FAFO time for Durham County Council

The Council Tax scam is running out of time and runway — accountability is coming

Being February, it is the season for love letters, so I spent all of today penning one to the Chief Executive of Durham County Council. This was in response to his wishing upon a star that just believing in a court order makes it real. I hand delivered my final installment — “notice of default” — of the estoppel process to the front desk of their main HQ just before 5pm. That means they cannot ever turn up in court and claim they have one, as they suddenly found the paperwork down the back of a filing cabinet. Legally, it doesn’t exist. There is no way back from this for them. Game over.

It is a simple thing: when the council claims to have a court order for council tax debt, are we entitled to ask for some kind of paperwork to prove it? Is there anyone one the hook in the justice system for the order being properly issued? Do we have any remedy if due process was not followed? Does due process matter, or are we peons who should pay up without asking for due process? These ought not to be stiff intellectual or moral challenges, but the correct answers have consistently eluded Durham County Council. That is because council tax is a scam at every stage when you forensically examine its legality.

As I can sense many of you are aroused and amorous already based on what I have said, and can barely hold yourselves back, so here is my lovely letter, sorry, legal notice of default under estoppel conditions.

Time-sensitive document
Estoppel conditions apply

2nd February 2024

To John Hewitt 
Chief Executive
Durham County Council

Notice to agent is notice to principal
Notice to principal is notice to agent
Failure to rebut is acquiescence
Notice of default

You are hereby given notice in reference to the matter of proof of claim of Liability Orders for Council Tax debt against Martin Geddes at the above address. This correspondence serves as a formal Notice of Default, pursuant to the previous notices served on 17th November 2023, and 11th January 2024 under estoppel.

I note your letter dated 29th January 2024, which I received on 1st February 2024. This letter does not constitute a common law notice, has no formal details (e.g. registration or DUNS number) of which corporate body it represents, and has not been securely delivered via recorded post to be on legal record.

I rebut in perpetuity your claim in your letter to have the authority to enforce any debt for Council Tax against me, on the basis that once again you have failed to provide written evidence of authority from a court, and proof of claim of a valid court order when challenged.

You have made a claim, and the onus is on you to prove it. Endlessly repeating that you believe you have authority, and that the order exists, is not the same as substantiating the claim. Claims made without supporting factual substance and moral accountability are void ab initio.

As Judge Harrison ruled, there is reasonable doubt over whether Council Tax Liability Orders constitute proper court orders, being only orders in name. He raises the same issue of due process under ECHR Article 6. I contend that the “debt” here is only as a label on a statement of account, as there is no sum adjudged; it is not a debt in a legal sense, as it does not appear on credit ratings, or on official records (like trustonline.co.uk), or records of County Court judgments.

Your constant refusal to provide paperwork on demand suggests that Durham County Council is well aware these Liability Orders do not constitute properly formed court orders for a lawful debt. This is because the process of their issue violates ECHR Article 6, as well as the Bill of Rights 1689 due to lack of separation of powers, among many other statutes, as I have previously outlined.

You have failed to rebut my assertions that ECHR Article 6 applies, which requires due process, as well as Tribunals and Courts Enforcement Act 2007, which demands written proof of authority to enforce a debt on request. I therefore take it that you acquiesce to the fact that you are bound by law to provide proof of claim to demonstrate that you are following due process, and provide paperwork when lawfully demanded.

What social media pundits think of the Bristow & Sutor case is immaterial. It is also wrong of you to imply that this commentary is my reference source; I am adhering to the principles of law, including statute and case law. That law is clear that due process and written evidence is required for debts to be enforceable. This is wholly absent in this case, yet you have stonewalled my every effort to seek due process and see proper paperwork, despite having made a prior conditional offer to pay based on due process. That it has taken the force of estoppel for you to engage at any level is telling.

I have good reason to believe bulk hearings are unconstitutional, as each justice of the peace is obligated to apply his mind to both the summons and judgment for each individual case, and that is absent. I also assert that the hearing at Peterlee Magistrates’ Court on 31st October 2023 was unlawful, for reasons I have provided in my notice dated 17th November 2023.

