Lord Justice Hamblen on Haringey Council's court costs

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fFaudwAtch UK (Account suspended)

Dear Haringey Borough Council,

Please see news article relating to a recent court case.

http://www.hamhigh.co.uk/news/crime-cour...

/Quote/
..... Lord Justice Hamblen said it was “factually incorrect” that Haringey Council charged everyone for court hearings in 2013/14.

Haringey Council did charge a “lump sum” to everyone when sending out a court summons, but this figure did not include court hearing costs.

They waived any further costs which came about after sending the court summons.

“There is nothing unlawful in resolving to charge the maximum [costs]”, Lord Justice Hamblen said. “But the council was not seeking the maximum costs.”

The costs Haringey Council claimed from residents were actually slightly less than the council incurred, he explained.

And these costs could legitimately include legal fees, admin costs and overheads.

Lord Justice Hamblen said the costs Haringey Council charged were “not unreasonable”.
/End Quote/

In context of the high standards required by the Royal Courts of Justice, please disclose the specific information which enabled Lord Justice Hamblen to determine the above.

Yours faithfully,

fFaudwAtch UK

Gunn Claire1, Haringey Borough Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt

 

Freedom of Information / Environmental Information Regulations Request:
Reference LBH/5074416

 

I acknowledge your request for information received on 26 February 2016.

This information request will be dealt with in accordance with the Freedom
of Information Act 2000 / Environmental Information Regulations and we
will send the response by 29 March 2016.

 

If you have any questions, please contact us on 020 8489 1988 or
[email address].

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Claire Gunn

Feedback Review Officer

 

Haringey Council

River Park House, 225 High Road, London N22 8HQ

 

T. 020 8489 2576

E. [1][email address]

 

[2]www.haringey.gov.uk

[3]twitter@haringeycouncil

[4]facebook.com/haringeycouncil

 

 

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fFaudwAtch UK (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

I wonder which one, if either, was the calculation that received the scrutiny of the High Court.

This one which indicates that 76% of the entire council tax budget is attributable to the cost of issuing summonses: http://tinyurl.com/zt42xqu

Or, this one that recharges 88% of the budget to summons recipients: http://tinyurl.com/gwzuj4m

If either of these were submitted, it would have required some bias toward the state to have believed the claim.

Arnold Layne (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

"Lord Justice Hamblen said this was “factually incorrect”

If Lord Justice Hamblen has had figures to justify this I'd like to see them; or any other information which would convince him that the expenditure had been incurred in accordance with the council tax regulations and the recent judicial review ruling from May 2015, which the Reverend successfully obtained, but only after being made to jump through hoops.

These costs are applied to the taxpayer's account even before the council issues the summons, and by virtue of that could not possibly account for 76% of the total budget for Council Tax Admin and Recovery ( http://tinyurl.com/zt42xqu £2.89 million from a total £3.78).

Just to give credence to a statement made by one local authority that the work to secure payment once having obtained the liability order is one of the stages from which most costs arise (the other being the application for a liability order at Court), staff engage in activities ranging from notifying the debtor of possible further action to applying to the court for commitment to prison.

....Information must be obtained about the debtor’s circumstances in order to assess whether accounts are more suitable for attachments of earnings, deduction from benefits or referral to bailiffs.

....Where those measures fail to obtain payment then staff might engage in further recovery work, for example applying to the court for charging orders or instigating bankruptcy. Similarly to pre court action arrangements, terms of mutually acceptable payment plans might simply be agreed, albeit still requiring resources to correspond with debtors, re-schedule instalments and then monitor accounts until settled.

.....For all stages, staff must be available for dealing with queries whether by telephone or written correspondence.

All the above activities relate to an element of the Council Tax admin & recovery budget, which may not lawfully be included in the costs recharged to the summons, or for that matter the liability order hearing.

This all tells you one thing which is that issuing summonses, which are generated automatically as a consequence of settings which are pre-set in the computer's software, can not account for 76% of the whole Council Tax operation.

