Sadly I am not a solicitor (or maybe that is a good thing?), but each time that I have to deal with a liability order, I really do have to question the true legality of it.
I recently assisted someone who had received a liability order from the Petty Sessional Area of South Cheshire in the County of Cheshire, South Cheshire Magistrates Court (1187)
COMPLAINANT: Cheshire East Borough Council
This particular document is signed by Clerk to the Justices or Cheshire and Merseyside; the signature itself is not readable and there is no printed name next to it. I also note that on this document there is no official court seal.
Liability Order Procedures
As far as I am aware court summonses issued by the courts are sent out with a response packs and information to help defendant, similar to that of the County Court Judgment or more commonly known as a CCJ.
So in this particular case the defendant lives in Surrey, and the actual case itself was being held in The Law Courts, Civic Centre, Crewe. The defendant wanted to try and transfer the case to his local court. When I contacted the court the lady I spoke to informed me that the court has nothing to do with liability orders. If I had any questions regarding the liability order, I should direct my question to the Council. I could also send a fax to the courts, as they said that someone from the Council occasionally comes in to pick up any correspondence.
So with that in mind, a fax was sent to the County Court requesting that the case be transferred to another court on 12/12/13. To date no response has been received.
Ministry of Justice Court Document
I assume that all court documents came under the jurisdiction of the MoJ, so to that end I wrote to the MoJ requesting information:
“Dear Ministry of Justice,
Am I correct in thinking that all court documents come under the
MoJ, in particular does “Summons for Non Payment of Council Tax”
come under the control of MoJ?
“…..I am writing to advise you that your enquiry does not fall under the Freedom of Information regime.
“…..This will be best dealt with by the Ministerial Correspondence Unit (MCU) who will process your query as Official Correspondence. I have copied them into this e-mail but they can be contacted via the contact details below, should you wish to follow up this e-mail.:
Ministerial Correspondence Unit, Ministry of Justice, 102 Petty France, London, SW1H 9AJ, United Kingdom DX 152380 Westminster 8
Telephone: +44 (0)20 3334 3555
Fax: +44 (0)870 761 7753″
HMCTS Customer Service Reply
“Thank you for your email to the Ministry of Justice. Your email was passed to HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) – Complaints, Correspondence and Litigation Team (CCLT) to review. It may assist if I explain that the CCLT is responsible for dealing with complaints in relation to any maladministration, that is staff error, that has occurred in the courts and tribunals in England and Wales.
With regards to your request below, I can confirm that court documents are the responsibility of HMCTS which is an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ). A summons for Council Tax will be issued by the court but is produced and posted out by the relevant Council.
So once again I have to question the legality of a Summons for Council Tax. It is now my attention to contact the council regarding procedures!
There must be solicitors out there that can advise on the legality of this?