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Council tax summons target most vulnerable - ex-casino manager

By helen williams, Hoyland Reporter Sunday 30th June 2013
Former casino manager Peter Bottrill

A former casino manager says costs for summoning people to court for non-payment of council tax are an attack on the most vulnerable people in the borough.

 

Peter Bottrill, 66, of Corporation Street, Barnsley, got £20 behind on his council tax in August last year but then received a summons with court costs of £52.

 

He claims this is not a realistic reflection of court costs and is raising the matter with the Trades Union Congress (TUC). He has also complained to the Audit Commission, the local government ombudsman and MP Dan Jarvis - but is still awaiting a result.

 

Barnsley Council has sent Mr Bottrill a breakdown of how costs are reached and says the matter is now closed. But Mr Bottrill, who has suffered a stroke and has diabetes, is not satisfied.

 

He said: "These charges are a way of getting at the most vulnerable. I understand 5,000 summons to court have gone out - that makes £260,000 to be collected in costs.

 

"I also question the description of 'costs' when the figure they've reached is based on estimates. For example, they can only estimate how many summons they'll need to issue."

 

He added: "People receiving these summons don't usually question it - they just accept that its costs from the court - when it's just a way of making money."

 

Mr Bottrill is among hundreds of people in Barnsley who have been summoned for non payment of council tax.

 

Last week, 200 people affected waited in a queue outside Barnsley Magistrates' Court, where protesters chanted and waved placards.

CommentsClick here to add a comment...
Posted by Mike Hallett I Sun 30th Jun 2013 at 4:17pm

And it doesn't stop there. Barnsley council took us to court last year after they failed to take the first payment on time from our bank account. We also got court fees added to our account. Then BMBC wrote and told us what we then needed to pay through the year as an amended standing order which we dutifully did. Until we then got a letter saying we were paying too little ( remember BMBC told US what we needed to pay) and subsequently sent a bailiff who turned up at our house at allegedly 7.30am (we were in but no one in the house heard either door) and put a card through (that was found at 5pm)demanding the outstanding balance that had already been paid to BMBC. And are demanding bailiffs fees for visiting our house. When the bailiffs were phoned they refused to speak to my wife about the account because according to them and BMBC she is not on the account even though it is a joint account and all correspondence from BMBC comes in joint names. How that works I don't know!!

We have spoken to the OFT regarding it and have been told that bailiffs cannot attend outside of sociable hours I.e before 8am and should have spoken to BMBC first to see whether the payment had in fact been made. The whole thing from start to finish is a farce and really does cause undue distress. And the worst thing is that when you speak to BMBC they are so unhelpful. I asked for a statement and a copy of all correspondence from BMBC and they actually wrote back refusing to supply the information even after I threatened to sue them and rosendales baliffs for harassment.

BMBC you should be named and shamed!!!

Posted by P Elliot I Sun 30th Jun 2013 at 5:20pm
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Posted by Got Nowt I Sun 30th Jun 2013 at 6:00pm

Hope you have success challenging these court costs through the various channels.

Something similar is being challenged through the civil courts but is proving difficult because of the Magistrates' court's obstruction in the procedure. Magistrates are refusing to state a case for an appeal to the High Court so application for Judicial Review has been another necessary procedure in hopefully getting this in front of a High Court Judge.

Posted by albert I Sun 30th Jun 2013 at 6:03pm

bmbc could not run a bath

Posted by Chumsky I Sun 30th Jun 2013 at 6:10pm
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Posted by Aware I Sun 30th Jun 2013 at 11:23pm

For a start they aren't real court cases so the court costs are also false!!! The council print the summons (which is in itself fraud) knowing full well that almost everyone will be scared to death and hand over money that don't have to having been threatened with a criminal conviction.

A court summons has to have these 3 things or it isn't real:

A wet signature

A Crown seal

A case number.

