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Council Tax Summons: Unsigned, No court stamp, No Facsimile Signature - Legal or Not?

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  • Council Tax Summons: Unsigned, No court stamp, No Facsimile Signature - Legal or Not?

    Does a 'Summons for non-payment of Council Tax and application for liability order' have to be signed by the named clerk?

    This one just has the name of the Justices Clerk on it, but with no signature, or facsimile of it, or court stamp. Is this therefore a legal document?

    Other councils, I see, say that they issue such docs with a facsimile signature, so it seems odd that this council shows no sig or stamp. I believe that a facsimile signature or court stamp might be acceptable but without either is this document legally valid as a Summons?
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  • #2
    Re: Council Tax Summons: Unsigned, No court stamp, No Facsimile Signature - Legal or

    Also, is section 100 of the Magistrates Court Act 1981 applicable to these proceedings?

    Because the Summons does not refer to any rules/orders/regulations etc as section 100 suggests is required.

    Thanks.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Council Tax Summons: Unsigned, No court stamp, No Facsimile Signature - Legal or

      Sorry, that's the Magistrates court rules, not act.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Council Tax Summons: Unsigned, No court stamp, No Facsimile Signature - Legal or

        Originally posted by samsmoot View Post
        Does a 'Summons for non-payment of Council Tax and application for liability order' have to be signed by the named clerk?

        This one just has the name of the Justices Clerk on it, but with no signature, or facsimile of it, or court stamp. Is this therefore a legal document?

        Other councils, I see, say that they issue such docs with a facsimile signature, so it seems odd that this council shows no sig or stamp. I believe that a facsimile signature or court stamp might be acceptable but without either is this document legally valid as a Summons?
        Below is quoted from a document produced by the Justices' Clerks' Society:

        "
        The Council's software generates the liability orders. These may be rubber-stamped or pre-printed with the Justices' Clerks signature. There is no requirement for a wet-ink signature. This is for two reasons, set out in the Magistrates' Courts Rules 1981. Firstly, the Rules only require signatures (of any sort) on forms prescribed by the Rules (Rule 109(1)) and a liability order is not prescribed. Even if it were, rule 109(3) states "where a signature is required on a form or warrant other than an arrest, remand or commitment warrant, an electronic signature on the form will suffice.

        See relevant Rule below (caution there may have been amendments).

        Signature of forms prescribed by rules made under the Act of 1980

        109.– (1) Subject to paragraph (2), where any form prescribed by Rules made or having effect as if made under section 144 of the Act of 1980 contains provision for signature by a justice of the peace only, the form shall have effect as if it contained provision in the alternative for signature by the clerk of a magistrates' court.

        (2) This rule shall not apply to any form of warrant, other than a warrant of commitment or of distress, or to any form prescribed in the Magistrates' Courts (Forms) Rules 1981.

        [(3) In this rule where a signature is required on a form or warrant other than an arrest, remand or commitment warrant, an electronic signature incorporated into the document will satisfy this requirement.]

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Council Tax Summons: Unsigned, No court stamp, No Facsimile Signature - Legal or

          Originally posted by samsmoot View Post
          Also, is [rule 100 of the Magistrates Court Rules] 1981 applicable to these proceedings?

          Because the Summons does not refer to any rules/orders/regulations etc as section 100 suggests is required.

          Thanks.
          Don't know about this because it refers to an offence (is council tax non or late payment an offence?)

          Note that paragraph (2) of rule 99 has been repealed in case it's relevant.

          Sub paragraph (h) of rule 3 of the Magistrates' Courts (Miscellaneous Amendments) Rules 1993:

          (h) paragraph (2) of rule 99 shall be omitted;

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Council Tax Summons: Unsigned, No court stamp, No Facsimile Signature - Legal or

            They must be a signature to authorise the issuing of the summonses, whether or not each individual summons has to have a signature is open to debate - I've seen arguments both ways. The summons isn't a prescribed form (in the same way the liability order isn't) and that seems to be the root of the arguments - the court rules require prescribed forms to have signatures. The complaint list (which is a list of all the summonses to be issued) will be signed by the court - I've not personally come across a council who don't get both the complaints list signed (in person by the court) and the summons signed in facsimile.

            I know of over 1000 summons that had to be re-issued because a manager didn't have the clerk's signature updated when the clerk of the court was changed. This council made sure every summons had a court signature printed on it - this was under advice from the local court to head off any potential issues.

