Court summons and liability orders

A court summons will be sent to you if you do not pay your final notice within 14 days. This requires you to pay the full balance you owe, including any costs.

If more than one person is named on the Council Tax bill, a summons will be issued to each person, but only one set of costs will be charged.

To prevent any further action, please pay your bill in full:

Pay Council Tax bill in full

Make a payment offer 

Your summons will include a letter showing a payment plan to clear what you owe.

This means you will not have to pay the full balance in one go, but you must make the payments by the due dates shown on the letter.

The application for a liability order will continue for any balance due at the time of the court date. If you're up to date with your payments, no other action will be taken.

If you cannot afford the payments shown on the letter, or we have advised you to make an offer, you can use My Council Tax Online to set up a payment plan. You will get an immediate answer on whether it is accepted.

More about My Council Tax Online

If you cannot, or do not want to use My Council Tax Online, you can make a payment offer for review by completing a personal information form instead.

Complete a personal information form

You have 14 days from the date on your Council Tax summons letter to make an offer. See where to find the date of your Council Tax summons.

We will apply for a liability order

Your court summons shows a hearing date at the magistrates' court where we will apply for a liability order to recover Council Tax, if you do not pay the full amount shown on your summons.

We may recover Council Tax by:

  • getting information about your employment, benefits or earnings
  • using enforcement agents (bailiffs)
  • making deductions from your earnings or certain benefits
  • applying for a charging order at the county court.

You only need to attend a hearing if you want to dispute our application for a liability order. We will need information about your reason for attending. We may need more time to look into your dispute and we may ask the court to move your hearing to a later date.

We will be in contact with you before the court date shown on your summons. 

If you do not have a valid legal defence, we are normally able to resolve your dispute without needing to attend court. To discuss your case with one of our team, please complete a personal information form and we will be in touch shortly.

Disputing our application for a liability order

Magistrates can only listen to a valid legal defence against the issue of a liability order.

To dispute our application for a liability order, you must provide us with your valid legal defence.

Common legal defences include:

  • the property is not entered in the correct valuation list 
  • the Council Tax has not been set properly 
  • the Council Tax has not been billed lawfully 
  • the amount demanded has been paid in full (including summons costs)
  • more than 6 years have passed since the balance became due 
  • bankruptcy proceedings have been started.

You may have another reason which is not listed above. Do not attend court to make an offer of payment.

We will contact you before the hearing date to either:

  • resolve your dispute
  • inform you the hearing will be moved to later date so we have more time to look into your circumstances.

How to dispute a Council Tax liability order