Camden Council's approach to applying Council Tax summons costs

The request was partially successful.

Seb Tarantino (Account suspended)

Dear Camden Borough Council,

In reference to Freedom of Information request ref: FOI10995 (summons for non-payment of council tax) the document disclosed states that:

".... you have not paid in accordance with your Council Tax bill" https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/4...

The document indicates that £80.00 Summons Costs are included in the "Total Amount Owed"

The High Court has ruled that the sum which is included as standard on Council Tax summonses in respect of costs is merely additional information to what is statutorily required on a summons under rule 98(2) of the Magistrates Court Rules. The amount stated is to inform the recipient of the amount of costs which will be claimed by the council if it proceeds to make the application at court for a liability order. The sum is not incurred until (and if) the court grants the costs which may be a different amount to that which is included on the summons. https://www.scribd.com/document/37563681...

Q1. Why does it say in the summons document that the £80.00 summons costs are included in the Total Amount Owed when they are not incurred until (and if) the court grants the costs

Q2. Have the summons costs actually been applied to the customer's account at this stage

Yours faithfully,

Seb Tarantino

Do Not Reply, Camden Borough Council

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Heneghan, Kieran, Camden Borough Council

Dear Mr Tarantino.

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 – FOI11148.

 

Thank you for your request dated 16/15/18. We are dealing with it under
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Yours sincerely,

 

 

Kieran Heneghan  
Business Support Officer
Business Support
Corporate Services
London Borough of Camden

Telephone:    020 7974 4022
Web:              [3]camden.gov.uk

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From: Seb Tarantino [mailto:[FOI #485408 email]]
Sent: 16 May 2018 16:18
To: FOI Requests <[email address]>
Subject: Freedom of Information request - Camden Council's approach to
applying Council Tax summons costs

 

Dear Camden Borough Council,

In reference to Freedom of Information request ref: FOI10995 (summons for
non-payment of council tax) the document disclosed states that:

".... you have not paid in accordance with your Council Tax bill"
[4]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/4...
tax summons.pdf

The document indicates that £80.00 Summons Costs are included in the
"Total Amount Owed"

The High Court has ruled that the sum which is included as standard on
Council Tax summonses in respect of costs is merely additional information
to what is statutorily required on a summons under rule 98(2) of the
Magistrates Court Rules. The amount stated is to inform the recipient of
the amount of costs which will be claimed by the council if it proceeds to
make the application at court for a liability order. The sum is not
incurred until (and if) the court grants the costs which may be a
different amount to that which is included on the summons.
[5]https://www.scribd.com/document/37563681...

Q1. Why does it say in the summons document that the £80.00 summons costs
are included in the Total Amount Owed when they are not incurred until
(and if) the court grants the costs

Q2. Have the summons costs actually been applied to the customer's account
at this stage

Yours faithfully,

Seb Tarantino

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show quoted sections

Williams, Peter, Camden Borough Council

1 Attachment

Date:  07 June 2018

 

Ref:    FOI11148

 

Dear Mr Tarantino

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000 - INFORMATION REQUEST

 

Thank you for your recent Freedom of Information request.  The response to
your request is attached. 

 

We publish our responses on our Open Data Portal, you can see your
response and others back to August 2017 [1]here. 

 

Thank you for your interest in Camden council

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Peter Williams
Information and Records Management Officer
Law and Governance
Corporate Services
London Borough of Camden

Telephone:   020 7974 7857
Mobile:          07917041035
Web:             [2]camden.gov.uk

5th Floor
5PS
5 Pancras Square
London N1C 4AG

   

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References

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2. http://www.camden.gov.uk/
3. http://www.camden.gov.uk/privacystatement

Seb Tarantino (Account suspended)

Dear Peter Williams,

Thank you for your response.

I have some comments regarding the reply which you may or may not want to note.

Regulation 34(5) of the Council Tax (Administration & Enforcement) Regulations 1992 makes provision for an out of court settlement (the application does not proceed if the sum of costs which the Billing Authority are to apply for at the Magistrates' court hearing are paid or tendered beforehand). As a matter of interest, if a court had the opportunity to adjudicate on the matter there would be every reason for it to find that the Statutory Instrument in respect of regulation 34(5) was ultra vires the enabling act (Local Government Finance Act 1992). Schedule 4 of the enabling act almost certainly does not make provision for regulation 34(5) to be enacted in its current form. This would explain why proceedings in Council Tax Liability Order cases can not properly follow due process.

However, even in the way it is enacted, regulation 34(5) does not permit any costs to be added to the customer's account at the summons issuing stage. Any amount of costs stated on the summons merely informs the debtor of the amount of costs that will be applied for at the hearing.

The process of issuing/authorising the summons (i.e. Magistrate etc. signing the complaint) merely authorises the council to serve the summons on the defendant. The application for the liability order is not made until and if the council does so on the designated date of the liability hearing at the Magistrates' court when another judicial decision is made (the summons issue is the initial and separate judicial decision) whether to grant a Liability Order and award costs, both in respect of the summons and potentially any additional costs (Liability Order costs).

The judge in the High Court case linked to in my request made a ruling that it was not unlawful to include the amount of costs that would be requested on the summons should the council proceed to make the application at court for a Liability Order. That is not the same as declaring it lawful to add the sum of costs to the customer's account when the summons is issued (before the court grants an order).

Yours sincerely,

Seb Tarantino

Williams, Peter, Camden Borough Council

Thank you for your e-mail.

 

I am currently out of the office and my emails will not be read until my
return to work on Friday 15 June 2018.

 

Please forward any urgent information requests to [1][Camden Borough Council request email].

 

Yours sincerely

  

Peter Williams
Freedom of Information & Data Protection Officer
Mon, Tues, Thu & Fri

 

Information Access Officer

Records & Information Management Team
London Borough of Camden
Phone: 02079744372
Fax:     02079746472
E-mail: [2][email address]
Web:   [3]www.camden.gov.uk

 

 

 

This e-mail may contain information which is confidential, legally
privileged and/or copyright protected. This e-mail is intended for the
addressee only. If you receive this in error, please contact the sender
and delete the material from your computer. See our new Privacy Notice
[4]here which tells you how we store and process the data we hold about
you and residents.

References

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2. mailto:[email address]
3. http://www.camden.gov.uk/
4. http://www.camden.gov.uk/privacystatement

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