A bit of background first. For those of us who are old enough to remember Mrs Thatcher (who was Prime Minister in the late 1980’s) will know that she had a bit of a problem with a Poll Tax which was levied on all adults to fund local authorities. This did not go down well and resulted in one of the biggest incidents of disorder in central London for many years. It was not officially a riot. The Metropolitan Police never admit that a riot has occurred because they will be financially liable, by the way.
Why withhold Council Tax? Because it is one of the few taxes which an individual is required to pay in person and is not deducted by his, or her, employer. It is a Poll Tax because it applies to everyone’s residence, even if they do not own it.
What will happen if you refuse to pay? If the outstanding sum is less that £750, not very much. After two or three months your local Council will withdraw the option of paying in instalments. After another two or three months they will threaten to take you to Magistrates Court to obtain a “liability order” which will add £90.00, (£50.00 for the issue of the summons, and £40.00 for the issue of the liability order) and give the Council the power to take money directly from your earnings, Income Support or Job Seekers Allowance. That will take at least a month.
More serious methods of obtaining the money, such as threatening bankruptcy, are not available to them if the outstanding sum is less that £750.
Let’s do the sums. I understand that the average Council Tax bill is £1200 over 10 months. That is £100 per month. A person could withhold payments from the 5th month into the financial year and then pay up at month 10 before any sanctions are applied except the £90 costs. If a few people do that, the tyranny will not be inconvenienced. If a million people do it will be.
For the more adventurous members of the resistance, there may be ways to starve the beast of tyranny of its taxes altogether. They are the Freeman concept, Chapter 61 of Magna Carta and duress of circumstances.
John Harris has explored the Freeman concept at length elsewhere and most readers of this publication will be aware of it.
Chapter 61 of Magna Carta covers the subject’s right to appeal to a committee of 25 Barons for redress against a tyrant. After several hundred thousand individuals sent postcards to The Queen in 1999 urging her not to agree to the Nice Treaty, 65 Peers selected a quorum of 25 of their number to form such a committee. They were satisfied that the conditions required to justify the use of the procedure specified in Ch. 61 of Magna Carta 1215 were established.
Four of their number served the petition on Her Majesty on 7th February 2001 insisting that she should:
- withhold the Royal Assent from any Parliamentary Bill which attempts to ratify the Treaty of Nice unless and until the people of the UK have given clear and specific approval;
- uphold and preserve the rights, freedoms and customs of your loyal subjects as set out in Magna Carta and the Declaration of Right, which you, our Sovereign, swore before the nation to uphold and preserve in your Coronation Oath of June 1953
These things she has conspicuously failed to do. The service of the Barons Petition was reported in the Daily Telegraph on the 7th February 2001. As a consequence of her failure to comply, all loyal subjects are required to “ together with the community of the whole realm, distrain and distress us in all possible ways, namely, by seizing our castles, lands, possessions, and in any other way they can, until redress has been obtained as they deem fit,...”.
Magna Carta was, of course, a peace treaty not a statute. Breaches of a treaty give the aggrieved party the right of redress. That means us, the people.
Seizing castles has always been a bit tricky. As noted above, holding back Council Tax is a lot easier and that is the meaning of the word “distraint”, the seizure and holding of property as security for payment of a debt or satisfaction of a claim.
The fact that “the whole community of The Realm” is expected to support the Barons Committee means that individual officials have no authority to issue tax demands in the name of The Queen and commit the statutory offence of “fraud by misrepresentation” if they try.
The Courts have no authority to deny the subjects rights either. Representatives of The Crown may not breach the common law maxim that “no man may sit in judgment of his own cause”.
It is for the Barons Committee to let us know when they are satisfied that redress has been obtained.
The Barons Committee procedure is based on the subject’s Common Law right to claim the protection of “duress of circumstances”. He, or she, may commit a minor crime to prevent a worse one happening. The only limitations on this defence are that it does not justify treason or murder and it does not protect the individual who voluntarily placed himself under duress or continues to commit minor offences when it is no longer necessary. Transferring allegiance is not treason because oaths of allegiance are sworn to the office, not its holder.
There we have it. All the lawful rebel has to do is say no to Council Tax for about five months. If you make sure not to spend the instalments on other things, and you are prepared to stump up the £90 costs, they can’t touch you for it.
At the time of publication, Chapter 61 and the defence of duress are before the Courts as a test case.
John's first appearance in court on this issue was on the 8th October, at Brecon Magistrates Court. John issued the following statement after the hearing:
So much for the events at Court. The significance of this case to us all is the reason why a local authority, or any other revenue gathering body, no longer has lawful authority to tax us. It is because The Crown, and all officials who act in the name of the Crown, have breached the contract with the people of these islands to rule us according to our laws and customs.
That contract was acknowledged in the peace treaties know as Magna Carta and the Declaration of Rights. The present Queen publicly swore to uphold those laws and customs at her Coronation in 1953. In 2009 she gave Royal Assent to the unlawful pretended statute which gave effect to the Lisbon treaty and allowed foreign potentates of the European Union to issue directives and regulations which her officials then impose as if they had the authority of Parliament.
From that moment the UK changed from a constitutional monarchy to a tyranny, and we were subjected to the abuse of the state’s coercive force in the absence of the rule of law.
This is not the first time this has happened in history and our ancestors successfully resisted using our common law right to the protection of duress of circumstances confirmed in Chapter 61 of Magna Carta.
