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  • FIRST POST
    • Aubrey Thicket
    • By Aubrey Thicket 10th Oct 17, 2:28 PM
    • 170Posts
    • 47Thanks
    Aubrey Thicket
    Can I take Council to Court for loss of my time etc?
    • #1
    • 10th Oct 17, 2:28 PM
    Can I take Council to Court for loss of my time etc? 10th Oct 17 at 2:28 PM
    Hi all

    I hope this is the correct forum. I'll try and make this as concise as possible:

    Our Local council have been sending us Council Tax bills for a property that we are renovating. Under their own rules we don't have to pay for the first 6 months if the house is in a poor state of repair. Anyhow, they keep sending us incorrect demands, wrong letters etc. You have 3 ways of responding to their letters and demands...
    By telephone, Email or Letter.

    Initially, with regard to the first few letters my wife used to ring the Council and she was regularly kept on hold for over 50 minutes with no joy. So, we decided to Email AND Write to the Council (recorded delivery) to put forward our case. The council wouldn't reply and then went straight to sending us a Court summons with costs. I was livid and wrote back to the council proving our case and giving proof that we had sent them letters which they ignored. I was more than prepared to go to Court today because it is clear as day we are in the right. We have the documents to prove it! Then, out of the Blue the Council rang my mobile last night and apologized for their mistakes and said they had cancelled the Court case for today and would cancel any charges. However, I can't now reverse the days holiday I took off from work and I can't get back all the time spent writing letters and Emails.

    I know some people are going to say I should leave it there and accept the Council's apology etc but I simply can't. The same council frightened my parents into this last year and they just paid up because they were scared to go to court (even though they had documentary evidence FROM THE COUNCIL ITSELF saying no debt was due). Telling friends and family has now enlightened me that this Council have a system of simply sending everybody a court summons and charges. Those that take the time to complain or disagree often get their court cases withdrawn and charges cancelled/refunded. Those that don't argue have to pay, regardless of whether you owe it or not. Some people I know have literally paid the summons costs of £65 because they can't get time off work. Others because they are frightened of court.

    I am not standing for it and was fully prepared to go to court today. I even had my Suit dry cleaned at weekend!

    So, previously, I wrote to the Council I informed them that I would be charging them £50 per hour for my time and also for my day off work. My letter said that if I successfully convinced the judge we were right I would make a counter claim from the council for my lost time. Sadly, now the Council have back tracked I won't get to make my counter claim.

    Therefore, like a Dog with a bone I am determined to harry and chase the council to pay my costs. Even if it takes me a million years I want to try and ensure they stop this bullying. If I get to court and lose then so be it. I'll pay up. If I win I'll be shouting it all over my local community.

    With this in mind, please can you guys advise me what my course of action should be...Small claims? Appoint a debt collection agency (is this viable?)

    Bear in mind I will now be chasing them to pay my invoice.

    Thanks all.
Page 1
    • IAmWales
    • By IAmWales 10th Oct 17, 2:37 PM
    • 1,853 Posts
    • 3,842 Thanks
    IAmWales
    • #2
    • 10th Oct 17, 2:37 PM
    • #2
    • 10th Oct 17, 2:37 PM
    You can take anyone you want to court, whether you will win or not is a different matter. Where do you get your £50 an hour figure from?

    Your best course of action would be to make a complaint to the council, and follow the procedure through to the ombudsman if you are not satisfied with their response.

    Not sure how you intend shouting all over your local community, but if you mean the local paper you might want to think about how you come across. You'd be in great danger of becoming one of those sad face stories, which generally result in derision.
    • bspm
    • By bspm 10th Oct 17, 2:52 PM
    • 447 Posts
    • 693 Thanks
    bspm
    • #3
    • 10th Oct 17, 2:52 PM
    • #3
    • 10th Oct 17, 2:52 PM
    Hi all

    I hope this is the correct forum. I'll try and make this as concise as possible:

    Our Local council have been sending us Council Tax bills for a property that we are renovating. Under their own rules we don't have to pay for the first 6 months if the house is in a poor state of repair. Anyhow, they keep sending us incorrect demands, wrong letters etc. You have 3 ways of responding to their letters and demands...
    By telephone, Email or Letter.

