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Council tax – summonses and liability orders

If you do not respond to reminders to pay your council tax, you will get a court summons.

Receiving a court summons

If you get a summons, it will state:

  • the amount of debt you owe
  • the costs you have to pay so far
  • your court hearing date.

Your summons comes with a leaflet which explains what you should do next.

Extra costs after you get a summons

You will have to pay part, or all, of our costs for issuing the summons.

If we issue a summons we will charge you £72.50. This cost will still apply if:

  • you cannot pay the full amount owed before your hearing date, or
  • you want to make a repayment proposal that goes on after the hearing date.

If you pay the amount shown on the summons in full before the hearing date, you will not have to pay further summons costs added on the hearing date.

Where we hold hearings

We hold hearings at both Bromley Magistrates’ Court and Bexley Magistrates’ Court.

What happens at court – liability order

At your summons hearing, we will try to get a liability order. 

This gives us the right to take legal action against you to collect your debt. This might include:

  • using enforcement agents (bailiffs) to collect unpaid tax
  • taking the money you owe out of your benefits or earnings.

If we get a liability order on the hearing date, you will owe us an extra £50.

How we can help you

We want to help you resolve any problems you have paying your council tax.

If you cannot pay the full amount (including costs), or you have another issue you’d like to discuss, you must contact us immediately to discuss your situation.

If you have received a court summons, you can either:

  • make a repayment proposal now, or
  • go to a summons surgery at our offices in Laurence House to talk to someone about your situation before your court date.

Summons surgeries

If you would like to speak to someone in person about your court summons you can come to our walk-in surgery.


Customer Service Centre
Ground floor, Laurence House
Catford Road


Our surgeries take place every Wednesday (except on public holidays).

You don’t need an appointment. Drop in between 9am and 4pm before the hearing date on your summons notice. 

Please bring your court summons with you and any other relevant paperwork.