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

Council tax payment allocation in accordance with R. v Miskin Lower Justices [1953]

We're waiting for S Staffordson to read recent responses and update the status.

Dear Maidstone Borough Council,

The Council makes the statement quoted below from the document link:
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/4...

"MBC's computerised accounting system is set up to recognise Council Tax payments due per any payment schedule either created when a new bill is sent or when such is agreed and confirmed in writing to the liable party. All other payments received onto any Council Tax account will then reduce the oldest debt first. Whilst we retain the ability to re-allocate any payments made, it is the responsibility of the liable party to advise if this is necessary."

The above does not agree with the judgment in the case of R. v Miskin Lower Justices (see below link to the judgment):

http://s000.tinyupload.com/index.php?fil...

The judgment clarifies the position in cases where a creditor has to make a decision as to which account payment should be allocated when a debtor has one account more burdensome for him than another and his payment is unspecified.

Clearly the council's statement, if it were to agree with the judgment, would be.....

[[ Where the debtor does not make any reference as to where the payment should be allocated then the creditor must allocate the payment to the account which it is most beneficial to the debtor to reduce. ]]

Q. Where did the council obtain the information regarding the appropriation of payments case law which conflicts with the judgment in R. v Miskin Lower Justices [1953]?

Yours faithfully,

S Staffordson

Complaints & FOI (MBC), Maidstone Borough Council

Date: 18/09/19
 
 
Dear S Staffordson
 
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT REQUEST
 
Ref: FOI/614
 
Thank you for your request for information. We will have a response ready
for you within 20 working days of the date you made your request.
 
After considering your request, we may decide to refuse to supply the
information under a number of exemptions that exist in legislation. For
details of these exemptions, please visit the Information Commissioner’s
website:
[1]https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/gui...
 
If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me.  Please
remember to quote the reference above in any future communications.
 
Yours sincerely
 
FOI Team
Policy and Information Team
Maidstone Borough Council, Maidstone House, King Street, Maidstone, Kent
ME15 6JQ
t 01622 602640 w [2]www.maidstone.gov.uk
 
 

show quoted sections

Complaints & FOI (MBC), Maidstone Borough Council

Date: 09/10/2019

Ref:   FOI/614

 

Dear S Staffordson

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT REQUEST

 

You wrote to us requesting information on council tax payment allocations.

 

Under Section 42 of the Freedom of Information Act, information in respect
of which a claim to legal professional privilege (LLP) could be maintained
in legal proceedings is exempt information. The information requested
relates to a matter that is subject to ongoing litigation. The client’s
ability to speak freely and frankly with his or her legal adviser in order
to obtain appropriate legal advice is a fundamental requirement of the
English legal system. The concept of LPP protects the confidentiality of
communications between a lawyer and client. This helps to ensure complete
fairness in legal proceedings.

 

In considering the public interest test, we consider that the public
interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in
disclosure. We recognise that there is strong public interest in
safeguarding openness and transparency in all communications between
client and lawyer. However, we feel that there is greater interest in
maintaining the exemption due to the importance of ensuring frankness
between lawyer and client which goes to serve the wider administration of
justice. The interest in maintaining the exemption is particularly strong
because the matter is being dealt with in live legal proceedings.

 

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please
remember to quote the reference above in any future communications.

 

If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your
request and wish to request a review of our decision, please respond to
this email and I will pass it on to Mid Kent Legal Services to conduct a
review. Please ensure you outline your reasons for requesting a review.

 

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint, you may apply
directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. Generally, the
ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the complaints
procedure provided by the Council.  The Information Commissioner can be
contacted at: The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water
Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

 

Yours sincerely

 

FOI Team

Policy and Information

Maidstone Borough Council, Maidstone House King Street, Maidstone, Kent
ME15 6JQ

t []01622 602640 w [1]www.maidstone.gov.uk

To access our digital services please visit www.maidstone.gov.uk/service
Sign up to receive your Council Tax bill by email http://www.maidstone.gov.uk/emailbilling

We understand the importance of ensuring that personal data, including sensitive personal data is always treated lawfully and appropriately and that the rights of individuals are upheld.

