In almost all cases where there is an application for judicial review of a magistrates' decision to impose custody, the High Court quashes the decision as unlawful
Yes, I was reading some old cases and news reports relating to this. What prompted my question was that in one of the cases the woman who was sent to prison had £60 per day wiped from the debt. But I was wondering who on earth would have made that decision to deduct: the court or the local authority?
Also, is there not a maximum term you can be sent to prison for wilful refusal? Section 5 of the Debtors Act states that:
"any court may commit to prison for a term not exceeding six weeks"
In relation to the debt it goes on to say:
"Any person imprisoned under this section shall be discharged out of custody upon a certificate signed in the prescribed manner to the effect that he has satisfied the debt or instalment of a debt in respect of which he was imprisoned, together with the prescribed costs (if any)"
Of course, my question related specifically to Council Tax, so I assume that the Debtors Act does not apply in these circumstances and instead "The Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992" will be enforced? But I was wondering, if the council or the courts were willing to knock £60 off per day, could you not serve your time in relation to the debt and then be released as per the second part of the debtor's act I have quoted?
If a taxpayer is committed to prison there cannot be further enforcement proceedings in respect of the Liability Orders
If the local authority can no longer enforce the liability order once you have been released from jail, then surely their only means of collection are civil and not statutory? It's as if the liability order no longer has any effect and all it's powers have been drained. And I would have thought - although I'm sure my logic is flawed - that they cannot add this unpaid amount to any new liability order that has yet to be enforced.
After all, some people have more time than money. Convenient way of paying the council tax could therefore be to serve some hard time.