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High Cost/Bulk Council Tax Liability Orders Impossible to Defend?

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Dear Billing Authority

Complaints to Magistrates for Council Tax (CT) Liability Orders.

Going as far back as is reasonable (eg 5 years), up to the most recent data available, Please could you provide me with a table of information under the following headings:-

1. Date Of hearing
2. Number of CT Accounts Listed on a Complaint
3. Total Court fee paid
4. length of hearing - defended/undefended
5. Number of CT accounts Liability Order made against
6. Total costs awarded to Billing authority
7. Actual cost of preparing for and attending the hearing.
8. Number of Accounts in name of a Limited Company?

Yours faithfully,

Lady Fleming

InfoMgr, FinDMT, Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council

4 Attachments

Dear Lady Fleming

 

We write further to your Freedom of Information enquiry and apologise for
the delay in providing you with a response.  Please see below Wirral
Council’s response, together with the attached documents in support.

 

Complaints to Magistrates for Council Tax (CT) Liability Orders.

2014/15 COURT No of CTAX Total Court No of CT accounts No Of
HEARING DATE account Listed Liability Order made Liability
on Complaint Fee paid against Order issued
3/6/2014 2,500 £6,990 2,330 2,318
10/6/2014 2,498 £6,999 2,333 2,304
24/6/2014 2,421 £3,828 1,276 2,257
8/7/2014 1,452 £3,936 1,312 1,308
12/8/2014 1,507 £4,122 1,374 1,367
9/9/2014 1,274 £3,432 1,144 1,137
21/10/2014 1,422 £6,816 2,272 1,260
11/11/2014 993 £2,625 875 854
9/12/2014 1,222 £3,156 1,052 1,047
10/2/2015 2,182 £5,649 1,883 1,861
24/3/2015 1,192 £2,922 974 962
TOTAL 18663 £50,475 16,825 16675

 

2015-16 COURT No of CTAX Total Court No of CT accounts No Of
HEARING DATE account Listed Fee paid Liability Order made Liability
on Complaint against Order issued
10/6/2015 2,500 £7,101 2,367 2363
15/7/2015 2,062 £5,739 1,913 1891
12/8/2015 2,500 £7,218 2,406 2402
9/9/2015 1,391 £3,789 1,263 1253
7/10/2015 1,425 £3,795 1,265 1256
11/11/2015 1,363 £3,672 1,224 1214
9/12/2015 1,224 £3,231 1,077 1070
17/2/2016 1,524 £3,969 1,323 1313
TOTAL 13989 £38,514 12,838 12933

 

2015/16 COURT No of CTAX Total Court No of CT accounts No Of
HEARING DATE account Listed Fee paid Liability Order made Liability
on Complaint against Order issued
11/5/2016 569 £1,503 501 496
22/6/2016 2,500 £7,128 2,376 2,372
6/7/2016 2,344 £6,498 2,166 2,142
17/8/2016 1,621 £4,461 1,487 1,479
21/9/2016 2,500 £7,188 2,396 2,388
26/10/2016 1,626 £4,203 1,401 1,393
23/11/2016 1,465 £4,038 1,346 1,338
14/12/2016 1,089 £2,928 976 986
15/2/2017 1,979 £5,190 1,730 1,713
TOTAL 15693 £43,137 14,379 14289

 

 

2017/18 COURT No of CTAX Total Court No of CT accounts No Of
HEARING DATE account Listed Fee paid Liability Order made Liability
on Complaint against Order issued
3/5/2017 226 £570 190 188
21/6/2017 2,500 £7,227 2,409 2,403
19/7/2017 2,286 £6,336 2,112 2,108
16/8/2017 1,502 £4,194 1,398 1,390
20/9/2017 891 £2,496 832 829
18/10/2017 762 £1,977 659 656
15/11/2017 2,177 £6,156 2,052 2,040
13/12/2017 796 £2,220 740 736
28/02/2018 1,739 £4,560 1,520 1,520
TOTAL 12,879 £35,736 11912 11,870

 

2018- 19 COURT No of CTAX Total Court Fee No of CT No Of
HEARING DATE account Listed paid accounts Liability
on Complaint Liability Order Order issued
made against
2/5/2018 192 £498 166 162
11/7/2018 2,500 £7,128 2,376 2,376
22/8/2018 1,832 £843 1,686 1,680
19/8/2018 2,141 £1,017.50 2,035 2,027
17/10/2018 1,288 £599 1,198 1,194
21/11/2018 902 £414.50 829 824
12/12/2018 811 £360 721 718
20/02/2019 1,010 £438.50 877 874
TOTAL 10,667 £12,294.50 10,220 9,855

 

1. Date Of hearing -  see above table

 

2. Number of CT Accounts Listed on a Complaint -  see above table

 

3. Total Court fee paid -  see above table

 

4. length of hearing - defended/undefended -  Not able to provide, as this
information is not held/recorded.  It is not possible to put a time scale
as to how long each hearing takes as some are dealt with quickly and is
dependent on individual Liability orders  adjourned and re-adjourned.

 

5. Number of CT accounts Liability Order made against -  see above table

 

6. Total costs awarded to Billing authority -  see above table -.  Not
possible to give exact figure of Liability Orders withdrawn at hearing as
this is not recorded other than on an ad-hoc basis.   However, we pay on
application regardless of outcome so Liability Order paid figure would not
change. A further column has been included to confirm the Liability Order
issued following the Court Hearing, which would include adjournments and
cancellations.

 

7. Actual cost of preparing for and attending the hearing.  - We cannot
provide the actual cost of preparing for and attending the hearing, as the
level of administration required by the council in collecting council tax
debt varies on a case by case basis and consequently it would be
administratively costly to calculate a breakdown for each case.   Instead
the Council calculates the overall cost of administering the debt up to
the application of the liability order stage and applies an equal level of
costs to each case.  The calculation showing how the current level of
costs charged is arrived at is attached. ** The costs for 2015/16 remained
at the same level as 2014/15.

 

8. Number of Accounts in name of a Limited Company?  We are not able to
provide this information, as this would require checking each court
hearing to identify any limited companies, which would be time consuming
and falls under the exemption at Section 12 FOIA.  Under Section 12 of the
Freedom of Information Act 2000, public authorities are not required to
comply with a request for information if it is estimated that to do so
would exceed the appropriate limit, currently set at 18.5 hours.

 

You have the right under Section 17 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000
to ask for an internal review of the refusal of the information requested.
Please direct any request for an internal review to
[1][Wirral Borough Council request email] and your request will be allocated to
another officer for review.

 

If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of an internal review you also
have the right to complain to the information Commissioner, who can be
contacted at [2]https://ico.org.uk/global/contact-us/

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

Lynette Paterson

Principal Information Management Officer

Business Management

 

Treasury Building

Argyle Street

Birkenhead

Wirral

CH41 1AH

 

Tel: 0151 691 8201

[3][Wirral Borough Council request email]

 

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