see of putting a halt to collection.

We could do with some help from you.

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It wasn't the legislation I was quoting - it was the principle that the phrase 'according to our records' has no validity in law.

At which point FP surely the council could produce the alleged records on request from a magistrate or judge, to back up their fairy tale?

We could do with some help from you.

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The bailiff: A 12th Century solution re-branded as Enforcement Agents for the 21st Century to seize and sell debtors goods as before Oh so Dickensian!

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