The council hire a room in the court, illegally print a summons and when you attend what you think is a real case the council offer you the chance to remedy the situation before going into court. This is when they get you to sign a liability order.. if you sign it you are then liable for the council tax and all cost relating to its recovery. You don't HAVE to sign it and it isn't a criminal matter, its a civil matter. If bailiffs get involved, they aren't court bailiffs, they're debt collector bailiffs.. companies run for profit (just like councils surprise, surprise). You only have to pay the bailiffs if you contract with them (that's what the liability order is, a contract) so ignore them and in time they will stop harassing you.

There is a difference between civil and criminal. The sooner we understand what this is the sooner we can make a stand against the extortion rackets we are subjected too.

Posted by G. Juse I Mon 1st Jul 2013 at 8:59am

Council Tax Summons earn town halls £millions each year

Many millions of pounds may have been overcharged by Councils in the pursuit of Council Tax recovery since its introduction in 1992.

It has long been speculated that Councils profit from taking householders to court for being late with Council Tax payments.

Local Authorities are charged a fraction of the amount passed on to residents in costs. Each Liability Order applied for costs councils £3 according to the Magistrates’ Courts fee schedule. Struggling householders are then charged many multiples of this, for example, one London Borough Council imposes £125 costs for making late payments for Council Tax, but for Business rates, this increases to £220 for an identical process.

Further irregularities are highlighted where costs – predetermined by councils – are imposed in advance of the hearing. According to law, an award of costs are at the discretion of Magistrates' courts on hearing the complaint.

Another Council in the South of England reveals in a document reviewing court costs that where previously it was necessary to seek approval from the Court to ensure costs being levied were reasonable, this was no longer required and "confirmed that it is for the Council to decide on an appropriate level".

One authority in the North East admits court costs are determined in-house. A Freedom of Information request uncovered a letter sent to the Magistrates' court advising that the "Council has taken the decision to increase the court costs which it charges to tax payers for the non payment of Council Tax".

The same council revealed that it aimed to cover the entire budget for running its Council Tax department from court penalties, and with £0.88 million costs raised it had not made a bad attempt. It claimed its annual budget for all activity associated with recovery of Council Tax amounted to around £1.13 million, this compared with a figure of £1.04 million as the cost for council tax administration including staff costs, contact centre costs, enforcement, other running costs and central recharges.

The law doesn't allow for profits, only reasonable cost incurred for the administration involved, but councils increase costs as a “deterrent” element or to coerce payment. The same council documented that "the extra cost is seen as a way of encouraging prompt payment", and as a bonus would raise additional income of £38k a year. There is nothing in legislation to support an increase in costs on this basis.

According to statistics obtained from the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), court costs for Council Tax and Business rates in England and Wales raised more than £179 million in 2010-11. Based on these figures and indexing inflation – since 1992 (the introduction of Council Tax) the best part of £3.5 billion may have been overcharged by councils in a bid to finance Council Tax administration.

Posted by T. Ruth I Mon 1st Jul 2013 at 9:03am

I bet all the deleted comments are a little bit to truthful and embarrassing for the government, therefore a bit too risky for local rags to be associated with.

Posted by T. Ruth I Mon 1st Jul 2013 at 9:08am

Hope you have success challenging these court costs through the various channels.

Something similar is being challenged through the civil courts but is proving difficult because of the Magistrates' court's obstruction in the procedure. Magistrates are refusing to state a case for an appeal to the High Court so application for Judicial Review has been another necessary procedure in hopefully getting this in front of a High Court Judge.

All details here:

http://www.legalbeagles.info/forums/showthread.php?36444-Council-Tax-Liability-Order-Applications-Court-Costs-–-Test-Case

Posted by Anon I Mon 1st Jul 2013 at 3:13pm

Completely agree with those who are commenting...BUT...just thought this was hilarious...

A Former CASINO manager accusing someone else of praying on the vulnerable. LMFAO.