    Initially, with regard to the first few letters my wife used to ring the Council and she was regularly kept on hold for over 50 minutes with no joy. So, we decided to Email AND Write to the Council (recorded delivery) to put forward our case. The council wouldn't reply and then went straight to sending us a Court summons with costs. I was livid and wrote back to the council proving our case and giving proof that we had sent them letters which they ignored. I was more than prepared to go to Court today because it is clear as day we are in the right. We have the documents to prove it! Then, out of the Blue the Council rang my mobile last night and apologized for their mistakes and said they had cancelled the Court case for today and would cancel any charges. However, I can't now reverse the days holiday I took off from work and I can't get back all the time spent writing letters and Emails.

    I know some people are going to say I should leave it there and accept the Council's apology etc but I simply can't. The same council frightened my parents into this last year and they just paid up because they were scared to go to court (even though they had documentary evidence FROM THE COUNCIL ITSELF saying no debt was due). Telling friends and family has now enlightened me that this Council have a system of simply sending everybody a court summons and charges. Those that take the time to complain or disagree often get their court cases withdrawn and charges cancelled/refunded. Those that don't argue have to pay, regardless of whether you owe it or not. Some people I know have literally paid the summons costs of £65 because they can't get time off work. Others because they are frightened of court.

    I am not standing for it and was fully prepared to go to court today. I even had my Suit dry cleaned at weekend!

    So, previously, I wrote to the Council I informed them that I would be charging them £50 per hour for my time and also for my day off work. My letter said that if I successfully convinced the judge we were right I would make a counter claim from the council for my lost time. Sadly, now the Council have back tracked I won't get to make my counter claim.

    Therefore, like a Dog with a bone I am determined to harry and chase the council to pay my costs. Even if it takes me a million years I want to try and ensure they stop this bullying. If I get to court and lose then so be it. I'll pay up. If I win I'll be shouting it all over my local community.

    With this in mind, please can you guys advise me what my course of action should be...Small claims? Appoint a debt collection agency (is this viable?)

    Bear in mind I will now be chasing them to pay my invoice.

    Thanks all.
    Originally posted by Aubrey Thicket
    I can't offer you any advice on how to go about trying to get any costs incurred from the Councils inept attitude but I wish you well!

    Go for it, please come back and let us know what you did. I do not blame you at all for doing this, once again good luck.
    • Aubrey Thicket
    • By Aubrey Thicket 10th Oct 17, 2:52 PM
    • 170 Posts
    • 47 Thanks
    Aubrey Thicket
    • #4
    • 10th Oct 17, 2:52 PM
    • #4
    • 10th Oct 17, 2:52 PM
    IAmWales

    Thank you for your input. I totally get where you are coming from, which is why I came here. I feel a serious sense of injustice that people who don't have the time, the finances and the resources are simply forced to accept these bullies sending them demands when they are not due. Like I said, I KNOW people who are too scared to go to Court and have paid the £65. My Mother is one of them! I'm lucky. I booked the day off work for the case today. I can afford to pay if I had have lost but those less fortunate can't.

    While I respect each persons opinion on my moral high ground here I'd be grateful for advice on what action I could take next and what options I have with regard to getting my pound of flesh.
    • Aubrey Thicket
    • By Aubrey Thicket 10th Oct 17, 2:55 PM
    • 170 Posts
    • 47 Thanks
    Aubrey Thicket
    • #5
    • 10th Oct 17, 2:55 PM
    • #5
    • 10th Oct 17, 2:55 PM
    Thank you bspm. While I'm sure some will deride me for pressing on with this I really feel for those people who have no option but to pay the £65. It is bad enough paying £65 you can't afford when you are bang to rights but even when you have done nothing wrong.
    • Comms69
    • By Comms69 10th Oct 17, 3:00 PM
    • 1,292 Posts
    • 1,050 Thanks
    Comms69
    • #6
    • 10th Oct 17, 3:00 PM
    • #6
    • 10th Oct 17, 3:00 PM
    Hi all

    I hope this is the correct forum. I'll try and make this as concise as possible:

    Our Local council have been sending us Council Tax bills for a property that we are renovating. Under their own rules we don't have to pay for the first 6 months if the house is in a poor state of repair. Anyhow, they keep sending us incorrect demands, wrong letters etc. You have 3 ways of responding to their letters and demands...
    By telephone, Email or Letter. - Letter, always letter, maybe with an email with a copy attached too.

