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have had problems with la over wrong ct bills

received mag court summons

they have charged £50 court fee plus they are going to ask for liability order

my problem is outstanding ct is £110 which is still going through an official complaint

i know that the papers have not been to court yet the la are still going to charge £50 is this lawfull or are l/a allowed to just rubber stamp applications

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Technically the Council have the law on its side but you might find some points to argue on the reasonableness of taking Court action whilst a dispute is ongoing (the thread below):

 

New Council Tax Nightmare

 

There may be other relevant information.....I will post, if and when I find it.

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As they are all rubber stamped, isn't this fact unlawful in some way as no consideration has taken place on the individual summon..

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had a quick word with courts and tribs service they say this practise is ok,

yesterday lo and behold bill from local authority

it had a payment plan attached however court charges and cost of liability order was included, now that tells me that irrespective of my going to court or not liability order would be made, that cant be right,

i winder how much l/a and mag courts are making out of this method

80 cases are going through the "system" on the same date as mine thats a great profit off one phone call

letter to clerk of the justices is due, and also a foi request to local authority are in order

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80 cases is relatively low, often this number is several thousand in respect of just one bogus court hearing. These typically happen every month.

 

If you are interested in FOI requests on these matters there is currently an appeal to the Tribunal in regards a "Decision Notice" made by the Information Commissioner:

 

Grounds of Appeal

 

The Decision Notice to which the appeal relates is here:

 

FS50505226

 

P.S. You could complain to the Local Government Ombudsman despite it being lawful for the council to take court action whilst a dispute is ongoing. It has already determined that it is bad practice to do so in previous investigations.

 

However, you would normally have to exhaust the local authority's formal complaints procedure first.

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thanks for the reply but how can the council send out a letter before the hearing dtailing the original debt + court fees+ the cost of the liability order and a repayment plan and notice that if i do not adhere to the plan recovery action will be taken without further recourse

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If the Liability Order court case has not yet been heard, the summons costs is merely the amount which the council will ask for at the Magistrates' court. Nevertheless, the court will just rubber stamp the costs without assessing whether they have been incurred, but that doesn't alter the fact that before the court hearing, the costs have not been awarded and cannot be added to your bill at this time.

 

When is the Liability Order court hearing?

 

Can you find out if the summons costs have been added to your bill, perhaps check your account on the Council's website. If added already (before the court hearing) then I'd say this would be unlawful.

Edited by outlawla

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Local authorities vary a lot. My LA will drop all costs/charges if the outstanding amount is paid in full before the Hearing - even an hour before. They'll also drop them if you agree to set up a DD for monthly payments.

 

What we get, and you may have the same, is a Summons that is clearly typed up on a form and sent out by the local authority. It's not as though they have actually incurred any County Court charges to issue it.

 

As they have not resolved your complaint I would phone them and insist on speaking to a manager and ask them to stay the proceedings until the complaint has been dealt with. If they won't help, speak to the legal department who may be more helpful.

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yes the court costs for issue of the"summons" have allready been added to the bill ie.£50 i have this in b/w

the summons was issued by the l/a between 03/10 jan on their own letterhead, it had never been to the court as i ranf the court to ask for an adjourment to be told that they didnt deal with the issue it was done by l/a over the phone,however it was signed by the clerk to justices,i should clarify that by saying it was clearly a pre signed squiggle (photo copied)

the case is not till 28th inst.

the clerks office told me how they did it and was told if i wanted an adjourment to contact l/a

i offer this up for thought the ctj nowadays is normally a solicitor ie. an "officer of the court" not allowed to committ or allow to be committed, is it not the case if as the summons states information has been laid before me today if this is untrue is it not an offence

ie. attempt to gain a pecuniary advantage by deception i think off the top of my head is sec 15 of theft act

even though it is accepted practise is it equitable

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....i offer this up for thought the ctj nowadays is normally a solicitor ie. an "officer of the court" not allowed to committ or allow to be committed, is it not the case if as the summons states information has been laid before me today if this is untrue is it not an offence

ie. attempt to gain a pecuniary advantage by deception i think off the top of my head is sec 15 of theft act

even though it is accepted practise is it equitable

 

You might be interested in reading this article:

 

The Off-White Though Still Very Sharp Teeth of the British State, particularly noting the reference to case law between R. v. Brentford Justices ex parte Catlin.

 

 

"
....They are actually being computer-generated. You might think that reasonable given that thousands of such letters do go out. But magistrates’ summons are meant to be judicial and not administrative processes. Looking at case law, a court case from 1975 relating to such summons was
R. v. Brentford Justices ex parte Catlin
, where Lord Chief Justice Widgery stated “a decision by magistrates whether to issue a summons pursuant to information laid involves the exercise of a judicial function, and is not merely administrative.” See All England Law Reports [1975] 2 All ER QBD p206-207 (I am attaching a word document with scan-in of those pages from the law reports for you to read)......

 

The liability order court case referred to in the article relates to this particular hearing (ref North East Lincolnshire council).

