CPR - Signature of Documents by mechanical means

Roedd y cais yn rhannol lwyddiannus.

Dear Criminal Procedure Rule Committee,

PRACTICE DIRECTION 5A – COURT DOCUMENTS This Practice Direction supplements CPR Part 5

Signature of Documents by mechanical means
1
Where, under rule 5.3, a replica signature is printed
electronically or by other mechanical means on any document, the
name of the person whose signature is printed must also be printed
so that the person may be identified. This paragraph does not apply
to claim forms issued through the Claims Production Centre.

http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedu...

1) Under the FoIA I wish to know if the above CPR practice direction applies to the magistrates court when granting summonses for non payment of council tax to the council.

2) Under the FoIA I wish to know if the above CPR practice direction applies to the council who create and issue non payment of council tax summonses ( court documents) on behalf of the magistrates court who grants them.

3) Please provide all recorded information that confirms that when the council prints a replica signature (a facsimile signature) onto a magistrates court summonses for non payment of council tax on behalf of the court, that the council also prints the name of the person whose signature is printed so that the person may be identified.

Many thanks for your time in answering this FOI request and I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours faithfully,

RICHARD VALDRY

Criminal Procedure Rule Enquiries, Criminal Procedure Rule Committee

Dear Mr Valdry,

Thank you for your message.

I am the secretary to the Criminal Procedure Rule Committee. The Committee makes the Criminal Procedure Rules, but not the Civil Procedure Rules, to which you refer. Those rules are made - unsurprisingly ! - by the Civil Procedure Rule Committee: information about which, and contact details for which, appear on this page of the Ministry of Justice website:

http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedu...

However, I think I can answer your question. No, the Civil Procedure Rules do not apply to magistrates' courts. Those rules are made under the Civil Procedure Act 1997, and govern the practice and procedure of county courts, the High Court and the Court of Appeal, civil division.

The Criminal Procedure Rules are made under the Courts Act 2003, and they govern the practice and procedure of the Court of Appeal, criminal division and that of the Crown Court and magistrates' courts: but only to the extent that those latter courts are dealing with 'a criminal cause or matter'.

As a matter of English and Welsh law, proceedings for the enforcement of council tax payments are not in a criminal cause or matter, so the Criminal Procedure Rules do not apply to those proceedings, either.

The procedural law that DOES apply is contained in the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 (see section 1, in particular) and in the Magistrates' Courts Rules 1981 (see rule 98, in particular). How to apply that law properly is itself a question of law, of course, and if you think that a magistrates' court has not applied the law properly then you may be able to appeal against its decision or to apply for judicial review. However, I cannot offer you legal advice, and I strongly recommend that you take independent legal advice if you are thinking of taking such action.

There is a famous - to lawyers ! - judicial review case about printed signatures on summonses, R v Brentford Justices, ex parte Catlin [1975] QB 455, the gist of which judgment was that a reproduction (in that case, rubber ink stamped) signature is lawful.

Although the Criminal Procedure Rules do not apply, as I explained above, CrimPR rule 7.4 codifies (for criminal cases) the requirements that are to all intents and purposes the same in non-criminal cases, like council tax. See under the Part 7 heading on this page (and bear in mind that, in the Criminal Procedure Rules, 'court' includes a magistrate or justices' legal adviser exercising the powers of a magistrate):

http://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedu...

The gist is that the recipient of a summons needs to be able to assure him or herself that it really was authorised by a magistrate, or justices' legal adviser exercising the powers of a magistrate, at the court from which it appears to have come, by visiting the court office or telephoning to ask if what has been received really was (in that sense) 'issued' there (wherever the summons form may have been printed or posted). I have to say that I have never myself heard of a case of a forged summons, but that doesn't mean it has never happened.

I hope this helps. Bearing in mind, please, that I cannot give you legal advice, about a specific case or generally, if you would like any more information, please let me know.

