The Council Tax Fraud

As many no doubt know by now we are not big fans of Council Tax. Many lawful rebels withhold but the system is very much entrenched against civil disobedience in this matter. On the one hand, magistrates courts unlawfully rubber stamp hundreds of liability orders at a time, from summonses which were issued by the council without judicial oversight, liability orders used by local authorities to use bully-boy enforcement agents like Ross & Roberts to intimidate money with menaces out of people.

We have had enough. We have chosen to come out fighting and using my own Council Tax case as one of the arsenal.

Background:

I sent a Notice to the Councillors of Mendip District Council in January 2015, putting them on notice. It was never responded to. I then wrote to Mendip District Council in March informing them I would not be paying Council Tax for (among other reasons) constitutional law. Mendip ignored my application for a reduction in council tax (to nil) under s.13a of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 and proceeded to enforcement. In July 2015 I received a council printed summons and on 28 July 2015 I attended the tribunal under duress to ask some pointed questions. Among the questions and answers obtained from the magistrates were:

  • For and on the record, Sir, will the court provide an explanation for how the clerk put her mind to the summons when it was issued by proxy by Mendip District Council with a photocopied signature belonging to the clerk?

The magistrates and legal advisor were unable to answer the question.

  • For and on the record, Sir, does this court recognise the jurisdiction of the British Constitution?

“We have no constitution.”

This is a blatant breach of Magna Carta 1215, which among other clauses states,

[45] “We will appoint as justices, constables, sheriffs, or other officials, only men that know the law of the realm and are minded to keep it well.” The Thoburn Judgment confirmed the status of Magna Carta as a constitutional statute which is immune from implied repeal.

The court then objected to a comment in a question (that I had recorded a court officer on a previous date) and immediately halted the hearing. I then seized the court under Article 61 Magna Carta 1215 and informed the magistrates and legal advisor of their Treason. In breach of the Magistrates Courts Act s.121(6) all three magistrates absented themselves from the hearing and then returned 20 minutes later and continued with the hearing, issuing a decision for 608 Liability Orders, including one for me.

My disability then kicked in, in a big way and I was not able to research my next move for many weeks. In the end I decided to apply to a District Judge to quash the Liability Order using a common law power to correct a defect in proceedings.

This is an application at common law for the Court to exercise its inherent power to set aside the decision of Yeovil Magistrates Court in Mendip District Council v. Coleman on 28th July 2015, an application for a Council Tax Liability Order. The Court’s decision to make such an Order was unjustified because there a genuine and arguable issue concerning the Council’s failure to comply with a statutory requirement to take steps to consider an application for a discount to the amount payable which was not considered by the Council / Magistrates. This failure amounted to a breach of s.13A of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 correctly interpreted by reference to the relevant passage from Hansard and as such was a “substantial procedural error, defect or mishap” caught by R. On the application of Jones v. HM Justices of the Peace [2008] EWHC 2740(Admin) ,[2008] All ER (D331) (Oct) which was a case concerning Council Tax.

That hearing was granted and Mendip District Council were summonsed to appear in Yeovil Magistrates Court on 12 November 2015. Prior to the hearing the council solicitor misconducted herself and did so again during the hearing. Due to one of my ongoing disabilities (fibromyalgia) I found myself not able to conduct myself with the necessary eloquence on the day and sought the court’s permission to admit my McKenzie friend with a right of audience (the right to speak as my advocate) which is not normally something that is allowed. The judge very reasonably adjourned the hearing for me to provide medical evidence of my condition.

Meanwhile I continued to research the constitutional arguments and have the pleasure of including the legal argument here for your perusal. When the case is argued I will report back but that time has not yet come.

To Mendip District Council re Nigel Coleman’s application for a reduction in his Council Tax.

Dear Sirs,
I write in the spirit of Civil Procedure Rules:

“2. This Practice Direction applies to disputes where no pre-action protocol approved by the Master of the Rolls applies.”
Objectives of pre-action conduct and protocols
“3. Before commencing proceedings, the court will expect the parties to have exchanged sufficient information to—
a. understand each other’s position;
b. make decisions about how to proceed;
c. try to settle the issues without proceedings;
d. consider a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to assist with settlement;
e. support the efficient management of those proceedings; and
f. reduce the costs of resolving the dispute.”
http://www.justice.gov.uk/…/civ…/rules/pd_pre-action_conduct

Turning to CPR 32.18(1):
“Notice to admit facts
(1) A party may serve notice on another party requiring him to admit the facts, or the part of the case of the serving party, specified in the notice.
(2) A notice to admit facts must be served no later than 21 days before the trial.
(3) Where the other party makes any admission in response to the notice, the admission may be used against him only –
(a) in the proceedings in which the notice to admit is served; and
(b) by the party who served the notice.
(4) The court may allow a party to amend or withdraw any admission made by him on such terms as it thinks just.”
https://www.justice.gov.uk/…/procedure-r…/civil/rules/part32

The facts which I require you to admit are these:

I wrote to the Billing authority (Mendip District Council) on 26 March 2015 (delivered by Recorded Delivery 30 March 2015), 28 May 2015 (delivered by Recorded Delivery 02 June 2015), 24 June 2015 (delivered by Recorded Delivery 25 June 2015) and to the S151 Officer on 16 September 2015 (delivered by Recorded Delivery 22 September 2015).