Without documentary evidence of someone being accountable in the court system for a genuine order in my name for the sum claimed, there is no valid court order. Durham County Council has had every possible opportunity to provide this evidence. Your final chance to evidence your dedication to due process and the rule of law is now exhausted under estoppel.

Proof of authority and/or claim of an order is an elementary part of due process. This prevents interlopers and fraudsters appearing to collect debts to which they have no right. Due process also prevents the unaccountable enforcement of debts that result from faulty legislation or corrupt courts, thus being a critical safeguard against tyranny and extortion under the colour of law. Your effort to smear a demand for due process as vexatious based on Internet tittle-tattle is reprehensible, in my opinion.

Furthermore, a verbal instruction is not an order; without any record by the court it is uttering for gain, an act that has been unlawful for centuries under both common law and later statute law. A previous Data Subject Access Request has shown no court record against me; Durham County Council is “deeming” its own cases based on its own authority, falsely acting as a court. These are extremely grave matters, as they are criminal in nature.

This failure to prove lawful authority to act constitutes a default under the terms previously outlined, and is also a criminal offence. As stipulated, the failure to comply within the given timeframe has resulted in the claim to your having a lawful authority to enforce these debts having lapsed, and any claim to have an order has become void.

Any further communications from Durham County Council with a view to false enforcement constitutes:

(a) Harassment under section 1.(1)(b) of the protection from Harassment Act 1997 (“PFH1997”), being in breach of section 1.(1A)(c)(i)and(ii), and should you not cease and desist your conduct will be causing fear, alarm, and distress which can result in a sentence of up to 10 year imprisonment if convicted under section 4, or up to 6 months under section 2, and or a fine, and

(b) Harassment of debtors under section 40(1) of the Administration of Justice Act 1970, and

(c) Fraud under section 7 of the Fraud Act 2006.

Judge Harrison ruled that attending a property is not trespass where the order is merely defective, but in this case your agents are acting in the full knowledge that their conduct is unlawful from the start, as there is no paperwork to offer, nor authority to act. You are notified that any agents — whether your own CDOS staff or representing a third party — knowingly sent without authority are engaged in aggravated trespass and will be held individually liable, both in civil and criminal terms, along with Durham County Council. You personally are on notice that you are liable for any loss or harm to me from any further unlawful debt enforcement.

If you believe this default notice has been issued in error, or if there are extenuating circumstances that need to be considered, please provide a detailed written explanation within 14 days from the date of this notice. Failure to rebut within 14 days will be deemed further acquiescence to my assertions regarding the unlawful nature of your Council Tax Liability Order debt enforcement, and the lack of authority to act.

Star Chambers and Courts of Revenue were abolished in England around the time of the Civil War, yet we appear to be suffering a recurrence with Council Tax debt enforcement. No local authority, corporation, or agency can ever be constituted so as to break the law, which includes the use of merciless and inequitable administrative tribunals acting extra-constitutionally.

Any individuals acting so as to break the law, or acting in full knowledge of various breaches having been pointed out to them, do so as ultra vires. This means they become personally liable and lose the umbrella protection of such organisations. This could mean private criminal prosecutions, which is a step I have been advised to consider.

This matter extends far beyond my own singular case, as it concerns systemic issues of lawfulness and legitimacy of public bodies. There is widespread disquiet among the public at how Council Tax is administered. Concern is focused on the lack of accountability and due process of Liability Order hearings at Magistrates’ Courts, as these operate outwith the Civil Procedure Rules in a constitutional grey area. This matter demands resolution in the public interest.

In the absence of a timely and substantive response, I will take necessary legal steps to enforce my rights and remedies under the law.

Without ill-will, vexation, or frivolity
By :martin: of the geddes family
pp Mr Martin Geddes

The ending is not meant for him, as I have another love interest. It is designed to locate this appeal as high priority in the in-tray of senior courts. Potentially the constitutionality of Magistrates’ Courts needs to be reexamined in the light of this scandal. There is a time and place to offer people the chance to turn around and redeem themselves. That passed a long time ago in this case. Now we need fully accountability for running fake courts to extort ordinary people out of their money and possessions through threats and unlawful force.

Ironically, their tyranny has ended with a “papers, please!” moment.

Martin Geddes paperwork

FAFO time!