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General Category => General No To Mob Discussion => Topic started by: Pat Pending on 06 June, 2012, 09:44:37 AM

Title: Council abusing the Courts and residents
Post by: Pat Pending on 06 June, 2012, 09:44:37 AM
A friend of mine is having a spot of bother with a bullying Council and what he told me seems to me to be totally wrong and I would have thought illegal. I would be interested in any views you guys / girls may have on it, and if my friend has to accept the Councils stance or tell them to go and poke their threats.
This is how I believe the problem started..... He pays his Council Tax by Cheque and has always resisted the Councils wishes that he pay by Direct Debit. He has always paid on time with no arrears, the Tax was increased by a small amount by the Council which I think amounted to
something like £5.00 per month.  He was sent a letter about this but for whatever reason he forgot to increase the cheque by the new amount, then the Council issued I think three letters regarding the arrears which he did nothing about thinking that he would just add the amount to the next payment, which he did and the cheque was cashed by the Council. He has received a Summons instigated by the Council for the amount of £5.00 which he does not owe as they cashed the cheque! They have said if he pays by Direct Debit they will cancel the Summons!!!
Surely this must be breaking some very fundamental Law of some kind to abuse the Magistrate Courts like this and to Blackmail a resident in this way.
Title: Re: Council abusing the Courts and residents
Post by: Coco on 06 June, 2012, 10:26:49 AM
I'm no expert but, as long as your friend has firm evidence that he has paid the correct amount - bank statements should suffice - the Council would be acting unlawfully in attempting to use the summons to coerce him into switching to payment by direct debit. If he allows the process to continue to the Magistrates Court I believe he would have a very strong case to claim for both costs and damages - and wouldn't it be wonderful publicity for the Council if the Press were to find out too!
Title: Re: Council abusing the Courts and residents
Post by: The Bald Eagle on 06 June, 2012, 11:34:08 AM
You might want to tell him to demand the statement of his council tax account that they used when issuing the summons, together with an up to date version. If the up to date one shows that he does not owe the money, just think of the fun he could have with it when he waves it under the nose of the magistrates. ;D

"Yes Sir/Madam. I have been summoned before you to be held to account for non payment of council tax in the sum of £5. Presumably the council have proof that I currently owe this sum and have put it into evidence? If not, I have a bank statement that is proof of payment if it pleases the court."

 :pmsl: :pmsl: :pmsl: :pmsl: :pmsl:
Title: Re: Council abusing the Courts and residents
Post by: Belplasca on 06 June, 2012, 01:34:32 PM
I have a horrible feeling that the Council will claim that the amount WAS outstanding when they issued the summons.

So, what we need to know is whether it is a summons to get the allegec unpaid tax paid or if it is a summons for failing to pay the tax...

I wonder if criminal law could apply in the latter case? (I know it shouldn't, but councils seem to be getting extraordinary powers and status these days...)

Anyway, if this summons is for the "offence" of non-payment, and the magistrate is misinformed (as they often are with DVLA cases...) then the council just might win their case even though any reasonable person would disagree with such a judgement...

Bob

Title: Re: Council abusing the Courts and residents
Post by: Kill Switch on 06 June, 2012, 02:05:09 PM
I think Bob makes a very important distinction regarding what the summons is for, get your pal to check dates etc.  I think the most important point is that they are saying they will cancel the summons if he pays by direct debit, this is absolutely blackmail, hopefully he has this "offer" in writing, I think a court would take a dim view of their time being used in this way.
Title: Re: Council abusing the Courts and residents
Post by: Pat Pending on 06 June, 2012, 02:09:33 PM
The summons is for non payment of Council Tax which they are putting as the full amount for the year not the alleged £5.00
So they have used the original outstanding £5.00  as a way to bully the person into paying by Direct Debit or loose the right to pay monthly and pay the whole years Tax up front.
Yes he does have the Direct Debit or else threat in writing.
Title: Re: Council abusing the Courts and residents
Post by: Nigel W on 06 June, 2012, 02:27:12 PM
http://www.canterbury.gov.uk/main.cfm?objectid=23 (http://www.canterbury.gov.uk/main.cfm?objectid=23)

You have a legal right to pay by instalments, but this is lost automatically if:

You do not pay when you receive a reminder, or
•If you have had 2 reminders which you have paid, and are late paying any other instalment.

If you receive a final notice this means your instalments have been cancelled and you have to pay the whole of the balance on your account, not just the payments you have missed.

If you receive a court summons it will also be for the whole balance, plus the cost of issuing the summons. If you still do not pay after a summons has been issued the council will ask the magistrates to award a liability order, and more costs will be added to your account.

http://www.south-norfolk.gov.uk/counciltax/497.asp (http://www.south-norfolk.gov.uk/counciltax/497.asp)

What happens if you don’t pay on time

Regulations for council tax payments require 10 monthly instalments from April to January. The number of instalments will be reduced where bills are produced later in the year.

You are required to make your payments by the due dates shown on your bills. It is essential that payments are actually received by us on or before that due date.

Where payments are not received on time recovery action will begin without delay.

The maximum number of reminder notices you will receive will be two.
If you continue to pay late after two reminders, you will receive a final notice and you will lose your right to pay by instalments. If the full amount on the final notice is not paid a summons will be issued and you will be charged legal costs of £40.