But the authority can't make its mind up because if you look at another breakdown for the same year, the element attributed to instituting the summons (aggregate) amounts to 88% of the total budget for Council Tax Admin and Recovery ( http://tinyurl.com/gwzuj4m £3.03 million from a total £3.44).

Bradburn Mick, Haringey Borough Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt,

Re: Freedom of Information Act Request ref: LBH/5074416

 

Thank you for your request for information received on 26 February 2016,
in which you asked for the following information:

    

     Please see news article relating to a recent court case.

    

     [1]http://www.hamhigh.co.uk/news/crime-cour...

    

     /Quote/

     ..... Lord Justice Hamblen said it was “factually incorrect” that

     Haringey Council charged everyone for court hearings in 2013/14.

    

     Haringey Council did charge a “lump sum” to everyone when sending

     out a court summons, but this figure did not include court hearing

     costs.

    

     They waived any further costs which came about after sending the

     court summons.

    

     “There is nothing unlawful in resolving to charge the maximum

     [costs]”, Lord Justice Hamblen said. “But the council was not

     seeking the maximum costs.”

    

     The costs Haringey Council claimed from residents were actually

     slightly less than the council incurred, he explained.

    

     And these costs could legitimately include legal fees, admin costs

     and overheads.

    

     Lord Justice Hamblen said the costs Haringey Council charged were

     “not unreasonable”.

     /End Quote/

    

     In context of the high standards required by the Royal Courts of

     Justice, please disclose the specific information which enabled

     Lord Justice Hamblen to determine the above.

 

 

My response is as follows:

 

The information that you require is not held.

 

The judgement was delivered orally and not in writing. The transcript of
the case is not yet available and it is the transcript that sets out the
specific evidence that the court relied upon to make its decision.

 

If you have any further queries, or are unhappy with how we have dealt
with your request and wish to make a complaint, please contact the
Feedback and Information Team as below. (Please note you should do this
within two months of receiving this response.)   

 

Feedback and Information Governance Team

River Park House

225 High Road

N22 8HQ

T 020 8489 1988

E [2][email address]

 

 

Yours sincerely,

 

Mick Bradburn

Arrears Project Manager

Shared Service Centre - Revenues

 

Haringey Council

P.O Box 10505, Wood Green, London N22 7WJ

 

 

T:020 8489 2853

[3][email address]

 

[4]www.haringey.gov.uk

twitter@haringeycouncil

facebook.com/haringeycouncil

 

 

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fFaudwAtch UK (Account suspended)

Dear Bradburn Mick,

If I stated that the information will have originated from Haringey Borough Council does that assist?

Yours sincerely,

fFaudwAtch UK

FOI, Haringey Borough Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt,

 

Thank you for your email below.

 

If you wish to make a further request for recorded information – please
let us know what information you specifically wish to obtain, including
any dates or period of time relevant to the information required.

 

Regards,

 

Sirkku Pietikäinen

Information Governance Officer

 

Haringey Council

River Park House, 225 High Road, London N22 8HQ

 

T. 020 8489 2552

[1][email address]

 

[2]www.haringey.gov.uk

[3]twitter@haringeycouncil

[4]facebook.com/haringeycouncil

 

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fFaudwAtch UK (Account suspended)

Dear FOI,

I would like the costs breakdown and any explanation accompanying them which Lord Justice Hamblen referred to (that quoted in my original request).

Yours sincerely,

fFaudwAtch UK

FOI, Haringey Borough Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt,

Thank you for your email below.

 

Your request for the ‘breakdown of charges which was signed off by the
Magistrates' court has already been logged with reference number
LBH/5098016. The response is due by 5 April 2016

 

 

Regards,

Sirkku Pietikäinen

Information Governance Officer

 

Haringey Council

River Park House, 225 High Road, London N22 8HQ

 

T. 020 8489 2552

[1][email address]

 

[2]www.haringey.gov.uk

[3]twitter@haringeycouncil

[4]facebook.com/haringeycouncil

 

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fFaudwAtch UK (Account suspended)

Dear FOI,

"Your request for the ‘breakdown of charges which was signed off by the Magistrates' court has already been logged with reference number LBH/5098016. The response is due by 5 April 2016."

