PS11 Disclosure in council tax appeals
The following directions only apply to appeals where notices of hearing are issued after 1 April 2017. Notices and directions issued prior to this date will remain in force.
These directions are formal orders and must be complied with. They are intended to help the parties and the Tribunal deal with appeals fairly, swiftly and economically.
Standard Directions: Council Tax Liability and Valuation Appeals
These Directions should be read in conjunction the explanatory guidance.
A. For the Appellant (the council tax payer), the Tribunal directs that:
- Any further information you wish the Tribunal to consider because of the material supplied by the respondent (see B1 below), must be sent to the respondent at least four weeks before the hearing. This may include case law or references to the legislation and you must set out what change you are seeking in your appeal and the date(s) it would apply to.
- Anything you send to them after the four-week deadline will not be considered by the Tribunal unless you can demonstrate exceptional reasons why the evidence was not available at the time.1
- Unless your case is postponed or settled by agreement or withdrawal, it is expected that you (or your representative) will attend the hearing to present your case. You may request that the hearing proceeds without you being there by contacting the Tribunal at least 24 hours before the hearing day.
- If you or your representative do not attend the hearing and have not requested the case to be heard in your absence at least 24 hours before the hearing, your appeal may be struck out. “Struck out” means that your case will not be considered and will be unsuccessful.
B. For the Respondent (billing authority or listing officer), the Tribunal directs that:
- At least six weeks before the hearing date, you must provide the appellant with your full case in response to the appeal, including arguments, evidence, legislation, case law and documents (including those covered by regulation 17) that you wish to rely on at the hearing. This will constitute your full case, and the Tribunal will not consider anything submitted after that date unless you can demonstrate exceptional reasons as to why the evidence was not available at the time, or it forms part of your rebuttal at paragraph 3 below. You do not need to serve evidence again that you submitted in your decision notice, but must make it clear to the appellant which evidence, information and/or argument you intend to rely on as part of your case.
- If you fail to provide the above by the six-week deadline you will be prevented from submitting further evidence or a rebuttal (in accordance with paragraph 3) unless you can demonstrate exceptional reasons as to why the full case was not served by the due date.2
- At least two weeks before the hearing you must submit electronically to the Tribunal and by either email or post to the appellant, a bundle of documents including any documents provided to you by the appellant (see A1 above), your case as submitted to the appellant under this Direction and, provided you complied with the Direction, any rebuttal statement you may wish to make in light of the appellant’s case. If you failed to provide your full case in accordance with paragraph 1 above and the evidence is excluded, you will only be able to include in the bundle any documents provided by the appellant and the evidence provided within your decision notice.
- At the hearing, you must bring sufficient hard copies of the bundle for each panel member. Alternatively, you may request that the hearing proceed in your absence, in which case you must send two hard copies of the bundle and your request to the Tribunal at least one week before the hearing. They should be sent to the Tribunal office at the address specified in the notice of hearing. A failure to comply with this part of the Directions may result in you being barred from taking further part in proceedings.
- Material must be provided no later than 5pm on the day of the deadline.3
- A party may apply for any of the requirements in these Directions to be varied.4
- These Directions do not apply to council tax reduction appeals (appeals against council decisions on council tax reduction or support) for which separate Directions are set out.
Guidance to the Standard Directions for Council Tax Liability and Valuation Appeals
- The Directions require each party involved in the appeal to disclose their full case to the other party before the hearing. This is so that delays are avoided and to encourage parties to resolve their differences without the need for a hearing.
- There is no need for the appellant to send any documentation to the Tribunal. The respondent (the billing authority/council or the VOA listing officer) is required to produce the hearing bundle for the Tribunal and parties prior to the hearing and this will include the appellant’s as well as the respondent’s documents.
- The Tribunal will NOT accept extra information from either party that was not included in the hearing bundle unless there is exceptional reason to do so. An example of an ”exceptional reason” is where the evidence and/or argument was not reasonably available to the party at the time they sent their case to the other party.
- These Directions do not apply to council tax reduction appeals (decisions of the council on council tax reduction or support); different Directions apply to those appeals and can be found at www.valuationtribunal.gov.uk.
Advice for the Appellant (the council tax payer)
- At least six weeks before the hearing date you will receive the respondent’s full case. This will include their arguments, evidence, legislation, case law and documents that they will refer to at the hearing. If you do not hear from them, your appeal will be decided on the basis of what you said in and included with your appeal form and the respondent’s decision to you (if you received one).
- Any evidence and argument that was not included in your appeal form and any response to the respondent’s case that you wish the Tribunal to consider must be sent to the respondent at least four weeks before the hearing. Please do not send your case to the Tribunal direct.
- If you require more time to prepare your case you must write to the Tribunal before the four-week deadline to seek permission for a delay and let the respondent know that you have done this.
- You must have made it clear in your appeal or in the document you send to the respondent what it is you are seeking from the Tribunal (the change you want) and the date(s) any change would apply to.
- Anything sent after the deadline will not be considered by the Tribunal unless there are exceptional reasons.5 The respondent will provide the Tribunal with your case together with their case in one bundle at least two weeks before the hearing. They will also send you a copy, either by post or by email, whichever you have told them you prefer. You (or your representative) must attend the hearing to present your case. The other option is for the hearing to go ahead without you being there. This means your case will be decided on the papers provided; the respondent will still be present. It is better if you attend because then the Tribunal’s panel will be able to ask you questions to make sure they understand your case. However, if you would prefer not to attend you must ask the Tribunal at least 24 hours before the hearing day.
- If you (or your representative) do not attend the hearing and have not asked for the case be heard without you being there, your appeal may be struck out; that means you will no longer have an appeal with the Tribunal.
Advice for the Respondent (billing authority or listing officer)
- You must provide the appellant with your full case in response to their appeal, including your arguments, evidence, legislation, case law and documents (including those covered by regulation 17) that you wish to rely on at the hearing at least six weeks before the hearing date. This will be your full case, and the Tribunal will not consider anything else submitted unless it forms part of your rebuttal or it is allowed by the Tribunal as exceptional.
- If you fail to provide this by the deadline, all your evidence will be excluded6 apart from any evidence included in the decision notice you provided to the appellant prior to the appeal. If you require further time to prepare your case you must seek permission in writing from the Tribunal in advance of the deadline and advise the appellant.
- At least two weeks before the hearing you must send the Tribunal the hearing bundle of documents, by email. This must include all your documents and those provided by the appellant. A copy must be sent to the appellant either electronically or in the post. You should agree the method of service on the appellant with them. If you wish to comment on the appellant’s subsequent case (not the appeal form) you may also include a rebuttal statement setting out those areas that you dispute and your reasons for doing so provided you submitted your full case to the appellant. You cannot include a rebuttal if the appellant does not provide additional written documents in accordance with the Direction.
- The Tribunal has restrictions on the amount of data that can be sent with an email. Please check with the Tribunal’s administration the arrangements for lodging the hearing bundle.
- At the hearing you must bring sufficient hard copies of the bundle for each panel member. This will usually be two copies but check with the Tribunal’s administration before the hearing.
- Alternatively, you may request that the hearing proceed in your absence, in which case you must send two hard copies of the bundle and your request to the clerk at the Tribunal at least one week before the hearing. If you do not attend the hearing the Tribunal’s panel will not be able to ask questions or seek clarification on any points. This might put you at a disadvantage.
- If you do not attend the hearing and have not requested that the matter is heard in your absence you may be barred from taking further part in proceedings.
Notes: The Valuation Tribunal for England (Council Tax & Rating Appeals)(Procedure) Regulations 2009: