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The Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992

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Commitment to prison

47.—(1) Where a billing authority has sought to levy an amount by distress under regulation 45, the debtor is an individual who has attained the age of 18 years, and the person making the distress reports to the authority that he was unable (for whatever reason) to find any or sufficient goods of the debtor on which to levy the amount, the authority may apply to a magistrates' court for the issue of a warrant committing the debtor to prison.

(2) On such application being made the court shall (in the debtor’s presence) inquire as to his means and inquire whether the failure to pay which has led to the application is due to his wilful refusal or culpable neglect.

(3) If (and only if) the court is of the opinion that his failure is due to his wilful refusal or culpable neglect it may if it thinks fit—

(a)issue a warrant of commitment against the debtor, or

(b)fix a term of imprisonment and postpone the issue of the warrant until such time and on such conditions (if any) as the court thinks just.

(4) The warrant shall be made in respect of the relevant amount; and the relevant amount for this purpose is the aggregate of—

(a)an amount equal to the appropriate amount mentioned in regulation 45(2) or (as the case may be) so much of it as remains oustanding, and

(b)a sum of an amount equal to the costs reasonably incurred by the applicant in respect of the application.

(5) The warrant—

(a)shall state the relevant amount mentioned in paragraph (4),

(b)may be directed to the authority making the application and to such other persons (if any) as the court issuing it thinks fit, and

(c)may be executed anywhere in England and Wales by any person to whom it is directed.

(6) If—

(a)before the issue of a warrant the appropriate amount mentioned in regulation 45(2) (or so much of it as remains outstanding) is paid or tendered to the authority, or

(b)after the issue of the warrant, the amount stated in it is paid or tendered to the authority,

the authority shall accept the amount concerned, no further steps shall be taken as regards its recovery, and the debtor if committed to prison shall be released.

(7) The order in the warrant shall be that the debtor be imprisoned for a time specified in the warrant which shall not exceed 3 months, unless the amount stated in the warrant is sooner paid; but—

(a)where a warrant is issued after a postponement under paragraph (3)(b) and, since the term of imprisonment was fixed but before the issue of the warrant, the amount mentioned in paragraph (4)(a) with respect to which the warrant would (but for the postponement) have been made has been reduced by a part payment, the period of imprisonment ordered under the warrant shall be the term fixed under paragraph (3) reduced by such number of days as bears to the total number of days in that term less one day the same proportion as the part paid bears to that amount, and

(b)where, after the issue of a warrant, a part payment of the amount stated in it is made, the period of imprisonment shall be reduced by such number of days as bears to the total number of days in the term of imprisonment specified in the warrant less one day the same proportion as the part paid bears to the amount so stated.

(8) In calculating a reduction required under paragraph (7) any fraction of a day shall be left out of account; and rule 55(1), (2) and (3) of the Magistrates' Courts Rules 1981(1) applies (so far as is relevant) to a part payment as if the imprisonment concerned were imposed for want of sufficient distress to satisfy a sum adjudged to be paid by a magistrates' court

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