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Magistrate’s court summons

A summons will be sent to you if you have not paid your council tax as requested on your bill. The summons is issued by the Magistrate’s Court and will include costs that are also now payable by you.

If your council tax bill account is in joint names, each party to the bill will receive a summons. This means that each party is jointly and severally liable for the whole amount shown on the summons and not just an equal share of it.

It is up to all the persons named on the summons to decide who should pay the debt. If payment is not received, the council can recover the full amount from any party issued with a summons.

The court hearing

The court is being asked to say that you are liable to pay the council tax and to issue a liability order against you. The Council will provide evidence to this effect and if the court is satisfied with this, it will issue the order.

You should NOT attend court unless you have a legal defence against the issue of a liability order.

The Magistrates can only listen to a valid defence against the issue of a Liability Order.  The defences are extremely limited:

  • The property is not entered in the appropriate Valuation List
  • The council tax has not been properly set
  • The council tax has not been billed in accordance with the legislation
  • The amount demanded has been paid in full (including summons costs). Please note that provided the council has received full cleared payment then no further application will be made by the council
  • More than six years have passed since the balance became due
  • Bankruptcy proceedings have been initiated

Please do not attend court for any other reason.

If you do still decide to attend please note that the court cannot, at this stage, take into account why you have not paid your council tax or any personal or financial difficulties you may be having.

If you disagree with the amount you have received the summons for, or if you wish to discuss any discounts, reductions or exemptions, please phone 01634 332222.

You should pay what you can before the court date although if we do not receive payment in full, we will still ask the court to issue a liability order.

Your credit rating

The issue of a magistrate’s court summons for council tax will not affect your credit rating. It is a private matter between you and the council and we will not pass details onto any credit agencies.