We are required to collect, use and hold personal data about individuals. Data is required for the purposes of carrying out our statutory obligations, delivering services and meeting the needs of individuals that we deal with. This includes current, past and prospective employees, service users, members of the public, Members of the Council, our business partners and other local authorities or public bodies.

To view our full statement to see how your data will be stored and processed please visit https://maidstone.gov.uk/dataprotection

This email is confidential. If you receive it by mistake, please advise the sender by email immediately.
Any unauthorised use of the message or attachments is prohibited. Unless stated otherwise, any opinions are personal and cannot be attributed to Maidstone Borough Council.
Unless a purchase order is attached this email is not a contract or an order.
It is your responsibility to carry out Virus checks before opening any attachments.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.maidstone.gov.uk/

Dear Complaints & FOI (MBC),

Please review this because if as you say the information requested relates to a matter that is subject to ongoing litigation then it is of public importance and the kind of information that would be in the public interest. Hence, in considering the public interest test, disclosure would clearly outweigh the public interest in maintaining the exemption.

Yours sincerely,

S Staffordson

Complaints & FOI (MBC), Maidstone Borough Council

Date: 14/10/19
Ref: FOI/614

Dear S Staffordson

Thank you for your request for an internal review. I have passed this on to Mid Kent Legal Services to review your request and the response. You will receive a response within 20 working days.

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint, you may apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. Generally, the ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the complaints procedure provided by the Council. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF. https://ico.org.uk/

Yours sincerely,

Complaints & FOI Team
Policy & Information Team
Maidstone Borough Council, King Street, Maidstone, Kent ME15 6JQ
e [email address] w www.maidstone.gov.uk

show quoted sections

Dear Complaints & FOI (MBC),

Thanks, I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,

S Staffordson

Gary Rowland,

Dear S Staffordson

 

Review of FOI Request #614 (Maidstone Borough Council)

 

I have considered your request for review, dated 13 October 2019, of your
original request received on 12 September 2019.

 

Your request for review stated:

 

Please review this because if as you say the information requested relates
to a matter that is subject to ongoing litigation then it is of public
importance and the kind of information that would be in the public
interest. Hence, in considering the public interest test, disclosure would
clearly outweigh the public interest in maintaining the exemption.

 

Your initial request asked for the following information:

 

The Council makes the statement quoted below from the document link:

[1]https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/4...

 

"MBC's computerised accounting system is set up to recognise Council Tax
payments due per any payment schedule either created when a new bill is
sent or when such is agreed and confirmed in writing to the liable party.
All other payments received onto any Council Tax account will then reduce
the oldest debt first. Whilst we retain the ability to re-allocate any
payments made, it is the responsibility of the liable party to advise if
this is necessary."

 

The above does not agree with the judgment in the case of R. v Miskin
Lower Justices (see below link to the judgment):

 

http://s000.tinyupload.com/index.php?fil...

 

The judgment clarifies the position in cases where a creditor has to make
a decision as to which account payment should be allocated when a debtor
has one account more burdensome for him than another and his payment is
unspecified.

 

Clearly the council's statement, if it were to agree with the judgment,
would be.....

 

[[ Where the debtor does not make any reference as to where the payment
should be allocated then the creditor must allocate the payment to the
account which it is most beneficial to the debtor to reduce. ]]

 

Q. Where did the council obtain the information regarding the
appropriation of payments case law which conflicts with the judgment in R.
v Miskin Lower Justices [1953]?

 

The Council issued the following response on 9 October 2019:

 

Under Section 42 of the Freedom of Information Act, information in respect
of which a claim to legal professional privilege (LLP) could be maintained
in legal proceedings is exempt information. The information requested
relates to a matter that is subject to ongoing litigation.