The “Skeleton Argument” that is before the Court explains what is at stake:
i. The respondent resides in a rented cottage in Powys and the Claimant has presented him with a bill for Council Tax for £900 in the name of The Queen.
ii. The Respondent has made a conditional offer to pay if the claimant can produce evidence that the claim is made lawfully. In the absence of such evidence, he is asserting that breaches of treaty obligations between The Crown and the people and the activation of the procedure specified by Ch. 61 of Magna Carta 1215 and, alternatively, the Common Law defence of duress of circumstances justify his withholding of the payment.
iii. The first matter at issue is the authority of The Queen (and Her officials) to issue demands for taxes at a time when she is under the supervision of a Barons Committee lawfully constituted under Ch. 61 of Magna Carta 1215. If the demand was made in the name of a Corporation and not The Queen then the Respondent has no contract with them and therefore no liability.
iv. The second matter at issue, which the Respondent alternatively and independently relies on, is the Common Law right of the subject to invoke the defence of duress of circumstances because The Queen has breached her Common Law treaty obligations with the people that were confirmed in Magna Carta 1215 and the Declaration of Rights 1688 and as a consequence the Respondents life, liberties and property are threatened.
i. The respondent has been a legal researcher for the Magna Carta Society (the MCS) since 1998 and helped produce the research paper on the possibility of raising a Barons Committee in 1999.
ii. Michael Burke, also a member of the society, petitioned the Courts to uphold the Declaration and Bill of Rights in 1998 and 1999 without success. The Judgments were referred to in the research paper and were part of the material relied upon in its arguments.
iii. Members of the public were invited to send postcards to The Queen urging her not to give Royal Assent to any statute which purported to give effect to the Nice Treaty in the UK. Several hundred thousand did so.
iv. The Queen failed to respond to public petitioning and there was no evidence that the then Prime Minister intended to change his counsels.
v. Members of the society petitioned each member of the Houses of Lords and Commons not to give their support to any statute relating to the Nice Treaty.
vi. 65 Peers selected a quorum of 25 of their number to address the petitions from the MCS and members of the public. They were satisfied that the conditions required to justify the use of the procedure specified in Ch. 61 of Magna Carta 1215 were established. Four of their number served the petition on Her Majesty on 7th February 2001.
vii. No response was made to the Barons Petition within the specified 40 days or has been to date. The conditions for Lawful Rebellion came into effect.
viii. The then Government used a purported statute (the House of Lords Act 1999) and the Rules of Parliament to deny a majority of the Hereditary Peers access to the House which prevented them exercising their Common Law right to be consulted about and vote on statutes. Officials took possession of their Letters Patent. They were replaced by hereditary Peers, many in dubious circumstances (the cash for Peerages scandal).
ix. The Queen gave Royal Assent to a purported statute giving effect to the Nice Treaty on 26/2/2002.
x. The Queen gave Royal Assent to a purported statute giving effect to the Lisbon Treaty on 19/06/2008. Direct rule from the European Union commenced in late 2009.
xi. Displaced hereditary Peers challenged the validity of the House of Lords Act and obtained an admission that it was invalid from a Government Minister, Baroness Ashton, on 20th September 2008. To date, no remedial action has been taken. This is described in the submission listed at Para 4. i. Above.
1. The Respondents Submissions Opposing a Liability Order.
i. I am a British subject of good character and have twice sworn the Oath of Allegiance, as a soldier and as a police officer. Both of those oaths require allegiance to the law, not an office holder, and require the individual concerned to make judgments about the lawfulness of his, or her, actions. So does the Judicial Oath.
ii. Regarding Ch. 61 of Magna Carta, I submit that a Baron’s Committee was lawfully raised, that their Petition was served on The Queen on 7th February 2001 and that the provisions of Ch. 61 of Magna Carta 1215 apply until the Committee or a duly constituted Constitutional Convention decides otherwise. I have sworn allegiance to that Committee. In these circumstances I submit that Powys Council has no authority to issue a tax demand to me.
iii. Regarding the defence of “duress of circumstances”, I have an honestly held belief that my life, liberty and property are at risk because laws that are repugnant to the Common Law are being applied within the UK. I did not place myself voluntarily in this position. Refusing to pay taxes to The Queen, who, together with certain evil counsellors, is responsible for this situation and is in breach of the Common Law and her Coronation Oath is an act of self defence on my part. Any refusal by Crown Officials to acknowledge the restraints that they are subject to will be further evidence that my beliefs are well founded.
iv. The Judicial Studies Board document referred to at Para. 3. iv. above confirms that it is for The Crown to prove beyond reasonable doubt the defence of duress does not apply.
2. Remedies Sought by the Respondent.
i. For the reasons given above I respectfully submit that no properly directed Court has authority to try me for refusing to pay Council Tax. If the Brecon Magistrates are unable to make a ruling on this I claim my right to have the issues that I have raised put before a lawfully constituted (complete with all hereditary Peers and without post 1999 Life Peers) House of Lords in order for a case to be stated. That is because the defects in the House of Lords Act 1999 noted above call into doubt the validity of the new “Supreme Court”.
ii. If the Brecon Magistrates are unable to do that I ask for these matters to be put before the Supreme Court for a case to be stated. I reserve the right to challenge the validity of that Court for the reasons given.
John's next court appearance is on the 5th November at Llandrindod Wells Magistrates Court. Everyone is encouraged to attend.