Committal proceedings for unpaid Council Tax

If we are unable to collect an amount of outstanding Council Tax using other recovery methods, including the use of Enforcement Agents, we may apply to the Magistrates' Court for the issue of a Warrant of Commitment.

The Magistrates' Court will issue a committal summons requiring you to appear before the court. 

Committal summons advice

If you receive a committal summons you should:

The court hearing

The court will want to know about your current income and expenses. You will need to provide evidence, including copies of wage slips and bills, to confirm the details you provide. You will also need to tell the court about your income, expenses and employment for each period for which you have been summonsed.

The court will decide if your failure to pay the Council Tax is due to your wilful refusal or culpable neglect.

Depending on the courts decision, it can make these orders against you:

  • Send you to prison for a period of not more than three months
  • Send you to prison for a period of not more than three months but postpone this on condition that you make a payment or regular payments
  • Refuse to send you to prison
  • Write off all or part of the arrears

If you have not paid the total sum due to the council before the date of the hearing, and you fail to appear before the court, a warrant may be issued for your arrest.

Avoiding going to court

If you agree to pay the outstanding Council Tax for which you have been summonsed, plus any additional Council Tax arrears not included in the proceedings, we might agree to adjourn your case. This is so we can monitor your payments, or withdraw the summons if one of the following actions take place:

  • Payment is made in full, including costs
  • Monthly payments are paid via direct debit
  • You declare your employment details to enable us to collect your Council Tax by an Attachment of Earnings

Important advice

These are very serious matters. If you are served with a Committal Summons, do not ignore it. Remember, it might be possible to sort out payment of your Council Tax arrears without you having to attend the Magistrates' Court.

Help us to improve this website

Use this form to provide feedback on this webpage. Don't use it to contact us about a service or make a complaint. We will not reply, even if you include personal details such as your name and address. If you want us to reply, you should contact us in a different way.

What is your feedback for this webpage?

Give feedback about this page