Home Information Cases R (On The Application Of Tull) v Camberwell Green Magistrates’ Court & Anor (2004)

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R (On The Application Of Tull) v Camberwell Green Magistrates’ Court & Anor (2004)

Summary

Liability orders made against the applicant had to be set aside as she had not been properly served notice.

Facts

The applicant (T) applied for judicial review of the decision of the defendant magistrates' court (C) to make a number of liability orders against her and its decision to refuse to revoke those orders. T was the freehold owner of a house that had been converted into flats. Liability orders were made by C against T in 1996 and 1998 in respect of unpaid council tax on one of the flats (the property). Notice was served at the property and not at T's own address and the subsequent liability orders were made without T's knowledge. T applied to C to have the orders reopened but C refused. C contended that any summons sent by post was properly served if sent to T at the property on the basis, either that it was her last known place of abode, or that it was an address given by her at which service of the summons would be accepted.

Held

On the evidence T was not properly served. It could not be sensibly asserted that she was the last known occupier of the property. T had paid the liability she owed and therefore the liability orders were set aside. The appropriate procedure where liability orders were made, that should not have been, as the result of incorrect service was: (i) for the individual to inform the local authority and the justices that he had not been properly served; (ii) the local authority would satisfy itself whether the assertion of incorrect service was correct; (iii) where it was established the liability orders had not been properly obtained and an individual was not content with an assurance that orders would not be enforced but wished to have the orders set aside the local authority would join the individual in an application to have the orders set aside; (iv) if that application was refused the justices would have acted unreasonably. R (on the application of Brighton & Hove City Council) v Brighton & Hove Justices (2004) EWHC 1800 (Admin), considered, Mersey Docks Property Holdings v Kilgour (2004) EWHC 1638 (TCC), R (on the application of Davies) v HM Deputy Coroner for Birmingham (Costs) (2004) EWCA Civ 207 , (2004) 1 WLR 2739, applied.

Application granted.

Queen's Bench Division
Mitting J
Judgment date
16 November 2004
References

LTL 16/11/2004