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Alex J.
Alex J., Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 3495
Experience:  Solicitors 2 years plus PQE
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I was in arrears with my council tax and charging orders were

Customer Question

I was in arrears with my council tax and charging orders were secured against my property. A bankruptcy petition was filed in the end but help from family and relatives paid for the debt at the eleventh hour. But the solicitor for the council says they have applied for costs which I will have to pay as well. I am a low income earner and I don't know how I will be able to pay the bill. Is there any help for this.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Alex J. replied 8 months ago.
Hi, Thank you for your question and welcome. My name is ***** ***** I will assist you. What were the value of the arrears? Has the solicitor said how much the costs are?
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
No but she indicated in our conversation that it will be several thousands of pounds.
Expert:  Alex J. replied 8 months ago.
Hi, Thank you. Unless the bank have the right to recover these costs from, the costs for enforcement action should be fixed. Have they applied to court for the costs and have they been given a hearing date?
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
You did not get that. I was talking about council solicitors not bank. They said they asked for costs at court and it has been granted. Left a message that I should call for discussion on costs.
Expert:  Alex J. replied 8 months ago.
Thank you my apologies, yes I mean the council. Depending on what the arrears were, they could only be entitled to fixed costs which are a couple of hundred pounds under the Civil Procedure Rules. As a starting point you should call the solicitor and ask what they are proposing you pay? And ask them on what basis they can make the charges if the Civil Procedure Rules only allow for fixed costs?
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Sorry arrears was about £15000.
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
They dismissed the bankruptcy petition after the payment.
Expert:  Alex J. replied 8 months ago.
Hi, Thank you. Was the matter dealt with in the small claims court initially or the bankruptcy court? Kind regards AJ
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Bankruptcy court.
Expert:  Alex J. replied 8 months ago.
Hi, Thank you. I think you need to find out what their intention is? Are they prepared to give you time to pay this or take a cut on the amount they will accept? Otherwise the council is knowingly putting you into a cycle you cannot escape. If the court order you to pay the fees you will be liable for them, so it may be worth considering some non legal alternatives - do you know anyone at your local council you can speak to about it?
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Are you a U.K solicitor? or
Expert:  Alex J. replied 8 months ago.
Yes I am a UK solicitor. The issue you are facing here is potentially another court order for costs - until they actually have that court they cannot take enforcement action - in the mean time you can either avoid the possibility of a cost order and try and agree a figure with them or you ignore them and risk that they may obtain a court order against you. What I would propose is putting pressure on them to drop the matter all together.
Expert:  Alex J. replied 8 months ago.
Kind regards AJ
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
You mean get them to drop the costs altogether
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Did not get reply to the last answer
Customer: replied 8 months ago.
Did not get reply to my last question
Expert:  Alex J. replied 8 months ago.
Hi, Thank you. My apologies for the delay. You should try and speak to them directly, the council may not be interested in bankrupting its tax payers and putting you into further problems, as this is not a good message to send out. It is therefore worth speaking to them to explain you have no further assets and cannot pay thousands in costs, at they very least they may reduce the amount they seek to recover.

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