Reverend has day in court over ‘unlawful’ Haringey council tax charges

Rev Paul Nicolson outside the Royal Courts of Justice. Photo: Polly Hancock

Rev Paul Nicolson outside the Royal Courts of Justice. Photo: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

An 83-year-old reverend is challenging Haringey Council auditors in the High Court over their council tax charges.

Paul Nicolson, a retired ‘man of the cloth’, represented himself against Grant Thornton auditors at the Royal Courts of Justice today.

Late payers and non-payers of council tax have been overcharged by Haringey’s auditors for years, he claimed.

He said Haringey residents have been forced to pay a blanket charge for court costs, regardless of whether they paid their council tax in full as soon as they received their court summons and therefore never appeared in court.

“The costs should be equal to those reasonably incurred”, Rev Nicolson said.

Rev Nicolson asked the court to consider “the gravity of a council breaking the law for so many years against so many thousands of residents”.

“The scale of law-breaking makes it a matter of serious public interest”, he later added.

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But counsel for Grant Thornton said the auditor did not overcharge people and that Haringey Council only sought to recover the correct costs.

Haringey Council did not charge people for a court appearance if they had only received a summons, Grant Thornton’s barrister said.

“There was no amalgamation of costs”, he explained.

Lord Justice Hamblen will make his judgement tomorrow morning.

Rev Nicolson has been campaigning on this issue since 2013.