Council claim £36,682 "costs" for single court hearing

Waiting for an internal review by Craven District Council of their handling of this request.

Dear Craven District Council,

On 24.06.2016 there was a sitting at the Magistrates Court to allow Council Tax debtors the opportunity to show why they have not paid the amount stated in a Complaint to the Magistrates clerk. Approximately a month previous to that date, you produced and sent the Magistrates Clerk's letter informing 511 "debtors" that they had been summoned to the Court for that date. (I shall refer to the term "debtors" whilst acknowleging the fact the debt recorded against one or more of them may be the result of the billing authority's maladministration.)

To allow you the authority to send the letters mentioned above you paid a Court fee of £1,533 you then added this fee to the debt of the debtors as well as your own fee of £31,682 Each debtor therefore had an extra £65 added to their debt.

What is the name of the Court Clerk on the letter you sent out?

The Court Clerk's letter refers to a "Summons". Do you have a copy of the Summons? Is there a list of 511 Council Tax accounts annexed to the Summons? Does the Summons and List bear the Court Seal?

Did any Court Official or Magistrate make any enquiries relating to the accuracy of the list? Did a billing authority officer swear an oath when reporting the list as accurate?

How many debtors on the list had started your complaints procedure regarding their Council Tax bill.

How many debtors on the list were Limited Companies?

How many accounts on the list were in the name of the same person?

Between sending the Court Clerk's letter and the Date of the sitting were any updated lists presented to the Court Clerk revealing one or more debtors had cleared their debts or proved they were not liable to pay the debt mentioned in the Court Clerk's letter?

On the day of the sitting were there any Magistrates present or were those present all civil servants? Was anyone with Judiciary Powers present at the sitting?

How many debtors attending showed that they had paid the debt or showed why they were not liable to pay the debt? Did a Billing Authority officer make a record of what they showed?

How many debtors attending were not made subject to the Liability Order dated 24.06.16?

How many Billing Authority's officers sat on the bench?

Do you hold a sealed or otherwise signed copy of a Liability Order dated 24.06.16 ? Is the list annexed to it the same list annexed to the Summons referred to in the Letter of the Court Clerk?

How many of the debtors have been imprisoned, lost their home through forced sale, or have been made bankrupt as a result of the Liability Order made on 24.06.16?

Considering all sittings there have been in as many years as you can reasonably look at, has a debtor ever had costs awarded in their favour or satisfied the Court that they are not liable to pay the debt demanded?

When Magistrates are satisfied one or more debtors on the list is not liable to pay the debt recorded against them, can there still be a Liability Order in respect of the other debtors on the list?

On court dates where there has been more than one sitting, is this due to a debtor requesting to appear in front of Magistrates to show why they are not liable for the debt? If so how many hearing dates have had more than one sitting for as far back as you can reasonably see?

Yours faithfully,

Lady Fleming

accesstoinfo@cravendc.gov.uk, Craven District Council

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Craven District Council
1 Belle Vue Square, Broughton Road, Skipton, BD23 1FJ
www.cravendc.gov.uk

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accesstoinfo, Craven District Council

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Please see the Council's reply to your request for information.

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Dear accesstoinfo,

I have used my name in accordance with the FOI Act. Please provide the information requested.

Yours sincerely,

Lady Fleming

accesstoinfo@cravendc.gov.uk, Craven District Council

Thank you for contacting Craven District Council. This is an automatic response.
We confirm that we have received your correspondence.

If you have made a
request for information held by the Council in accordance with the Freedom of
Information Act or Environmental Information Regulations, we intend to send you
a reply within 20 working days of receiving your request, as described on the
Council's website. If for any reason, we are unable to reply within this
timescale, or if we need you to clarify your request, we will write to you
before the 20 working day period has elapsed.

If you have sent us a
request under the Data Protection Act by way of a Subject Access Request, we
will acknowledge your request separately. If there is anything else that you
wish to discuss with us in the meantime, you can contact the Council during
normal office hours on 01756 700600.

Craven District Council
1 Belle Vue Square, Broughton Road, Skipton, BD23 1FJ
www.cravendc.gov.uk

This e-mail, including any attachments, is confidential
and intended only for the attention and use of the named addressee(s). It may
contain information covered by legal, professional or other privilege. If you
are not an addressee, please inform the sender immediately and destroy this
e-mail. Do not read, copy, use, retain or disclose this e-mail or any part of
it. Its contents do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of Craven
District Council. All reasonable precautions have been taken to ensure no
viruses are present in this e-mail. Craven District Council cannot accept
responsibility for loss or damage arising from the use of this e-mail or
attachments and recommend that you subject these to virus checking
procedures prior to use.

Please be aware that all communications sent to or from Craven District
Council may be subject to recording and/or monitoring in accordance with
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Wisdom left an annotation ()

Initially refusing the request.

David Roper-Newman, Craven District Council

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David Roper-Newman
Information Governance Manager
t: 01756706336
e: [email address]

Craven District Council
1 Belle Vue Square, Broughton Road, Skipton, BD23 1FJ
www.cravendc.gov.uk

This e-mail, including any attachments, is confidential
and intended only for the attention and use of the named addressee(s). It may
contain information covered by legal, professional or other privilege. If you
are not an addressee, please inform the sender immediately and destroy this
e-mail. Do not read, copy, use, retain or disclose this e-mail or any part of
it. Its contents do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of Craven
District Council. All reasonable precautions have been taken to ensure no
viruses are present in this e-mail. Craven District Council cannot accept
responsibility for loss or damage arising from the use of this e-mail or
attachments and recommend that you subject these to virus checking
procedures prior to use.

Please be aware that all communications sent to or from Craven District
Council may be subject to recording and/or monitoring in accordance with
relevant legislation.

Dear David Roper-Newman,

You may address me as Ms Fleming if you wish.

Yours sincerely,

Lady Fleming