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Posted by anon I Mon 21st Apr 2014 at 8:08pm

I was 3 days late . 70 pound costs.. my father has alzheimers , even bmbc kept losing all information. summonsed him to court. what a joke they are. luckily got my dads sorted. please if anybody knows any1 with alzheimers they r entitled to full exemption by law. b.m.b.c don't tell you that

Posted by Wendy I Wed 23rd Apr 2014 at 9:35am

Its disgusting.... i have asked BMBC to take council tax out at beginning of each month, they agreed for it to be taken on 2nd of every month, n they take it on 28th ive been in n showed them the letter they sent me, n they said we cant do anything here, you have to phone em up or we can post it for you!

Why r they open?? just to be told that... amazes me!

Posted by Jim Carpenter I Thu 24th Apr 2014 at 7:38am

What's your bloody problem? Just pay on time.

Posted by interested I Sat 3rd May 2014 at 1:26pm

Whether Mr Bottrill is an ex casino manager or not it is completely RIGHT to challenge these costs. We dont know Mr Bottrills financial circumstances and just because he formerly worked does not mean he is rolling in cash. I do happen to know Mr Bottrill personally and admire his total commitment to the most socially and economically disadvantaged people in the community. Go Peter - best of luck and hope you are keeping well x

Posted by Kelly Ingram I Wed 7th May 2014 at 11:28pm

It would be amazing to win these tickets. Me and my cousin are huge fans of both busted and Mcfly and and would be incredible to watch them perform in the OMFG VIP zone.

Posted by gh I Mon 2nd Jun 2014 at 5:13pm

few yr ago my dad missed his monthly payment through been in hostpital they told him he lost the right to pay monthly and he had to pay in full been a bit frightened by this he payed up unfortunatly he later passed away and there was a refund to come to estate the solicitor waited as long as he could and ended up closing estate with a note stating there was a outstanding rebate it took barnsley council 13weeks to make that refund to the solicitor

Posted by STIFFY I Sun 30th Nov 2014 at 12:44pm

I bet the ones behind with their payments keep up to speed with their sky payments or mobile phone payments - or cig purchasing

Posted by Neil Sykes I Fri 19th Dec 2014 at 7:10pm

s reading this last night relating to another so called council summons and I was surprised to find out that these summonses are illegal as they are not supported by her majesty the queen as you will learn as you read this.

Halsburys Law states administrative courts unlawful.

Councils and The CSA may want read this:

The law is absolutely clear on this subject. There is NO authority for administrative courts in this country and no Act can be passed to legitimise them because of the constitutional restraints placed upon her Majesty at Her coronation. The collection of revenue by such means is extortion, and extortion has been found reprehensible since ancient times. Separation of powers Today, in the year 2011, we find for example, that in the council tax regulations, the billing authority, the prosecuting authority and the enforcement authority are all vested in the same body. The same bodies even purport to issue their own legal documents, by tacit agreement with the Courts. In our system of Common Law, the rule of law demands that we have a separation of powers. Today, the powers are not separated. The executive is not a distinct, free-standing leg of the tripod. The executive now emerges directly from within the elected Chamber of the legislature where previously it emanated directly from the Monarch. That leads to constitutional confusion—because the executive has seized and misuses Parliament’s democratic credentials for its own, destructive, purposes. Fortunately, we have something to which we can turn to preserve our ancient laws and freedoms. We have the Oath that Her Majesty The Queen took at her coronation by which she is solemnly bound and from which no one in England, Wales and Scotland has released her. At Her Coronation the Queen swore to govern us, “according to [our] respective laws and customs”. Certainly, among our reputed “customs”, is precisely that invaluable and widely admired tripartite division of the powers. The judiciary is part and parcel of our customary system of internal sovereignty—“the Queen in Parliament”. It is one of the three separate but symbiotic powers, and it is a capricious and self-serving contention that it should not have the power to preserve the authority of the legislature over the executive. It is a constitutional principle that the assent of the Queen & Parliament is prerequisite to the establishment of a Court which can operate a system of administrative law in Her Majesty’s Courts in England. This was confirmed by Lord Denning during the debates on the European Communities Amendment Bill, HL Deb 08 October 1986 vol 480 cc246-95 246 at 250: “There is our judicial system deriving from the Crown as the source and fountain of justice. No court can be set up in England, no court can exist in England, except by the authority of the Queen and Parliament. That has been so ever since the Bill of Rights.” 08

-10 – 1986 vol 480 cc246-95 246 at 250.

