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Retired vicar wins case highlighting inaccuracy of unpaid council tax enforcement costs

Related Member(s):
Helen Mountfield QC

Reverend Paul Nicolson of Taxpayers Against Poverty has won his test case in the High Court after complaining that magistrates ruling on allegations of council tax non-payment were failing to check the accuracy of costs bills. He claimed that sums were being wrongly added to legal costs bills and were a penalty unfairly imposed on the poor. Mr Nicolson deliberately refused to pay his tax to Haringey Council as he suspected the costs were inaccurate. The High Court said that it was the duty of the magistrates to ensure that they were satisfied that the orders made only included costs reasonably incurred in obtaining the  liability order.  The Tottenham magistrates did not have the “relevant information” before them when making a costs order and so it was unlawful. Mrs Justice Andrews said that case was of “significant public interest”. Helen Mountfield QC and Eloise Le Santo acted for Reverend Nicolson through the Bar Pro Bono Unit. For coverage from the BBC please click here.