 

The client’s ability to speak freely and frankly with his or her legal
adviser in order to obtain appropriate legal advice is a fundamental
requirement of the English legal system.

 

The concept of LPP protects the confidentiality of communications between
a lawyer and client. This helps to ensure complete fairness in legal
proceedings.

 

In considering the public interest test, we consider that the public
interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in
disclosure. We recognise that there is strong public interest in
safeguarding openness and transparency in all communications between
client and lawyer. However, we feel that there is greater interest in
maintaining the exemption due to the importance of ensuring frankness
between lawyer and client which goes to serve the wider administration of
justice. The interest in maintaining the exemption is particularly strong
because the matter is being dealt with in live legal proceedings.

 

Response

 

Having concluded my review, I uphold the decision that was taken by the
Council to withhold the information requested. 

 

Whilst I take on board your comment that disclosure would clearly outweigh
the public interest in maintaining the exemption, I am afraid I do not
agree.  The Information Commissioner’s Office guidance states that
safeguarding openness in all communications between client and lawyer to
ensure access to full and frank legal advice, is fundamental to the
administration of justice. 

 

Whilst I appreciate that there is always a presumption of disclosure and
the importance of demonstrating transparency, the fact that the matter is
being dealt with in live proceedings adds additional weight to the concept
of ensuring access to legal advice without the loss of legal privilege. 
It is for this reason that I believe the public interest in withholding
the information outweighs the public interest in disclosure.

 

Should you remain dissatisfied you can appeal against the decision by
contacting the Information Commissioner, FOI Compliance Team (complaints),
Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

 

Kind regards

 

 

Gary Rowland

Lawyer (GCILEx) - Corporate Governance

Mid Kent Legal Services | Maidstone, Swale and Tunbridge Wells Borough
Councils

Swale Borough Council, Swale House, East Street, Sittingbourne, Kent ME10
3HT

Maidstone Borough Council, Maidstone House, King Street, Maidstone, Kent
ME15 6JQ

Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, Town Hall, Civic Way, Tunbridge Wells,
TN1 1RS

Tel: (01622) 602276   Email: [2][email address]

[3]www.swale.gov.uk     
[4]www.maidstone.gov.uk       [5]www.tunbridgewells.gov.uk

 

The contents of this e-mail, together with any attachments, may be
confidential or subject to legal professional privilege.  It should not be
shared with anyone without first consulting Mid Kent Legal Services. 

If you are not the intended recipient, please do not forward this email or
the attachments to anybody.  Please notify the sender and delete all
copies of this email from your system.

 

 

References

Visible links
1. https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/4...
2. mailto:[email address]
3. http://www.swale.gov.uk/
4. http://www.maidstone.gov.uk/
5. http://www.tunbridgewells.gov.uk/

Dear Gary Rowland,

I don't accept you review response because the reason for considering the information exempt is hardly related to the request. It appears to me that the council is just exploiting a tenuous link to associate the s 42 exemption, thus allowing it to circumvent the Freedom of Information Act.

However, none of this would prevent the council informing the public about the matter that is subject to ongoing litigation, so I would appreciate if those details were released.

Yours sincerely,

S Staffordson

Gary Rowland,

Dear Mr Staffordson

Having carried out my review I can only advise that you submit an appeal to the ICO, should you remain dissatisfied with both my and the Council's responses.

Kind regards

Gary Rowland
Lawyer (GCILEx) - Corporate Governance
Mid Kent Legal Services | Maidstone, Swale and Tunbridge Wells Borough Councils
Swale Borough Council, Swale House, East Street, Sittingbourne, Kent ME10 3HT
Maidstone Borough Council, Maidstone House, King Street, Maidstone, Kent ME15 6JQ
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, Town Hall, Civic Way, Tunbridge Wells, TN1 1RS
Tel: (01622) 602276   Email: [email address]
www.swale.gov.uk      www.maidstone.gov.uk       www.tunbridgewells.gov.uk

The contents of this e-mail, together with any attachments, may be confidential or subject to legal professional privilege.  It should not be shared with anyone without first consulting Mid Kent Legal Services. 
If you are not the intended recipient, please do not forward this email or the attachments to anybody.  Please notify the sender and delete all copies of this email from your system.

show quoted sections

Dear Gary Rowland,

I think you misunderstood my previous email. I will submit an appeal to the ICO if I decide I have reasonable grounds to challenge your response. Whether or not I do doesn't alter the fact that I don't accept it.

