We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Lady Fleming please sign in and let everyone know.

Council claims over £350,000 "costs" for 1-2 hour Court listing

We're waiting for Lady Fleming to read a recent response and update the status.

Dear Kirklees Borough Council,

On 6.07.2016 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 4,257 "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 £12,771 you then added this fee to the debt of the debtors as well as your own fee of £327,789. Each debtor therefore had an extra £80 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 4257 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 of the debtors listed 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 of the 40 debtors attending were not made subject to the Liability Order dated 6.7.16?

Regarding those that were not charged an extra £40 administration fee were, their names removed from the list?

Was a letter sent to every debtor listed stating the Liability Order had been made, including the ones whose fee remained £80?

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

Do you hold a sealed or otherwise signed copy of a Liability Order dated 6.7.16 ? 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 6.7.16?

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

Freedom Info, Kirklees Borough Council

Dear Lady Fleming,

I confirm receipt of your information request and that we are dealing with this and will respond to you in due course.

If you are not content with the handling of your request, you have the right to ask for an internal review. Requests for internal reviews should be addressed to the Monitoring Officer, 1st Floor, Civic Centre 3, Market Street, Huddersfield HD1 2EY. Alternatively, you can send an email to: [email address].

Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

If you are not content with the outcome of any review you have the right under section 50 of the 2000 Act to apply to the Information Commissioner for a decision as to whether your request for information has been dealt with in accordance with the requirements of the Act. The Information Commissioner’s website is at www.ico.org.uk and gives more information about the role and duties of the Commissioner. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

Regards

Information Governance Team
The Democracy Service
Civic Centre 3, High Street, Huddersfield, HD1 2TG
Telephone: 01484 221000 (voice activated switchboard – please ask for Freedom of Information)

This email and any attachments are confidential. If you have received it in error - notify the sender immediately, delete it from your system, and do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way. Kirklees Council monitors all emails sent or received.

show quoted sections

Freedom Info, Kirklees Borough Council

3 Attachments

Dear Lady Fleming

 

FoI 19098 - On 06.07.2016 Sitting at the Magistrates Court to allow
Council Tax debtors the opportunity to show why they have not paid

 

I am writing in response to your request dated 2 February 2019.  This has
been dealt with under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

 

May I first of all apologise for the delay in responding to your request.

 

The Council’s response to your specific questions is set out below:

 

On 6.07.2016 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 4,257 "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 £12,771 you then added this fee to the debt of the debtors as
well as your own fee of £327,789.  Each debtor therefore had an extra £80
added to their debt. 

 

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

 

We do not hold details of the court clerks you will need to contact the
magistrates court

 

All Council’s follow the same legal process, for issuing summonses and
obtaining Liability Orders

 

2.       The Court Clerk's letter refers to a "Summons".  Do you have a
copy of the Summons?  Is there a list of 4257 Council Tax accounts annexed
to the Summons?  Does the Summons and List bear the Court Seal?

 

Attached copy of a summons document.

 

We do not hold a copy of the list for public access. The summons or list
do not have a court seal.

 

3.       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?

 

Yes and yes

 

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

 

That information is not recorded. Any complaints relating to individual
accounts would have been dealt with at the time. Each debtor also has the
right to attend court to speak to the Magistrate.

 

5.       How many debtors on the list were Limited Companies?

 

This information is not recorded; it is not required by the Council

 

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

 

This information is not recorded; it is not required by the Council

 

7.       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?

 

The liability order hearing list shows the upto date position for all
accounts. If any cases have been paid or withdrawn in between they would
have been removed from the list.

 

8.       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?

 

The Magistrates always sit on the bench and application for the Liability
Orders is to the Magistrates. In addition to the Magistrates, there is
also a Court Clerk and Prosecuting Officer from the Council present in
court.

 

9.       How many of the debtors listed 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?

 

No record is kept

 

10.   How many of the 40 debtors attending were not made subject to the
Liability Order dated 6.7.16? 

 

Each individual case record is updated with the outcome of the hearing, we
do on keep other statistics of this type.

 

11.   Regarding those that were not charged an extra £40 administration
fee were, their names removed from the list?

 

See answer above

 

12.   Was a letter sent to every debtor listed stating the Liability Order
had been made, including the ones whose fee remained £80?

 

Yes Liability Order notification letter would be sent to all customers
where a liability order was granted and the debt/costs remains
outstanding.

 

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

 

None, only the Magistrates can sit on the bench.

 

14.   Do you hold a sealed or otherwise signed copy of a Liability Order
dated 6.7.16 ?  Is the list annexed to it the same list annexed to the
Summons referred to in the Letter of the Court Clerk?

 

Yes - Copy of signed order attached.

 

15.   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 6.7.16?

 

No statistical record kept

 

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?

 

No statistical record kept, there is no provision in the regulations for
court costs to be awarded to the defendant. The Liability Order
application would be removed or the Magistrates would not grant the
Liability Order if the application was not proven.

 

17.   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?

 

Yes

 

18.   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?

 

We have one hearing date and time per month. Occasionally stagger the time
due to volumes of customers summonsed to court.

 

If you are not content with the handling of your request, you have the
right to ask for an internal review.  Requests for internal reviews should
be submitted within 2 months of the date of receipt of the response to
your original request and should be addressed to the Monitoring Officer,
1^st Floor, Civic Centre 3, Market Street, Huddersfield HD1 2EY. 
Alternatively, you can send an email to:
[1][email address]. 

 

Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future
communications.

 

If you are not content with the outcome of any review you have the right
under section 50 of the 2000 Act to apply to the Information Commissioner
for a decision as to whether your request for information has been dealt
with in accordance with the requirements of the Act.  The Information
Commissioner’s website is at [2]www.ico.org.uk and gives more information
about the role and duties of the Commissioner.  The Information
Commissioner can be contacted at: Information Commissioner’s Office,
Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Information Governance Team

The Democracy Service

Telephone: 01484 221000 (voice activated switchboard – please ask for
Freedom of Information)

 

This email and any attachments are confidential. If you have received it
in error - notify the sender immediately, delete it from your system, and
do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way. Kirklees Council
monitors all emails sent or received.

 

 

[3][IMG]

[4]Website | [5]News | [6]Email Updates | [7]Facebook | [8]Twitter

This email and any attachments are confidential. If you have received this
email in error – please notify the sender immediately, delete it from your
system, and do not use, copy or disclose the information in any way.
Kirklees Council monitors all emails sent or received.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.ico.org.uk/
3. http://www.kirklees.gov.uk/
4. https://www.kirklees.gov.uk/
5. http://www.kirkleestogether.co.uk/
6. http://www.kirklees.gov.uk/stayconnected
7. https://www.facebook.com/liveinkirklees
8. https://twitter.com/KirkleesCouncil

We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Lady Fleming please sign in and let everyone know.

Looking for an EU Authority?

You can request documents directly from EU Institutions at our sister site AskTheEU.org . Find out more .

AskTheEU.org