Anti-poverty vicar awaits ruling

Published: Wednesday 6th May 2015 by The News Editor

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An anti-poverty campaigner who says millions of poor people could be getting unfair bills for costs run up by local authority officials who take legal action against them for non-payment of council tax is waiting to hear whether he has won a High Court fight.

Retired vicar Paul Nicolson took legal action after complaining that magistrates ruling on allegations of council tax non-payment were failing to check the accuracy of costs bills said to have been run up by the Labour-controlled London Borough of Haringey.

He complained that figures were being wrongly ”lumped on” to legal costs bills – and a ”penalty” unfairly imposed on the poor. And he says the problem could be widespread.

Mr Nicolson, who is in his 80s and lives in Tottenham, north London, began litigation after not paying a council tax bill as a matter of principle.

He says he was issued with a summons for non-payment of council tax by Haringey Council. Magistrates in Tottenham made a ”liability order” against him and ordered to pay £125 costs. He wants a judge to declare that magistrates failed to check the accuracy of the costs bill.

Bosses at Haringey Council dispute his allegations and say his judicial review claim should be dismissed.

Mrs Justice Andrews analysed evidence at a hearing in the High Court in London on April 30 and is today due to deliver a ruling.

:: Mr Nicolson was the vicar of Turville, Buckinghamshire, before retiring more than 15 years ago. The village was used as the setting for the BBC television comedy The Vicar of Dibley.

Published: Wednesday 6th May 2015 by The News Editor

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