            Craig

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Council Tax Summons: Unsigned, No court stamp, No Facsimile Signature - Legal or

              I am taking a look at some of the points raised - firstly whether or not it is an 'offence'. If it is then I guess section 100 applies, if not then I'm unsure.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Council Tax Summons: Unsigned, No court stamp, No Facsimile Signature - Legal or

                Rule 98 of the Magistrates' Courts Rules 1981 appears to say that there should be a signature.

                If there are criminal penalties consequent to non-payment/liability order, then I don't see how the summons isn't alleging an offence. The summons is a complaint about being liable for, and non-payment of Council Tax, and the 2nd one is an offence, isn't it? Even if you would only be penalised after refusing to pay subsequent to a court order, that order could only be made because it follows on from what preceded it legally, which logically would have to have been an allegation and finding of an 'offence'.

                I don't know - it's a bit confusing. I will try and do some more research.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Council Tax Summons: Unsigned, No court stamp, No Facsimile Signature - Legal or

                  I don't think there are criminal penalties consequent to non-payment of council tax. I understand that imprisonment in the case of non-payment is bizarrely not a criminal sanction.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Council Tax Summons: Unsigned, No court stamp, No Facsimile Signature - Legal or

                    Originally posted by samsmoot View Post
                    Rule 98 of the Magistrates' Courts Rules 1981 appears to say that there should be a signature.

                    I don't know - it's a bit confusing. I will try and do some more research.
                    No signiture needed, reason

                    During the legal process of a council applying for action against an accout, ( like a LO ), there are a few legal and accountig markers that they have to check are applied before proceeding. ( before applying to court ). This is the legal dutie of an officer caled the monitoring officer and 151 officer.

                    These officer deligate the legal responcability to the court officer, to check accounts for validity and accuracy, prior applying to the court.

                    This officer, when he takes the large pile of LO applicatio to the court, swares and oath to the cleark of the court, that all conform to the correct legislation and are accurate ( this meens the majistrates does not have to look through each account to confirm accuracy )



                    In relation to understanding how a council charge for CT and how thats legaly accounted for properly within a working system, there was c=some caselaw posted on here a while ago thats easy to follow and deal with many of the complexitys of understanding what can be charged, at what stage, and when they ( council ) legal have to be accurate ( at the time of collection, not LO ) ,
                    crazy council ( as in local council,NELC ) as a member of the public, i don't get mad, i get even

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Council Tax Summons: Unsigned, No court stamp, No Facsimile Signature - Legal or

                      Originally posted by outlawlgo View Post
                      I don't think there are criminal penalties consequent to non-payment of council tax. I understand that imprisonment in the case of non-payment is bizarrely not a criminal sanction.
                      It is bizarre all round - most of what normal convicts would be entitled to isn't allowed, such as an appeal or sentence reduction from what I can gather.

                      Are CT related proceedings subject to the Criminal Procedure Rules?

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Council Tax Summons: Unsigned, No court stamp, No Facsimile Signature - Legal or

                        Originally posted by Crazy council View Post


                        In relation to understanding how a council charge for CT and how thats legaly accounted for properly within a working system, there was c=some caselaw posted on here a while ago thats easy to follow and deal with many of the complexitys of understanding what can be charged, at what stage, and when they ( council ) legal have to be accurate ( at the time of collection, not LO ) ,
                        Thanks, I will have a search on the site for that info.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Council Tax Summons: Unsigned, No court stamp, No Facsimile Signature - Legal or

                          Have a look to see if any answers are among this.......Imprisonment for Debt ..... or this thread..... Imprisonment for council tax default

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Council Tax Summons: Unsigned, No court stamp, No Facsimile Signature - Legal or

                            I'll have a look.

                            My main interest is how much the council can be slowed down. The CT will get paid but if the council isn't legally correct at every stage of the legal process a challenge at each turn might be helpful in stalling any proceedings whilst payment arrangements can be made, which may take a while.

                            Not sure there is much of a challenge at this stage but I'll look into it further.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Council Tax Summons: Unsigned, No court stamp, No Facsimile Signature - Legal or

                              Originally posted by outlawlgo View Post
                              Have a look to see if any answers are among this.......Imprisonment for Debt ..... or this thread..... Imprisonment for council tax default
                              You need a free trial for the first link but I had one before with LexisNexis (who appear to run the site) and it was very useful.

                              Comment

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