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Magistrates Court Summons | Sandwell Council

Magistrates Court Summons

I have received a court summons. If I bring my instalments up to date can the costs be withdrawn?

No, unless this is your first time that you have failed to make the payments. The summons has been issued because you did not bring your account up to date following the earlier Reminder/Final Notice. You have lost your right to pay by instalments and the full balance is due, including the costs. The costs have arisen by the council preparing the issue of the summons and need to be paid. As long as the full summons balance, including the costs, is paid in full before the court hearing, no further action will be taken or costs added to the bill.

To pay the amount due now you can make a payment online on the Council Tax Online Payment web page. You can also call the council’s Automated Telephone Payments line on 0300 456 0514 and make a payment using your debit or credit card. Both of these are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Why have I received a court summons when I have already made an arrangement to pay?

The council is legally required to ask the Magistrates to grant a Liability Order unless the total amount due, including costs, is paid before the date of the hearing. Even if you have recently made a payment arrangement (known as a ‘Special Arrangement’ or ‘SPA’) to pay the amount shown on the summons, we will still apply for a Liability Order at the hearing.

You can avoid further recovery action such as Enforcement Agents (previously known as bailiffs) or Attachment of Earnings Orders by making the payments you have agreed to pay in your SPA to clear the debt. Payments must be made on or before the agreed date.

Summons Costs of £69 and Court Costs of £0.50 and are included as part of the arrangement. However no further action will be taken to collect the debt as long as the Special Arrangement payments are made as agreed.

There is no need to attend the Court Hearing once an arrangement has been made if you do not want to. Normally customers will only attend if they have one of the eight valid defences against a Liability Order.

We may consider removing the Summons costs at the end of the process if this is the first time that you have failed to make the payments and you have kept to the payments agreed with the Council for your Special Arrangement.

If you do not make a payment arrangement, or have no reason to attend Court, a Liability Order will be issued in your absence. We do not need to go back to court to take any further action against you.

I have received a summons – can I make an arrangement to pay?

Yes, provided the arrangement you make is acceptable to us. We are legally required to ask the local Magistrates to grant a Liability Order unless the total amount due, including costs, is paid before the hearing date. If you can’t pay in full, we will apply for a Liability Order at the hearing.

You can avoid further recovery action such as Enforcement Agents (previously known as bailiffs) or Attachment of Earnings Orders by entering into a Special Arrangement (‘SPA’) to clear the debt.

You can use our on-line Special Arrangement payment plan form. Alternatively please contact a Customer Advisor immediately

Summons Costs of £69 and Court Costs of £0.50 and are included as part of the arrangement. However no further action will be taken to collect the debt as long as the Special Arrangement payments are made as agreed.

Everyone in the household has 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 court costs needs to be paid.

Do I have to attend court?

You can attend court if you want to, however please note the Court is not able to take account of your financial situation or discuss payment with you.

If you agree that you owe the amount due on the summons, you are legally entitled to appear at the court hearing if you want to. However you only really need to appear if you have one of the eight legal defences to put to the Magistrates as to why you feel that you are not liable.

If you don’t want to attend Court but wish to make a payment arrangement (known as a ‘Special Arrangement’ or ‘SPA’), You can use our on-line Special Arrangement payment plan form. Alternatively please contact a customer advisor immediately

Will I still have to pay the additional court costs if I make an arrangement to pay before the hearing?

Yes. We will apply for a Liability Order and £69 Summons costs plus £0.50 court costs (£69.50) will be added to your liability However no further action will be taken to collect the debt as long as the payments are made as agreed. We may consider removing the summons costs at the end of the process if this is the first time that you have failed to make the payments and you have kept to the payments agreed with the council for your Special Arrangement.

Will this affect my credit rating? Will my name or address be 'black-listed'?

Applications for a liability order are made in the Magistrates Court, not the County Court; so it will not affect your credit rating at this stage. If you fail to pay and the council has to resort to an application for a committal to prison, then this will result in you having a criminal record and this could affect your credit rating.

Why have I been sent a summons for the whole year when I've got until March next year to pay it?

You have the right to pay by instalments (usually from April - January), but if you do not pay the instalments as shown on your bill you will be sent a Reminder or Final Notice. If the amount due on the notice is not paid within seven days, you will lose your right to pay by instalments and the full amount needs to be paid. A summons for non-payment is issued for the full years balance which includes additional costs.

I have received a summons for the people that used to live at my address. What should I do?

Please write “Return to Sender” on the envelope and post it back to us.

If you haven’t received your own Council Tax bill yet, please also provide details of who has moved into the property and when either by email, letter or phone, or by completing our online Change of Address form.

Can I pay “my share” of the Summons?

If the summons is addressed to more than one person, we must receive payment for the full amount due before the Court date. Everybody named on the bill is ‘jointly and severally Liable’ for the full amount; this means that we can ask for the full amount owed from anybody named on the bill. Although you may want to split the amount owed, it is your responsibility to make sure that everyone pays their “share”. If payment is not received in full, further action can be taken against anyone named on the bill whether payments have been made or not and further costs may be added onto the bill.