    Initially, with regard to the first few letters my wife used to ring the Council and she was regularly kept on hold for over 50 minutes with no joy. So, we decided to Email AND Write to the Council (recorded delivery) to put forward our case. - perfect. The council wouldn't reply and then went straight to sending us a Court summons with costs. I was livid and wrote back to the council proving our case and giving proof that we had sent them letters which they ignored. I was more than prepared to go to Court today because it is clear as day we are in the right. We have the documents to prove it! - excellent, that's what courts are for. Then, out of the Blue the Council rang my mobile last night and apologized for their mistakes and said they had cancelled the Court case for today and would cancel any charges. However, I can't now reverse the days holiday I took off from work and I can't get back all the time spent writing letters and Emails. - Yes you can take them to court for the loss of a day's holiday.

    I know some people are going to say I should leave it there and accept the Council's apology etc but I simply can't. The same council frightened my parents into this last year and they just paid up because they were scared to go to court (even though they had documentary evidence FROM THE COUNCIL ITSELF saying no debt was due). Telling friends and family has now enlightened me that this Council have a system of simply sending everybody a court summons and charges. Those that take the time to complain or disagree often get their court cases withdrawn and charges cancelled/refunded. Those that don't argue have to pay, regardless of whether you owe it or not. Some people I know have literally paid the summons costs of £65 because they can't get time off work. Others because they are frightened of court.

    I am not standing for it and was fully prepared to go to court today. I even had my Suit dry cleaned at weekend! - remember this is magistrates court, so not where you would take them

    So, previously, I wrote to the Council I informed them that I would be charging them £50 per hour for my time and also for my day off work. - that was incredibly foolish. Your time is not worth £50 an hour. My letter said that if I successfully convinced the judge we were right I would make a counter claim from the council for my lost time. Sadly, now the Council have back tracked I won't get to make my counter claim. - So your threat was worthless as you have no meaningful legal knowledge.

    Therefore, like a Dog with a bone I am determined to harry and chase the council to pay my costs. Even if it takes me a million years I want to try and ensure they stop this bullying. If I get to court and lose then so be it. I'll pay up. If I win I'll be shouting it all over my local community. - So go and claim your annual leave day.

    With this in mind, please can you guys advise me what my course of action should be...Small claims? Appoint a debt collection agency (is this viable?)

    Bear in mind I will now be chasing them to pay my invoice. - then you will lose

    Thanks all.
    Originally posted by Aubrey Thicket

    Letter before action for ACTUAL loss, you don't get to profit from this
    • Aubrey Thicket
    • By Aubrey Thicket 10th Oct 17, 3:06 PM
    • 170 Posts
    • 47 Thanks
    Aubrey Thicket
    • #7
    • 10th Oct 17, 3:06 PM
    • #7
    • 10th Oct 17, 3:06 PM
    Comms69, thank you for your input. I accept your opinions and nevertheless I will press on. I hope I can surprise you. You are correct, I have no meaningful legal knowledge but as this would be a magistrates court (if it ever got there) I wouldn't be losing my shirt would I?

    With regard to my time not being worth £50 per hour what if I am a Doctor or somebody who could realistically charge £50 for an hours work?

    Thanks again.
    • Aubrey Thicket
    • By Aubrey Thicket 10th Oct 17, 3:11 PM
    • 170 Posts
    • 47 Thanks
    Aubrey Thicket
    • #8
    • 10th Oct 17, 3:11 PM
    Letter before action...
    • #8
    • 10th Oct 17, 3:11 PM
    Letter before action for ACTUAL loss, you don't get to profit from this
    Originally posted by Comms69
    Also, how could I possibly have sent a letter BEFORE action when I had no idea the Councils course of action would be to issue proceedings immediately?

    If the Council had written to me saying 'OK, if you don't pay up we will take you to court' I could then have written back BEFORE court and said 'OK, you're taking me to court so I intend to charge you £££ for my time'. The problem is that the Council do not converse. Their stance is that the summons is their FIRST option and then mediate.
    • Comms69
    • By Comms69 10th Oct 17, 3:14 PM
    • 1,292 Posts
    • 1,050 Thanks
    Comms69
    • #9
    • 10th Oct 17, 3:14 PM
    • #9
    • 10th Oct 17, 3:14 PM
    Also, how could I possibly have sent a letter BEFORE action when I had no idea the Councils course of action would be to issue proceedings immediately? - No you send a 'letter before action' it's a requirement of the courts to allow parties to resolve disputes without going to court. This is where the lack of legal knowledge I mentioned becomes an issue.

