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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71048
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I was unable to attend a summons for non payment of council

Customer Question

I was unable to attend a summons for non payment of council today at the local magistrate's court in Stevenage today however I have provided the local council with a payment plan for completion of payment in August for the full outstanding balance. This email was sent on the 10th July giving me plenty of time to get my affairs in order and avoid the court hearing. Apart from the automated message from the local council, I have received nothing from the revenues department and have tried to contact them all day by telephone - the longest I have been on hold for was 20 minutes. I will obviously be contacting them again tomorrow however my concern is that the police will try and arrest me tomorrow for not attending! Where do I stand as I have not received communication from the local council either accepting or not accepting my proposal?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your question . My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.

Why did you want to attend please?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

It was a summons from the Magistrate's Court - I did not want to attend but although I had contacted the local council repeatedly with a payment plan, as I had not had a response from them I am stuck - I just don't want to be greeted by 2 policemen in the morning for not attending and being arrested!


Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
No, thats not going to happen.

This is a summons. You are not on bail. You do not commit an offence in failing to answer a summons. In legal theory its a contempt of court but I've only ever seen one prosecution and that involved entirely different issues to this situation.

People just respond to council tax summonses by post all the time.

All that happens for the most part if you don't answer a summons is that the case proceeds in your absence.

Just make contact with the council and offer a repayment plan and start paying it.

They will just have a liability order. They won't have any enforcement options at this stage.

Can I clarify anything for you?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you so much - I've been so busy paying for last year (bailiffs warrant for possession) that I've not managed to pay for THIS year - sadly this has been rolling on for the 17 years I have owned this property!! It's just a vicious circle!


The repayment offer was sent on the 10th July and as yet I have received nothing from the local council however I can make payment in full on the 10th August.


My concern was just that if I was absent to a Magistrate's Summons that they would issue a warrant for my arrest - the last thing I need is to be carted away at 6.00am tomorrow morning! Especially as I have been trying to call and email them ALL DAY!


My main concern was that, as a serial defaulter they would put them all together and arrest me anyway!


Thanks to your help I can at least sleep tonight!


Many thanks



Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
If you are a serial defaulter then there is a chance of custody in the end as you know but not for failing to attend.