More importantly you have overlooked the new request that was contained in that email:

"However, none of this would prevent the council informing the public about the matter that is subject to ongoing litigation, so I would appreciate if those details were released."

Yours sincerely,

S Staffordson

Gary Rowland,

Dear Mr Staffordson

I appreciate that it is entirely your decision as to whether or not you wish to submit an appeal to the ICO and whilst I understand that you do not accept my response, I am afraid that my response remains the same. This being the case, I can only advise that your next step would be to appeal to the ICO, should you decide you have reasonable grounds to do so.

You state in your new request that "none of this would prevent the Council informing the public about the matter that is subject to ongoing litigation and that you would appreciate it if those details were released". The Council's initial response sets out exactly why a matter that is subject to ongoing litigation is exempt from disclosure and as such, the Council will not be releasing the information requested.

Kind regards

Gary Rowland
Lawyer (GCILEx) - Corporate Governance
Mid Kent Legal Services | Maidstone, Swale and Tunbridge Wells Borough Councils
Swale Borough Council, Swale House, East Street, Sittingbourne, Kent ME10 3HT
Maidstone Borough Council, Maidstone House, King Street, Maidstone, Kent ME15 6JQ
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, Town Hall, Civic Way, Tunbridge Wells, TN1 1RS
Tel: (01622) 602276   Email: [email address]
www.swale.gov.uk      www.maidstone.gov.uk       www.tunbridgewells.gov.uk

The contents of this e-mail, together with any attachments, may be confidential or subject to legal professional privilege.  It should not be shared with anyone without first consulting Mid Kent Legal Services. 
If you are not the intended recipient, please do not forward this email or the attachments to anybody.  Please notify the sender and delete all copies of this email from your system.

show quoted sections

Dear Gary Rowland,

There are now two separate requests and consequently there should be two reference numbers. I have the reference for the original request (Ref: FOI/614) but awaiting one for the second. Regarding the second request I am at a stage where I am eligible to ask for a review of the council's decision.

It is the council's opinion that the same exemption applies to the second request for the same seasons. Although the reasons provided for the exemption were inadequately explained, it is assumed that the information asked for (i.e. from what source had the council obtained legal advice concerning the appropriation of payments) specifically triggered the exemption, but this has nothing to do with the information asked for in the subsequent request.

Because what the council has stated regarding ongoing litigation I assume that someone has been adversely affected by the way their Council Tax payments have been allocated. It is likely that hundreds of thousands of householders will potentially have been affected to their detriment (to varying degrees) in the way payments have been allocated by their billing authorities and it is in the public interest that the information requested is disclosed.

Yours sincerely,

S Staffordson

Complaints & FOI (MBC), Maidstone Borough Council

Dear S Staffordson

 

I am emailing to confirm that we do not currently have any open FOIs or
FOI reviews for you.

 

Gary Rowland sent you his review response for FOI/614 on 29 October 2019.
In your email of 15 November 2019, you stated “However, none of this would
prevent the council informing the public about the matter that is subject
to ongoing litigation, so I would appreciate if those details were
released” – I understand you want us to consider this as a new request. We
cannot accept this as a new request because you are still requesting the
same information as you requested in FOI/614, which we have already
provided our response to and which has already been reviewed.

 

If you remain unhappy with the way the Council and Mid Kent Legal Services
have handled FOI/614, I advise you to appeal directly to the Information
Commissioner.  The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The
Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow,
Cheshire SK9 5AF.

