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Magistrate's court summonses
About the court summons
A summons will be sent if the council's records show that
your council tax has not been paid by the due dates.
The summons will include court costs which will be added to
the amount outstanding.
If the council tax bill is in more than one name, each party to
the bill will have received a summons. This means that each party
is jointly and severally liable for the whole debt. It is a matter
for the liable parties themselves to decide who should pay the debt
but where payment is not received, the council can continue to
recover the full amount from either party.
If you think for any reason that the amount shown on the summons
is wrong, you should contact the council before the court date.
If the full amount, including costs, is paid by the court date,
no further recovery action will be taken.
The court hearing
You do not have to attend court unless you have a valid defence
against the issue of a liability order. The court will deal with
your case in your absence.
If you decide to attend please note that the court cannot take
into account your ability to pay. The court is only being asked to
say that you are liable to pay.
At the hearing, the council will provide evidence to the court
that you are liable for the council tax and that it has not been
paid. If the court is satisfied with this evidence it will issue a
A liability order
A liability order provides the council further powers to recover
council tax including:
- using bailiffs, which may involve the sale of some of your
property and will incur you with considerable costs;
- obtaining information about your employment, earnings or
- deductions from your earnings, income support or jobseekers
A letter will be sent to you after the court date.
Paying the summons
Once a liability order has been obtained, the council will write
to you and will send you a personal information form. You will need
to complete this and advise of your proposal to pay. You can also
complete a form
online. The council will respond if your proposal is not
acceptable. You should pay as offered in the meantime.
The council may not accept your offer of payment if it considers
it will take too long to clear the debt.
Find out how
Your credit rating
The issue of a magistrates' court summons for non-payment of
council tax will not affect your credit rating. It is a private
matter between you and the council and lists are not provided to
any credit agency.
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