A RETIRED priest, the Revd Paul Nicolson, has won a High Court
battle after a judge ruled that the £125 liability order handed
down to him after he refused to pay his council tax was
Mr Nicolson, an anti-poverty campaigner who lives in Tottenham,
has refused to pay council tax in protest against the removal of
council-tax benefit from the borough's poorest residents. In 2013,
he was given a £125 liability order at Tottenham Magistrates
When he asked the magistrates to explain how the figure of £125
was arrived at, they declined. He sought a judicial review of this
decision. The relevant law states that only "reasonably incurred"
costs can be imposed. The cost is lower in other boroughs.
This week, Mrs Justice Andrews ruled that the liability order
was unlawful, because the magistrates had been unable to provide
information about how the cost had been determined.
"We accept the court's decision to quash the costs order in this
case as magistrates did not have the relevant information before
them," said a Haringey Council spokesperson.
"We welcome that the judge accepted our broad approach to
calculating costs to cover legal proceedings. We will now consider
this ruling in greater detail."
Mr Nicolson said that "it remains to be seen whether the
external auditor is satisfied with the broad approach in the light
of the judgment that the costs in question must be incurred
obtaining the liability order."
In November, the Supreme Court ruled that a consultation by
Haringey before a decision to reduce council-tax benefit, was
"I am refusing to pay my council tax until they restore
100-per-cent council-tax benefit for the poorest citizens of the
UK," Mr Nicolson said on Wednesday. He thanked Helen Mountfield QC
and the team at Matrix Chambers for taking on the case pro