On each occasion I made it clear that I was invoking s.13A of the Local Government Finance Act 1992:
“13A Billing authority’s power to reduce amount of tax payable
1. Where a person is liable to pay council tax in respect of any chargeable dwelling and any day, the billing authority for the area in which the dwelling is situated may reduce the amount which he is liable to pay as respects the dwelling and the day to such extent as it thinks fit.
2. The power under subsection (1) above includes power to reduce an amount to nil.
3. The power under subsection (1) may be exercised in relation to particular cases or by determining a class of case in which liability is to be reduced to an extent provided by the determination.]
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1992/14/section/13A

I also invoked s.79(2) of the Local Government Act 1888:
“79 Incorporation of county council.
1. All duties and liabilities of the inhabitants of a county shall become and be duties and liabilities of the council of such county…”
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/Vict/51-52/41/section/79

My applications were ‘Petitions’ per the Bill of Rights 1688 and an exercise of one of my constitutional rights:

“Right to petition.
That it is the Right of the Subjects to petition the King and all Commitments and Prosecutions for such Petitioning are Illegall…”
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/…/WillandMar…/1/2/introduction

To date officials of Mendip District Council have failed to act on my petition to consider a reduction in my Council Tax contrary to their obligations under constitutional law, they have failed to consider my suggestions for mediation and have instead taken enforcement measures against me. They appear to be relying on a ‘policy’ which does not admit exceptions. Their actions are ‘Wednesbury unreasonable’ and contrary to the Local Government Ombudsman’s ruling in the Redcar case [2006] which I have brought to their attention.

The official’s actions are offences of misconduct in office by failing to act on my petition and the false application which they made to the Court was perjury. They are in breach of the Crown and Parliament Recognition Act 1689:
“And for the avoiding of all Disputes and Questions concerning the Being and Authority of the late Parliament assembled at Westminster the thirteenth day of February one thousand six hundred eighty [X2eight] Wee doe most humbly beseech your Majestyes that it may be enacted And bee it enacted by the King and Queenes most excellent Majestyes by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spirituall and Temporall and Commons in this present Parlyament assembled and by authoritie of the same That all and singular the Acts made and enacted in the said Parlyament were and are Laws and Statutes of this Kingdome and as such ought to be reputed taken and obeyed by all the People of this Kingdome…”.
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/…/Willan…/2/1/section/wrapper1

Returning to the Pre Action Protocols in order to ensure that we understand each other’s position I make the following observations:

1) The Council solicitor appeared to be labouring under a misapprehension that a “McKenzie Friend” is required to have legal qualifications. This is not so. I attach a copy of McKenzie v. McKenzie (1965).

2) Because of my disabilities I shall be making an application for my McKenzie Friend to be given rights of audience. I attach that application and its supporting documents.

3) I was asked by the District Judge if I had consulted a lawyer with expertise in constitutional law. I understand that the late Leolin Price QC (an authority on that subject) had been consulted on and had approved the Barons’ petition in 2001. I have information that the present generation of lawyers have not been educated about Magna Carta and that constitutional law was unwisely removed from the syllabus and examinations some 40 years ago. I attach an admission by Professor Dawn Oliver of University College London ((UK Constitutional Law Association), who is also a barrister) that she had not read Magna Carta and was not alone in that regard.
http://ukconstitutionallaw.org/…/dawn-oliver-surprises-in-…/

4) One of the Justices at my Liability Order hearing 28 July 2015 stated that “We have no constitution.” Article 6.1 of Schedule 1 of the Human Rights Act 1998 requires a “fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law,” moreover Magna Carta 1215, Article [40] “To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice” and article [45] “We will appoint as justices, constables, sheriffs, or other officials, only men that know the law of the realm and are minded to keep it well.” I submit that Mendip District Council should take better qualified legal advice before pressing their claim against me and in order to ensure that their case is properly presented if they persist in it.

