What happens if you receive a Court summons

Please read our information on how we are supporting residents and businesses, as well as information on affected services.

If you don’t pay or you’re unable to keep up to date with your instalments, we may issue you with a court summons.

When we issue a summons, a cost of £57.50 is added to what you owe. You must pay the amount shown on your summons, including the court costs before the hearing date.

The summons will tell you of the date and time of the hearing and address of the Magistrates Court.

If we don’t receive the full amount before the hearing date, we will ask the Magistrates court for a Liability Order, which allows us more powers to recover the amount you owe.

If the Magistrates Court grant the liability order, an extra cost of £20.00 is added to what you owe.

If we receive your payment after the hearing date, you’ll still need to pay the additional court costs of £20.00.

Should I attend Court?

You have the right to attend the court and offer evidence as to why you aren’t liable for the council tax charges. However, you only really need to attend if you have a legal defence to put to the Magistrates as to why you feel that you are not liable to pay the amount due.

If you go to the court hearing, the magistrate will ask if you have a valid defence, which will stop the liability order being granted.

What is my defence?

There are only two defences for not paying your Council Tax:

  • You have already paid the amount shown on the summons
  • We haven’t demanded the Council Tax in the way the law says we have to:
    • We have to pass a resolution setting the Council Tax and it has to be published
    • We have to prove we sent you a bill. We don’t have to prove you received the bill.

What isn’t a defence?

It’s not a valid defence if you’re not paying your Council Tax because:

  • You have appealed against your Council Tax band. You have to pay the amount on your bill until your appeal is heard.
  • You believe you’re not the person who has to pay the Council Tax or that Council Tax doesn’t apply to your property or that you are entitled to a discount. In these cases, you should contact us, but once we have considered your request, if you still do not agree you can appeal to the Valuation Tribunal Services. You remain liable to pay in the meantime.
  • You believe that Council Tax is unfair, takes no account of whether you can pay or should never have been made law.

If you don’t have a valid defence, the court will grant a Liability Order

We can still help you at this stage, so don’t delay and contact us today.

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