    If the Council had written to me saying 'OK, if you don't pay up we will take you to court' I could then have written back BEFORE court and said 'OK, you're taking me to court so I intend to charge you £££ for my time'. The problem is that the Council do not converse. Their stance is that the summons is their FIRST option and then mediate.
    Originally posted by Aubrey Thicket
    You don't get to set a figure to charge, the courts have resolved that in certain circumstances a charge of £19.00 per hour would be reasonable.


    In any case, you could not make that claim at the magistrates court.
    • Aubrey Thicket
    • By Aubrey Thicket 10th Oct 17, 3:16 PM
    • 170 Posts
    • 47 Thanks
    Aubrey Thicket
    Letter Before Action...
    Letter before action for ACTUAL loss, you don't get to profit from this
    Originally posted by Comms69
    What I am trying to get over is...

    I have been to court a few times in my life for various things (nothing serious, mainly HMRC disagreements, Employee/commercial tribunals etc, work related issues etc) and I can honestly say that on EVERY single occasion I have been to court (or known friends/family go to court) there has always been solicitors letters etc BEFORE any court case is scheduled. There has always been letters before action, letters before proceedings etc. On these occasions the Council in question simply issue proceedings without conversing.
    • Comms69
    • By Comms69 10th Oct 17, 3:17 PM
    • 1,292 Posts
    • 1,050 Thanks
    Comms69
    Comms69, thank you for your input. I accept your opinions and nevertheless I will press on. - ? I encouraged you to, but with the caveat that you only pursue what is reasonable. as otherwise your whole claim may be struck out. I hope I can surprise you. You are correct, I have no meaningful legal knowledge but as this would be a magistrates court (if it ever got there) I wouldn't be losing my shirt would I? - Magistrates court is for criminal conviction, you would have potentially gained a criminal conviction and a fine. Had you won, you would receive nothing.

    With regard to my time not being worth £50 per hour what if I am a Doctor or somebody who could realistically charge £50 for an hours work?

    Thanks again.
    Originally posted by Aubrey Thicket


    The work you do preparing a case is NOT the same as what a doctor does during consultation. So regardless of your income, your time is not worth that, doing this task.


    It's like a doctor charging £50 an hour to babysit. You aren't being paid for your experience or qualifications as a doctor at that time.
    • Comms69
    • By Comms69 10th Oct 17, 3:18 PM
    • 1,292 Posts
    • 1,050 Thanks
    Comms69
    What I am trying to get over is...

    I have been to court a few times in my life for various things (nothing serious, mainly HMRC disagreements, Employee/commercial tribunals etc, work related issues etc) - so no criminal case? and I can honestly say that on EVERY single occasion I have been to court (or known friends/family go to court) there has always been solicitors letters etc BEFORE any court case is scheduled. - correct, civil law requires this. There has always been letters before action, letters before proceedings etc. On these occasions the Council in question simply issue proceedings without conversing.
    Originally posted by Aubrey Thicket
    Because in criminal law there is no obligation to mitigate.
    • Aubrey Thicket
    • By Aubrey Thicket 10th Oct 17, 3:28 PM
    • 170 Posts
    • 47 Thanks
    Aubrey Thicket
    Comms69, Brilliant advice. I really appreciate your time & input here. You may save me from some embarrassment with your assistance. The way I see it is to not let my lack of knowledge hold me back here. There's people like you on here who clearly know what they are talking about more than me and that is the very information I am trying to glean. If I am prepared from the start it will make this battle a little easier. I am certainly going to make mistakes along the way but there's this burning fire inside me that can't let the Council keep getting away with this. If it enlightens you further I can tell you that I live a comfortable life style and a few hundred quid lost wouldn't be an issue. I'm not doing this to make a profit. I realise I could even end up paying the Councils court costs but I am determined that they are not going to keep trying to hurt those who are unable to fight back (hence me shouting any win all over and persuading others to stand up).
    • Comms69
    • By Comms69 10th Oct 17, 3:33 PM
    • 1,292 Posts
    • 1,050 Thanks
    Comms69
    Typically costs in the small claims court are limited, so you wont end up paying hundreds if you lose.


    I'd suggest that if you proceed the council may not even defend the claim as the cost to defend (solicitor being £100-200) would outweigh your claim for A/L.