5) Referring to s.10.1(c) of the Local Government Finance Act 2012 (the 2012 Act) which Mendip is relying upon in its assertion of my obligation to pay and the nature of the form of application:

“10 Council tax reduction schemes
1. For section 13A of the LGFA 1992 (billing authority’s power to reduce amount of tax payable) substitute—
13A Reductions by billing authority
1. The amount of council tax which a person is liable to pay in respect of any chargeable dwelling and any day (as determined in accordance with sections 10 to 13)—
(a) in the case of a dwelling situated in the area of a billing authority in England, is to be reduced to the extent, if any, required by the authority’s council tax reduction scheme (see subsection (2));
(b) in the case of a dwelling situated in the area of a billing authority in Wales, is to be reduced to the extent, if any, required by any council tax reduction scheme made under regulations under subsection (4) that applies to that dwelling;
(c) in any case, may be reduced to such extent (or, if the amount has been reduced under paragraph (a) or (b), such further extent) as the billing authority for the area in which the dwelling is situated thinks fit…”
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2012/17/section/10

6) If that is so, it is prima facie evidence that the person entrusted with the quasi-judicial responsibility of determining my claim for a reduction has misdirected him (or her) self and the decision is therefore void.

7) The correct interpretation of the 2012 Act is as follows, I submit, contained in the Explanatory Notes:

“41. The power in new section 13A(1)(c) – which is a restatement of the current law – can be exercised in particular cases or by determining a class of case and an authority can reduce a person’s liability to nil (new section 13A(6) and (7) )…”
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/…/2012/17/notes/division/5/2/2

The key word is “or.” As F.A.R. Bennion in ‘Understanding Common Law Statutes’ holds at Page 464: “Construction (of a statute) as a whole means three principles should be applied: (1) every word in the Act should be given a meaning, (2) the same word should be given the same meaning, and (3) different words should be given different meanings.”

This is why s.13A of the 1992 Act is unamended on the database and should have been acted upon by you. “May” is an enabling word in this context.

8) “Thinks fit” is covered by s.79(2) of the Local Government Act 1888:

“Incorporation of county council.

(2)All duties and liabilities of the inhabitants of a county shall become and be duties and liabilities of the council of such county…”

My petition is a legal one, not financial or charitable. It requires Councillors to do their legal duty, no more and no less. They may not suspend the law or the effect of the law per the Bill of Rights:

“Dispensing Power.
That the pretended Power of Suspending of Laws or the Execution of Laws by Regall Authority without Consent of Parlyament is illegall…”
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/…/WillandMar…/1/2/introduction

9) The prohibition on suspending the law was upheld recently in the Pretty Judgment: “Mrs Pretty began by asking the Director of Public Prosecutions to give her husband, in advance, immunity from prosecution under Section 2 (1) of the Suicide Act 1961. It was a request which his office had no choice but to refuse; as Lord Bingham of Cornhill said in dismissing her appeal yesterday, the power to dispense with and suspend laws. . . without the assent of Parliament was denied to the Crown and its servants by the Bill of Rights 1688…. “
Copyright 2001 Times Newspapers Ltd. This service is provided on Times Newspapers’ standard terms and conditions. To inquire about a licence to reproduce material from The Times, visit the Syndication website.

10) I stand by my previous application. s.10.1(c) of the 2012 Act clearly confirms that the various reduction schemes and s.13A are alternatives. It is time for you to reconsider your position in accordance with the Civil Procedure Rules and Natural Justice. Take this as another petition.

11) Because my application is made for a class of persons (those under Lawful Rebellion per s.61 of Magna Carta 1215) your misinterpretation means that all such cases within your jurisdiction must be reconsidered. I require particulars of all such cases in order for them to be taken into consideration in my application and also per the next paragraph of my argument.

12) I am considering legal proceedings against those responsible for this maladministration. My options include a claim under s.92 of the Local Government Act 2000, reporting misconduct in office and fraud by false representation to the police, a private prosecution with or without the intervention of the DPP, a “Relator” action with the Attorney General, a Grand Jury or a voluntary bill of indictment. This means s.35 of the Data Protection Act 1998 applies:

“Disclosures required by law or made in connection with legal proceedings etc.

(1)Personal data are exempt from the non-disclosure provisions where the disclosure is required by or under any enactment, by any rule of law or by the order of a court.

(2)Personal data are exempt from the non-disclosure provisions where the disclosure is necessary—

(a)for the purpose of, or in connection with, any legal proceedings (including prospective legal proceedings), or

(b)for the purpose of obtaining legal advice,

or is otherwise necessary for the purposes of establishing, exercising or defending legal rights.
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1998/29/section/35

13) Concerning your interpretation of the word may in a statute; you appear to be unaware of the relevant Judgments. I attach a copy of ex parte Livesey, and Julius v. The Bishop of Oxford. Time to think again.

14) My argument is indeed that I may not lawfully pay Council tax at the present time while Chapter 61 has been acted on by a properly constituted Barons Committee and that Councillors and officials are bound to comply with Chapter 61 of Magna Carta. To date officials have clearly failed to understand the issues and their actions have been ultra vires and void.

