I have received a summons

What to do if you have received a summons

Why have I received a summons?

A summons has been sent as you have either:

  • Not paid the instalments shown on your bill after a reminder has been issued

  • Not paid the balance in full after a final notice has been issued

What is a summons?

A summons is a court document telling you the date, time and the location of the hearing where the magistrates will consider whether they should issue a liability order against you. 

It will also tell you the total amount of Council Tax that you owe, the period of time it refers to, and the costs you will have to pay.

What is a liability order?

A liability order is a demand for you to pay the full amount you owe, plus costs of £100

It gives us greater powers to collect the money you owe using a range of actions which include:

  • asking your employer to take regular deductions from your salary
  • taking money directly from your state benefit,
  • instructing enforcement agents to visit your home to collect the amount owed,
  • applying for a charging order on your property, which means we could force a sale to pay your Council Tax arrears, or the arrears will be paid out of the amount you get for any future sale,
  • applying to make you bankrupt, applying to the magistrates court for your committal to prison. 

To stop this court action you must pay the full amount including the summons costs by the date of the hearing. If you are unable to pay in full, please complete this form to offer an alternative payment arrangement, which will include summons and Liability Order costs.

Do I need to go to the court hearing?

You don't need to go to the court hearing unless you have a legal defence against the issue of a liability order. The magistrates will hear the case whether you attend or not. We are able to deal with any other concerns or queries you may have with you directly. 

If you are thinking about going to court, please contact us first to see if we can help you.

Common defences against a liability order being granted:

  • 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 legislation 
  • the amount demanded has been paid in full-including summons costs 
  • more than six years have passed since the balance became due
  • bankruptcy proceedings have been initiated 
  • you are not the person liable to pay the Council Tax you have been summonsed for

 

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