    Write the letter, post it here and I will critique (as im sure others will)
    • NeilCr
    • By NeilCr 10th Oct 17, 3:34 PM
    • 1,100 Posts
    • 1,218 Thanks
    NeilCr
    Have you thought about taking the issue to your local councillor?

    Given you have a couple of examples of alleged mistakes you might find they can apply some pressure in the right place and get things changed. They may also be able to get you some financial redress. As a general rule I’ve found that they can be very effective (of course that will depend on your council and councillor!)

    In my experience small claims courts like to see that you have made efforts to sort the issue out with the other party before going down the legal route
    Last edited by NeilCr; 10-10-2017 at 5:09 PM.
    • BoGoF
    • By BoGoF 10th Oct 17, 3:36 PM
    • 2,725 Posts
    • 1,963 Thanks
    BoGoF
    In all honesty you are coming across as a bit obsessed and obsessed people aren't known for rational decisions.
    • Aubrey Thicket
    • By Aubrey Thicket 10th Oct 17, 3:50 PM
    • 170 Posts
    • 47 Thanks
    Aubrey Thicket
    I can see why you may think that.

    I’m going to press on.
    • adindas
    • By adindas 10th Oct 17, 4:07 PM
    • 3,341 Posts
    • 1,649 Thanks
    adindas
    The work you do preparing a case is NOT the same as what a doctor does during consultation. So regardless of your income, your time is not worth that, doing this task.


    It's like a doctor charging £50 an hour to babysit. You aren't being paid for your experience or qualifications as a doctor at that time.
    Originally posted by Comms69
    Comms69, Brilliant advice. I really appreciate your time & input here. You may save me from some embarrassment with your assistance. The way I see it is to not let my lack of knowledge hold me back here. There's people like you on here who clearly know what they are talking about more than me and that is the very information I am trying to glean. If I am prepared from the start it will make this battle a little easier. I am certainly going to make mistakes along the way but there's this burning fire inside me that can't let the Council keep getting away with this. If it enlightens you further I can tell you that I live a comfortable life style and a few hundred quid lost wouldn't be an issue. I'm not doing this to make a profit. I realise I could even end up paying the Councils court costs but I am determined that they are not going to keep trying to hurt those who are unable to fight back (hence me shouting any win all over and persuading others to stand up).
    Originally posted by Aubrey Thicket
    What about lost of income in relation to what the economists called it opportunity cost.

    Indeed you are just writing a letter, it will not be a £50 an hour.

    But linking it to the opportunity cost, you might have already canceled your appointment, other business opportunity, other important thing where you would have earn £50 an hour (say). But because you have to response the letter from the council you loose this opportunity.

    If you could prove that you lost opportunity you would have earned than you could charge your professional rate.
    Last edited by adindas; 10-10-2017 at 4:13 PM.
    • lincroft1710
    • By lincroft1710 10th Oct 17, 4:32 PM
    • 10,040 Posts
    • 8,101 Thanks
    lincroft1710

    Therefore, like a Dog with a bone I am determined to harry and chase the council to pay my costs. Even if it takes me a million years I want to try and ensure they stop this bullying. If I get to court and lose then so be it.
    Originally posted by Aubrey Thicket
    You are in no position to ensure the council stops its so-called "bullying". If they have found a lawful way to increase their income then even if you did win, there is no reason for them to discontinue this process. Payment of your claim would be far outweighed by the income they derive.

    Another point is that you have not "lost" any holiday, you have had your holiday but agreed, not on a day of your choosing.

    If what the council is doing is not lawful then you should bring this to the attention of someone or some organisation that is better placed to challenge the council's actions.

    If your claim ever gets to court, then do remember that courts want facts, plain and simple, not hyperbole, bombast and pointless phrases (e.g. "even if it takes me a million years"). Neither should you express opinion about the council's actions because a small claims court will not be interested, it is there to adjudge if you have a claim that should be paid. Forget "Perry Mason", it is not a trial!
    • FBaby
    • By FBaby 10th Oct 17, 4:50 PM
    • 16,125 Posts
    • 40,028 Thanks
    FBaby
    Then, out of the Blue the Council rang my mobile last night and apologized for their mistakes and said they had cancelled the Court case for today and would cancel any charges
    Did they actually used the word 'mistakes' and did they say what they were?
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