15) You should know that the Thoburn Judgment confirmed the status of Magna Carta as a constitutional statute which is immune from implied repeal:
“Regarding the conflict between Parliament sovereignty and the supremacy of EU law, the court stated that there is a hierarchy of acts of Parliament and differentiated the constitutional statutes and ordinary statutes. The Constitutional statutes comprise the Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights 1689, the Acts of Union 1707, the Reform Acts, the Human Rights Act 1998, the Scotland Act 1998, the Government of Wales Act 1998 and the European Communities Act 1972. They are protected from implied repeal by ordinary law…” Neutral Citation Number: [2002] EWHC 195 (Admin)

16) The correct forum for my application to be considered is by an elected Councillor applying the above charter, statutes and authorities and per s.’s 3 and 12 of the Interpretation Act 1978:

“3 Judicial notice.

Every Act is a public Act to be judicially noticed as such, unless the contrary is expressly provided by the Act…”
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1978/30/section/3

“12 Continuity of powers and duties.

(1) Where an Act confers a power or imposes a duty it is implied, unless the contrary intention appears, that the power may be exercised, or the duty is to be performed, from time to time as occasion requires.

(2) Where an Act confers a power or imposes a duty on the holder of an office as such, it is implied, unless the contrary intention appears, that the power may be exercised, or the duty is to be performed, by the holder for the time being of the office…”.

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1978/30/section/12

17) The reason why my petition should be dealt with by an elected Councillor and not an appointed official is the Petition of Right 1627 which is a statute in force:

The Petition of Right Act of 1627:

“VIII. The Petition.

They doe therefore humblie pray your most Excellent Majestie, that no man hereafter be compelled to make or yeild any Guift Loane Benevolence Taxe or such like Charge without comon consent by Acte of Parliament, And that none be called to make aunswere or take such Oath or to give attendance or be confined or otherwise molested or disquieted concerning the same or for refusall thereof . . .”

All which they most humblie pray of your most Excellent Majestie as their Rightes and Liberties according to the Lawes and Statutes of this Realme, And that your Majestie would alsoe vouchsafe to declare that the Awards doings and proceedings to the prejudice of your people in any of the premisses shall not be drawen hereafter into consequence or example. And that your Majestie would be alsoe graciouslie pleased for the further comfort and safetie of your people to declare your Royall will and pleasure, That in the things aforesaid all your Officers and Ministers shall serve you according to the Lawes and Statutes of this Realme as they tender the Honor of your Majestie and the prosperitie of this Kingdome…”
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/aep/Cha1/3/1/section/VIII

18) This is further confirmation that proceedings against me to date by officials of Mendip Council are ultra vires and void (this prohibition includes the “Section 151 Officer). Only elected Councillors may give “common consent” to taxation of the subject.

19) A relevant Judgment to guide Councillors is as follows, Joy v. Chief Constable Of Dumfries And Galloway (Copy attached):

“I respectfully agree with the view of Sheriff Malcolm in Todd v. Neilans, 1940 S.L.T. (Sh.Ct.) 12, where he says at page 13: “When by statute an administrative duty has been entrusted to an official, a local authority, or other body, involving decisions to be made in the exercise of discretion, an Appeal Court will be slow to interfere with the decisions of such official or authority provided that they have been arrived at in the conscientious and proper exercise of the statutory duty…

This opinion was confirmed by the Lord President in Kaye v. Hunter, 1958 S.C. 208, at page 212, where in reference to section 2 of the Firearms Act, 1937, he said:

“What is contemplated under this section is that the sheriff should only interfere with what the chief constable has done if he is persuaded on appeal that there has been a capricious or arbitrary exercise by the chief constable of a discretion which by statute has been entrusted to him and to him alone …”

In Anderson v. Neilans, 1940 S.L.T. (Sh.Ct.) 13, at page 14, Sheriff Malcolm said: “, . . I think it is not unfair to say that, in considering every case, the chief officer of police should bear in mind that the duty which the Act puts upon him is the judicial or quasi-judicial one of deciding whether the reason given for the possession of the firearm is in itself a good one, not whether objections can be raised against it, and accordingly he should endeavour to view the matter, in the first place, from the standpoint of the applicant, rather than from that of a possible objector”…”

20) In other words “Wednesbury Reasonableness” and Natural Justice apply. Taking enforcement action in the way that you have done is clearly arbitrary, unlawful and in breach of both the Civil and Criminal Procedure Rules. The matter of my application for a Council Tax reduction should be dealt with by elected Councillors, not officials. Because it is a quasi-judicial matter my petition should be dealt with by the full Council meeting in public.

There are a couple more sections but they relate to my severe disability and I feel are too personal to reproduce here. They do not relate to my decision to withhold council tax or the constitutional case but rather to misrepresentations made by the council solicitor at the previous hearing.

More to come.

 

Nothing on this website is to be construed as legal advice.