 

 

R. v. Brentford Justices ex parte Catlin

 

...before a summons or warrant is issued the information must be laid before a magistrate and he must go through the judicial exercise of deciding whether a summons or warrant ought to be issued or not. If a magistrate authorises the issue of a summons without having applied his mind to the information then he is guilty of dereliction of duty and if in any particular justices’ clerk’s office a practice goes on of summonses being issued without information being laid before the magistrate at all, then a very serious instance of maladministration arises which should have the attention of the authorities without delay.

 

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yes the court costs for issue of the"summons" have allready been added to the bill ie.£50 i have this in b/w...

 

Are you sure that this sum (£50 summons) is not just an amount stated on the summons, i.e., warning you of the amount you need to pay to stop the court proceedings? Can you prove your outstanding council tax account balance has increased by £50? If so this must be unlawful as the court hearing is not scheduled until the 28th.

 

Some reference here to decide for yourself:

 

Case stated Draft representation, paragraph 7(a)

"
7. We were of the following opinion:-

 

a) We recognise that in all cases where costs are claimed we always have a discretion as to whether to order them, and if so, in what sum. Although the appellant admitted the matter of complaint and costs would therefore normally follow the event, the fact that the respondent asked for the normal..amount of costs in this case did not prevent us from reducing the amount or refusing to make an order for costs at all.

The Ministry of Justice:

 

"
Outside the scope of the act it may be helpful to clarify that whilst the award of costs remains a matter of judicial discretion a maximum level of costs that the local authorities may apply for has been agreed. The court cost of £125 is the maximum amount that can be asked for and does not, and cannot, fetter judicial discretion when deciding what amount to actually award.

 

Defendants are notified of the amount that will be claimed in advance of the hearing in the ‘Summons for Non-Payment of Council Tax’.

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im paying the outstanding debt am monday before court hearing, bearing in mind that the summons is unlawfull and there is no outstanding debt what is the possible outcome

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im paying the outstanding debt am monday before court hearing, bearing in mind that the summons is unlawfull and there is no outstanding debt what is the possible outcome

 

Assuming the outstanding debt is being paid, less summons costs, the council are likely to proceed and make the application for a liability order on the day of the hearing for a sum equal to the costs under the provision of Regulation 34(8) of the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992.

 

The order will almost certainly be granted without it even being known to the Bench that the outstanding debt, according to the local authority, is only an amount equal to the standard summons costs sought.

 

Regulation 34 provides at paragraph 8 that the court shall, subject to an application by the billing authority, grant an order for the costs alone, where payment of the council tax has been made after the issue of a summons but before the liability order has been made by the court:

(8) Where the sum payable is paid after a liability order has been applied for under paragraph (2) but before it is made, the court shall nonetheless (if so requested by the billing authority) make the order in respect of a sum of an amount equal to the costs reasonably incurred by the authority in making the application.

 

You are of course entitled to appear before the bench and present your defence which could be that the authority applied for a liability order knowing that the Council Tax was in dispute and although legally entitled this is bad practice according to the LGO (Local Government Ombudsman) and others. Or, you could just insist on witnessing proceedings without presenting any defence (you may be sceptical).

 

Additionally, the regulations state that a billing authority MAY "apply to a magistrates' court for an order against the person by whom it is payable". It was therefore open to the authority to use discretion and not bring about court proceedings under such circumstances.

 

You could also raise the fact that an amount was added to your council tax liability in respect of court costs without any being awarded the council, i.e., before the court hearing.

 

It may be however, that after going through all this bother, the bench will just ignore all your defence and side with the council and all you will have achieved is witnessing just how fair our justice system is.

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I forgot to add that the liability order which the Magistrate will rubber stamp, is likely (depending on the council) to include an amount additional to the summons (£50). Normally, the amount (if any) will be stated on the summons (standard sum), and like the summons costs, the billing authority is taking for granted that the court will award this sum.

 

It is becoming standard practice for local authorities to front load the latter charge (so called liability order costs) to the summons so that the income generated from taking residents to court is vastly increased.

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loads went through "on the nod" i objected little chap from council said on this occasion we wont ask for summons costs or liability order id had a word with him before 14.00 and told him i was going to object and on what grounds

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loads went through "on the nod" i objected little chap from council said on this occasion we wont ask for summons costs or liability order id had a word with him before 14.00 and told him i was going to object and on what grounds

 

Goes to show it pays to turn up. Well done, but note your cards will be marked now.


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i dont care if they mark my card as i can and am more than willing to give the local authority a run for my money i only hope that they will try to be a bit more equitable and lawfull with other people but i doubt it.

i feel a bit of a campign coming on.

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Excellent! What did you say that clinched it?

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simply informed "chap" from council that a complaint laid before me must be accompanied by evidence he said it had i new it hadnt and asked him to produce the papers, he couldnt further i had the name of the member pf the clerks staff who told me everything was done by t/phone. he didnt object then

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