[15/12/2011 22:30:58] catherine.crossan1: Halsbury's Laws of England/ADMINISTRATIVE LAW (VOLUME 1(1) (2001 REISSUE))/1. INTRODUCTION/(1) SCOPE AND NATURE OF THE SUBJECT/1. Scope.

1. INTRODUCTION

(1) SCOPE AND NATURE OF THE SUBJECT

1. Scope.

For the purposes of this work, administrative law1 is understood to mean the law relating to the discharge of functions of a public nature in government and administration. It includes the law relating to functions of pub-lic authorities and officers and of tribunals, judicial review of the exercise of those functions, the civil liability and legal protection of those purporting to exercise them and aspects of the means whereby extra-judicial redress may be obtainable at the instance of persons aggrieved2.

1 For at least half a century after the publication of Dicey's Law of the Constitution (1st Edn) (1885), the term 'administra-tive law' was identified with droit administratif, a separate body of rules relating to administrative authorities and officials, applied in special administrative courts. As thus defined, administrative law did not exist in England: see Dicey's Law of the Constitution (10th Edn) 330. See also Re Grosvenor Hotel, London (No 2) [1965] Ch 1210 at 1261, [1964] 3 All ER 354 at 372, CA, per Salmon LJ; Ridge v Baldwin [1964] AC 40 at 72, [1963] 2 All ER 66 at 76, HL, per Lord Reid ('We do not have a developed system of administrative law--perhaps because until fairly recently we did not need it'). Ridge v Baldwin supra, however, and a number of decisions which followed it, marked a significant change in judicial attitudes towards judicial control of administrative action. See Re Racal Communications Ltd [1981] AC 374 at 382, [1980] 2 All ER 634 at 638, HL, per Lord Diplock ('[The case of Anisminic Ltd v Foreign Compensation Commission [1969] 2 AC 147, [1969] 1 All ER 208, HL] is a legal landmark; it has made possible the rapid development in England of a rational and comprehensive system of administrative law on the foundation of the concept of ultra vires'); Breen v Amalgamated Engineering Union [1971] 2 QB 175 at 189, [1971] 1 All ER 1148 at 1153, CA, per Lord Denning MR ('... there have been important developments in the last 22 years which have transformed the situation. It may truly now be said that we have a developed system of administrative law'); IRC v National Federation of Self-Employed and Small Businesses Ltd [1982] AC 617 at 641, [1981] 2 All ER 93 at 104, HL, per Lord Diplock ('... [the] comprehensive system of administrative law [which] I regard as having been the greatest achievement of the English courts in my judicial lifetime'); O'Reilly v Mackman [1983] 2 AC 237 at 279, [1982] 3 All ER 1124 at 1129, HL, per Lord Diplock; Mahon v Air New Zealand Ltd [1984] AC 808 at 816, [1984] 3 All ER 201 at 207, PC ('The extension of judicial control of the administrative process ... over the last 30 years ... has already gone a long way towards providing a system of administrative law as comprehensive in its content as the droit administratif of countries of the Civil Law, albeit differing in procedural approach, [and] it is a development [which] is still continuing. It has not yet become static either in New Zealand or in England'); R v Lancashire County Council, ex p Huddleston[1986] 2 All ER 941 at 945, 136 NLJ Rep 562, CA, per Sir John Donaldson MR ('Notwithstanding that the courts have for centuries exercised a limited supervisory jurisdiction by means of the prerogative writs, the wider remedy of judicial review and the evolution of what is, in effect, a specialist administrative or public law court is a post-war development. This development has created a new relationship between the courts and those who derive their authority from the public law, one of partnership based on a common aim, namely the maintenance of the highest standards of public administration').

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