Ex-vicar fights poverty ‘penalty’

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Published: Thursday 30th April 2015 by The News Editor

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Poor people who cannot afford to pay council tax are being handed unfair bills for costs run up by local authority officials who take legal action against them, according to an anti-poverty campaigner.

Retired vicar Paul Nicolson has taken High Court 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.

Mr Nicolson, who lives in the borough, launched litigation after not paying a council tax bill as a matter of principle.

He says he was issued with a summons of non-payment of council tax by Haringey Council and magistrates in Tottenham, north London, made a “liability order” against him and ordered him to pay £125 costs.

He wants a judge to declare that magistrates failed to “make inquiries into relevant considerations” before making a costs order.

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

Mrs Justice Andrews was analysing evidence at a hearing in the High Court in London today .

She said the case was of “wider importance”.

Published: Thursday 30th April 2015 by The News Editor

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