Title: Re: Council abusing the Courts and residents
Post by: Robinthehood on 06 June, 2012, 02:37:06 PM
I wonder how much Adimin cost to the council for writing all those letters to get the £5.

Knowing how useless councils are, probably took one full time person a whole week to arrange this, and his/her manager's time to get approval/advise, and the cost of that.
What a waste of public money, used for harassing a resident who actually pays council tax.

Is this one not one of those council's being looked at by District Auditor? :P
Title: Re: Council abusing the Courts and residents
Post by: Pat Pending on 06 June, 2012, 02:58:39 PM
Welwyn Hatfield Council is the culprit I believe.
Title: Re: Council abusing the Courts and residents
Post by: Nigel W on 06 June, 2012, 03:43:13 PM
Welwyn Hatfield Council

Recovery of Council Tax

Recovery Process

If you pay late we will send you a reminder or final notice. If you do not pay you lose your right to pay by instalments, and this could result in you being summonsed to appear in a Magistrate's Court and charged court costs.

You need to attend court if you have a legally valid reason for not paying. The only valid reasons are that: we have not billed you properly, or that you can prove that the bill has already been paid. Not having any money is not a valid defence. If you make a payment arrangement with the us before the Court date you will not have to go to the court hearing.

See also:

http://www.welhat.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=918 (http://www.welhat.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=918)

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/homeandcommunity/yourlocalcouncilandcounciltax/counciltax/dg_10037424 (http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/homeandcommunity/yourlocalcouncilandcounciltax/counciltax/dg_10037424)

A few years ago I appealed successfully against the tax banding for an entire road.  Some people who had lived there for years got £000's in refunds! It is very easy to do.  First you need to get similar properties tax bands in your area and compare them. You then need to get a valuation for your property and similar ones in your road. This is easily done on the net. You then can work backwards to get the value of the property when the band was set in 1991. These figures are easily obtained. When the tax bands were originally set they were set in a hurry by people driving by in cars!

See also:

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/diol1/doitonline/dg_4017252 (http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/diol1/doitonline/dg_4017252)

The best site to use is this one:

http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/reclaim/council-tax-bands-change (http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/reclaim/council-tax-bands-change)

Please post up any results. A word of warning before applying make sure that you have a strong case.  If you need any help send an on line message.
Title: Re: Council abusing the Courts and residents
Post by: BGB on 06 June, 2012, 04:17:19 PM
LBTH once summonsed me for 72p.  I went to court and after 30 minutes in front of the magistrate Going through the history of the account offered to pay the 72p.  The magistrate gave the council representative a telling off and I gave them a pile of small change.
Title: Re: Council abusing the Courts and residents
Post by: melville-vs-medway on 07 June, 2012, 12:17:53 AM
You might want to tell him to demand the statement of his council tax account that they used when issuing the summons, together with an up to date version. If the up to date one shows that he does not owe the money, just think of the fun he could have with it when he waves it under the nose of the magistrates. ;D

"Yes Sir/Madam. I have been summoned before you to be held to account for non payment of council tax in the sum of £5. Presumably the council have proof that I currently owe this sum and have put it into evidence? If not, I have a bank statement that is proof of payment if it pleases the court."

 :pmsl: :pmsl: :pmsl: :pmsl: :pmsl:


You are presuming that the friend will get a hearing....

I attended Chatham Magistrates court on eight separate occasions and never received a hearing despite having a legal / lawful right and reason for challenging and with evidence that I was not withholding paying my council TAX. Each time I was found guilty with no hearing, was never called into court even though I was there in the court waiting area.

Read the following....

Romans 13:6-7

(6) For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God's ministers attending continually to this very thing.
(7) Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.

With God on their side you have no chance..  ::)
Title: Re: Council abusing the Courts and residents
Post by: tommy the trumpet on 08 June, 2012, 12:17:55 AM
Ihave a friend who has had a few issues with this process regarding vat, he asked for the details of the vat included in the payment and they declined to provide it. I was not aware there was a vat content in the tax but he insists there is.

Being a provider of credit should they not have licensing from the fsa to be a licensed credit broker ( I have never seen referal to it on their bill they send out) so they can be brought to account when they overstep the mark, but I think the council tax system is set up to let them take the piss and abuse the courts and we all know how EA's are very capable of that.
Unfortunatly Thatcher tied it all up years ago they send out a one sided payment plan you have no say to if you disagree, any other credit agreement they would at least require a signiture, this one is even more dictatorial than the the banks.

Its not God they have on their side Paul its realms of inept corrupt incompetant local and national politicians who would be more suited to scrubbing shithouses, but then as I have said many times when people elect somebody forget the party they represent and look at the quality of the candidate and are they capable of the tasks in hand because the shite we have now ain't.

Title: Re: Council abusing the Courts and residents
Post by: Pat Pending on 26 June, 2012, 10:34:57 AM
Just to let you know how this was resolved guys, After writing to his MP and copying all the correspondence to him the Council have said they will take no further action, they have removed all proceedings and charges, confirmed that it has not been registered as an overdue debt, and said he can continue the same payment method as before, and apologised for any inconvenience caused. He asked me to pass on his thanks for your input and help. :dancing: :dancing: :dancing:
Title: Re: Council abusing the Courts and residents
Post by: Nigel W on 26 June, 2012, 10:40:02 AM
Well done Pat.
Title: Re: Council abusing the Courts and residents
Post by: Kill Switch on 26 June, 2012, 11:52:45 AM
Good news mate.