In that case, it would require for this request the explanation accompanying the breakdown, which Lord Justice Hamblen referred to (that quoted in my original request).

Yours sincerely,

fFaudwAtch UK

fFaudwAtch UK (Account suspended)

Dear FOI,

Response to this request is delayed. By law, Haringey Borough Council should have responded by 30 March 2016.

Yours sincerely,

fFaudwAtch UK

FOI, Haringey Borough Council

Dear Mr Gilliatt,

 

Thank you for your email below.

 

According to our records  our response to your request LBH/5074416 was
sent on 29 March 2016.

 

Regards,

 

Sirkku Pietikäinen

Information Governance Officer

 

Haringey Council

River Park House, 225 High Road, London N22 8HQ

 

T. 020 8489 2552

[1][email address]

 

[2]www.haringey.gov.uk

[3]twitter@haringeycouncil

[4]facebook.com/haringeycouncil

 

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Dorothy Matricks (Account suspended) left an annotation ()

Items 36 to 39 of the judgment appear relevant.

http://www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWHC/Admi...

fFaudwAtch UK (Account suspended)

Dear FOI,

I asked on 3 April 2016 for the costs breakdown which Lord Justice Hamblen referred to. However, I should have been clearer and also asked if he had been provided the breakdown as evidence.

On 4 April 2016 you replied stating that 'your request for the ‘breakdown of charges which was signed off by the Magistrates' court has already been logged with reference number LBH/5098016. The response is due by 5 April 2016.

A breakdown of charges was disclosed (see below).
https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/3...

I would like to know if this is the same breakdown of charges which was provided as evidence to the court which Lord Justice Hamblen referred to, assuming one was provided.

It is also a possibility that more than one breakdown was provided, and if so I would appreciate all breakdowns disclosing which were provided for Lord Justice Hamblen's consideration.

Yours sincerely,

fFaudwAtch UK

Gunn Claire1, Haringey Borough Council

Dear Mr Giliatt,

 

Thank you for your email, received on 04 July 2016.

 

I have forwarded your clarification request to the service for their
attention. Please expect their response within ten working days.

 

Your sincerely,

 

Claire Gunn

Feedback Review Officer

 

Haringey Council

River Park House, 225 High Road, London N22 8HQ

 

T. 020 8489 2576

E. [1][email address]

 

[2]www.haringey.gov.uk

[3]twitter@haringeycouncil

[4]facebook.com/haringeycouncil

 

 

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fFaudwAtch UK (Account suspended)

Dear Gunn Claire1,

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

fFaudwAtch UK

Kent Helen, Haringey Borough Council

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Gilliatt,

 

Please find attached response for your request for clarification received
on 4^th July 2016.

 

 

Mrs Helen Kent

Head of Revenues

Shared Service Centre -Revenues

Haringey Council

Alexandra House,10 station Road, London, N22 7TR

 

[1][email address]

[2]www.haringey.gov.uk

twitter@haringeycouncil

facebook.com/haringeycouncil

 

Please consider the environment before printing this email.

 

From: Gunn Claire1
Sent: 04 July 2016 16:58
To: '[FOI #318759 email]'
Subject: FW: FW: Freedom of Information Act Request ref: LBH/5074416

 

Dear Mr Giliatt,

 

Thank you for your email, received on 04 July 2016.

 

I have forwarded your clarification request to the service for their
attention. Please expect their response within ten working days.

 

Your sincerely,

 

Claire Gunn

Feedback Review Officer

 

Haringey Council

River Park House, 225 High Road, London N22 8HQ

 

T. 020 8489 2576

E. [3][email address]

 

[4]www.haringey.gov.uk

[5]twitter@haringeycouncil

[6]facebook.com/haringeycouncil

 

 

P Please consider the environment before printing this email.

 

 

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