With best wishes,
Jonathan Solly

Jonathan Solly
Criminal Procedure Rule Committee secretariat
Ministry of Justice
102, Petty France, London SW1H 9AJ
020 3334 4031

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Criminal Procedure Rule Enquiries,
Dear Jonathan Solly

Thank you for your very helpful reply and the information it contains and your offer of further assistance. Please would you be so kind as to provide me with the date that the Magistrates' Courts Rules 1981 section 109(3) was removed I am particularly interested in the wording it contained and any links relating to its deletion would be helpful.

May I further trouble you to comment on the following:

Magistrates - Civil

Although most magistrates deal with criminal work, they also decide many civil matters, particularly in relation to family work. Magistrates' civil roles include dealing with cases such as non-payment of council tax.

Magistrates' civil roles include dealing with cases such as non-payment of council tax.

http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/you-and-the-...

Once again many thanks for your time and assistance in answering this FOI request and I look
forward to hearing from you.

Yours faithfully,

RICHARD VALDRY

Criminal Procedure Rule Enquiries, Criminal Procedure Rule Committee

Dear Mr Valdry,

Thank you for your message.

Rule 109(3) of the 1981 Rules is still in force, I think. It was added by rules 9 and 45 of some amending rules made in 2003, which you will find on the government's legislation website at:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2003/...

I am not sure what comment you want from me on the extract from the Judiciary website to which you refer. Baffling as it may be to many of us, including me, the distinction in some instances drawn by the law between civil and criminal cases is what it is. The Judiciary website and I have said the same thing about council tax cases: they are not treated by the law as criminal.

I hope this helps.

All the best,
Jonathan

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Dear Criminal Procedure Rule Enquiries,

Dear Jonathan Solly

Thank you once again for your reply . One more thing that I would like you to clarify if you may. The Maigstrates’Courts are (as I have demonstrated with the previous link) conducting non-payment of council tax business in civil proceedings enforced by civil law, is this correct.

Yours sincerely,

RICHARD VALDRY

Criminal Procedure Rule Enquiries, Criminal Procedure Rule Committee

Dear Mr Valdry,

The short answer (in my opinion: don't forget what I've said about the importance of you taking independent legal advice) is: yes.

But, though this may sound a bit peculiar, if I were you I wouldn't get too distracted by the labels. As I've already said, council tax enforcement is not treated by English and Welsh law as 'in a criminal cause or matter' for procedure rules purposes. But, as I've also already explained, nor does it come within the remit of the Civil Procedure Rule Committee. So if for procedure rules purposes the proceedings aren't criminal, and they certainly aren't family proceedings, then what's left is usually described as 'civil', even though that's in some ways a misnomer. It's probably more helpful to concentrate on whatever feature of the system interests you, or whatever decision in a particular case or cases you think is wrong, and then look at the law on council tax enforcement as that law applies to that feature or decision, than it is to try to classify that law as criminal, civil, hybrid, taxation, local authority, or whatever, and then to try to draw a conclusion from that classification. In my opinion !

With best wishes,
Jonathan

dangos adrannau a ddyfynnir

Gadawodd Arnold Layne (Ataliwyd y cyfrif) anodiad ()

I'm glad I'm not the only one being bamboozled by Council Tax liability order applications.

Though, unfortunately reading this FoI request has added to that confusion.

I hope someone knowledgeable in these matters comes across this who may be able to clear up the conundrum.

That being:

It states in relation to this FoI (ref 11 January 2013):

"The procedural law that DOES apply is contained in the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980 (see section 1, in particular..."

This is at odds with what it states in this request here:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/a...

"6. Section 1 or Section 51 Magistrates' Court Act 1980 - the application is made under Section 51 Magistrates' Court Act 1980."

There are important "costs" implications as to which section of the MCA 1980 liability order applications are made under.

Read the judgment of Desouza v Croydon Magistrates Court, to see what I mean:

http://www.crimeline.info/uploads/cases/...