 

Yours sincerely

 

FOI Team

Policy & Information Team

Maidstone Borough Council, King Street, Maidstone, Kent ME15 6JQ

e [1][email address] w [2]www.maidstone.gov.uk

 

 

To access our digital services please visit www.maidstone.gov.uk/service
Sign up to receive your Council Tax bill by email http://www.maidstone.gov.uk/emailbilling

We understand the importance of ensuring that personal data, including sensitive personal data is always treated lawfully and appropriately and that the rights of individuals are upheld.

We are required to collect, use and hold personal data about individuals. Data is required for the purposes of carrying out our statutory obligations, delivering services and meeting the needs of individuals that we deal with. This includes current, past and prospective employees, service users, members of the public, Members of the Council, our business partners and other local authorities or public bodies.

To view our full statement to see how your data will be stored and processed please visit https://maidstone.gov.uk/dataprotection

This email is confidential. If you receive it by mistake, please advise the sender by email immediately.
Any unauthorised use of the message or attachments is prohibited. Unless stated otherwise, any opinions are personal and cannot be attributed to Maidstone Borough Council.
Unless a purchase order is attached this email is not a contract or an order.
It is your responsibility to carry out Virus checks before opening any attachments.

References

Visible links
1. mailto:[email address]
2. http://www.maidstone.gov.uk/

Dear Complaints & FOI (MBC),

I am not requesting the same information as I requested in FOI/614, I am requesting different information as was clear from my previous correspondence.

Do you require me to try and explain the difference again?

Yours sincerely,

S Staffordson

Complaints & FOI (MBC), Maidstone Borough Council

Dear S Staffordson
 
If you'd like us to log a new FOI request, please reply to this email
explaining clearly what information you are now seeking.
 
If the information is different to what you requested in FOI/614, we will
log a new request and provide you with a new reference number.
 
Yours sincerely
 
FOI Team
Policy & Information Team
Maidstone Borough Council, King Street, Maidstone, Kent ME15 6JQ
e [1][email address] w [2]www.maidstone.gov.uk
 
 
 
 

show quoted sections

Dear Complaints & FOI (MBC),

With reference to the matter that is subject to ongoing litigation, implied by the Council to relate to confidential legal advice about the appropriation of Council Tax payments, please disclose if any is relevant, the following information:

a) brief description of the matter under challenge
b) in which court are proceedings ongoing (County, High Court etc.)
c) case reference numbers
d) details of the appeal/claim type (for example case stated, judicial review, etc.)
e) any other information in the public interest that I have not included in the above.

Yours sincerely,

S Staffordson

Complaints & FOI (MBC), Maidstone Borough Council

Date: 19/11/19
 
 
Dear S Staffordson
 
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT REQUEST
 
Ref: FOI/1047
 
Thank you for your request for information. We will have a response ready
for you within 20 working days of the date you made your request.
 
After considering your request, we may decide to refuse to supply the
information under a number of exemptions that exist in legislation. For
details of these exemptions, please visit the Information Commissioner’s
website:
[1]https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/gui...
 
If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me.  Please
remember to quote the reference above in any future communications.
 
Yours sincerely
 
FOI Team
Policy and Information Team
Maidstone Borough Council, Maidstone House, King Street, Maidstone, Kent
ME15 6JQ
t 01622 602640 w [2]www.maidstone.gov.uk
 
 
 

show quoted sections

Complaints & FOI (MBC), Maidstone Borough Council

Date: 20/11/2019

Ref:   FOI/1047

 

Dear S Staffordson

 

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT REQUEST

 

You wrote to us requesting the following information:

 

With reference to the matter that is subject to ongoing litigation,
implied by the Council to relate to confidential legal advice about the
appropriation of Council Tax payments, please disclose if any is relevant,
the following information:

 

a) brief description of the matter under challenge

 

b) in which court are proceedings ongoing (County, High Court etc.)

