Frequently asked questions related to receiving a court summons.


If you would like additional information please contact the council's Recovery Team

What shall I do if I paid recently?

If you have paid the full amount for the year please call or email us to check we have received your payment.
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What shall I do if I am unable to pay in full?

Please contact us to make an arrangement. This will include the court costs. We will ask the court for a Liability Order, but further recovery action will be stopped as long as you keep to this arrangement.
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Can I still get help if I am on a low income?

You can claim Council Tax Benefit at any time. However, payment still needs to be made whilst your benefit claim is assessed.
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I am a student. Do I have to pay?

You may be able to claim a discount or exemption. This will depend on the circumstances of any other residents.
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I have applied for benefit but have not yet heard from you.

Please contact our Benefits section immediately.
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Do I have to attend the court hearing?

If you don't attend we will still apply for a Liability Order, which may be granted in your absence. You may prefer to attend the court hearing if you feel that you should not pay. However, it is quicker, easier and cheaper to contact us to sort this out before the court hearing.

The Court Hearing is to determine your liability to pay. The two legal defences are :

  • If you have not been billed correctly, in line with the Council Tax Regulations 1992
  • If you have proof that you have paid the bill

If either of the above applies, please contact  Council Tax and your case may not have to go to court.

If you do not think you owe the amount shown on the summons please contact us straight away. Do not wait until the court hearing. If you think that you are entitled to a rebate, please telephone the Benefits Section and ask for an application form.
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What if I have recently applied for benefit?

Benefit will only be backdated if there is a good reason why you did not claim earlier. If you are waiting for a decision on backdated benefits you must still pay the outstanding amount. If you have paid too much Council Tax you will be sent an immediate refund.
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What is a Liability Order?

A liability order allows us to take further recovery action. Please read the section on recovery procedures.
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What happens if I attend court?

A member of court staff directs you to the courtroom. We will also be there to help. The court will try to deal with your case on time. If there is not enough time your hearing may be changed to a later date.
After hearing both sides, the court will decide whether or not to grant a Liability Order.
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Can I bring my children with me?

There are no facilities and children are not allowed in the court.
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What should I do if I need an interpreter?

Please contact us before the hearing. You may bring your own interpreter. However, this should not be a child.
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Can I bring a friend to represent me at court?

Only the magistrate at the hearing can agree to someone speaking for you.
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I cannot attend the court hearing on the date shown on my summons but I want to appear in court.

You can make a request to the court in writing to adjourn your case, well before the hearing date. You should tell the court why you are unable to attend and give them some idea of when you will be available. The magistrates will consider your request at the court hearing.
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What happens if I have moved home?

If you have not told us yet, please contact us before the court hearing. Please see the section on moving home.
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Other people in the household have received a summons. Do we all have to pay the amount on the summons?

Every person named on the bill will receive a copy. Only one amount of Council Tax and costs need to be paid.
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I have paid my part of the Council Tax, but have now received a summons. Do I still have to pay the remaining balance?

Yes. We will pursue the others for their part if you provide proof of payment. If we cannot recover the money from them you may still have to pay.
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