 

c) case reference numbers

 

d) details of the appeal/claim type (for example case stated, judicial
review, etc.)

 

e) any other information in the public interest that I have not included
in the above

 

Our response is as follows:

 

a) Enforcement for unpaid Council Tax.

 

b) Maidstone Borough Council brings proceedings for Council Tax
enforcement before the Magistrates Court and County Court as appropriate.

 

c-e) Under Section 31(1)(c) of the Act, I am not required to provide
information if its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the
administration of justice. We consider that disclosing information on
ongoing litigation would be likely to prejudice the administration of
justice because disclosing this information could influence or undermine
these proceedings.

 

In considering the public interest test, we consider that the public
interest is greater for maintaining the exemption than it is for
disclosure of the information. While we recognise that there is public
interest in transparency, we consider that there is strong public interest
in maintaining confidentially with regard to ongoing litigation, as it is
important for the public’s safety and trust in the justice system that the
courts continue to have a private thinking space and the ability to
enforce the law.

 

Once the ongoing litigation has concluded, you can request the information
you are seeking from the court.

 

If you have any queries about this letter, please contact me. Please
remember to quote the reference above in any future communications.

 

If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your
request and wish to request a review of our decision, please respond to
this email and I will pass it on to Mid Kent Legal Services to conduct a
review. Please ensure you outline your reasons for requesting a review.

 

If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint, you may apply
directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. Generally, the
ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the complaints
procedure provided by the Council.  The Information Commissioner can be
contacted at: The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water
Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF.

 

Yours sincerely

 

FOI Team

Policy and Information

Maidstone Borough Council, Maidstone House King Street, Maidstone, Kent
ME15 6JQ

t []01622 602640 w [1]www.maidstone.gov.uk

To access our digital services please visit www.maidstone.gov.uk/service
Sign up to receive your Council Tax bill by email http://www.maidstone.gov.uk/emailbilling

We understand the importance of ensuring that personal data, including sensitive personal data is always treated lawfully and appropriately and that the rights of individuals are upheld.

We are required to collect, use and hold personal data about individuals. Data is required for the purposes of carrying out our statutory obligations, delivering services and meeting the needs of individuals that we deal with. This includes current, past and prospective employees, service users, members of the public, Members of the Council, our business partners and other local authorities or public bodies.

To view our full statement to see how your data will be stored and processed please visit https://maidstone.gov.uk/dataprotection

This email is confidential. If you receive it by mistake, please advise the sender by email immediately.
Any unauthorised use of the message or attachments is prohibited. Unless stated otherwise, any opinions are personal and cannot be attributed to Maidstone Borough Council.
Unless a purchase order is attached this email is not a contract or an order.
It is your responsibility to carry out Virus checks before opening any attachments.

References

Visible links
1. http://www.maidstone.gov.uk/

Dear Maidstone Borough Council,

Ref: FOI/1047

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Maidstone Borough Council's handling of my FOI request 'Council tax payment allocation in accordance with R. v Miskin Lower Justices [1953]' (ongoing litigation).

You have stated the following:

"Once the ongoing litigation has concluded, you can request the information you are seeking from the court."

Without the information requested how will I be able to do as you suggest?

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/c...

Yours faithfully,

S Staffordson

Complaints & FOI (MBC), Maidstone Borough Council

Date: 03/01/20
Ref: FOI/1047
 
 
Dear S Staffordson
 
Thank you for your request for an internal review. I have passed this on
to Mid Kent Legal Services to review your request and the response. You
will receive a response within 20 working days.
 
If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint, you may apply
directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision.  Generally, the
ICO cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the complaints
procedure provided by the Council.  The Information Commissioner can be
contacted at: The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water
Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF. [1]https://ico.org.uk/
 
Yours sincerely,
 
Complaints & FOI Team
Policy & Information Team
Maidstone Borough Council, King Street, Maidstone, Kent ME15 6JQ
e [2][email address] w [3]www.maidstone.gov.uk
 
 
 

show quoted sections

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