Council Tax and freeman on the land

The freeman on the land movement and similar groups believe that they are bound only by statute laws they consent to.

Council Tax is not optional, is not dependent on, and does not need consent or the existence of a contractual relationship with the council. Any argument that says the opposite is incorrect and there is no legal basis upon which to make this argument.

The following references also have no legal basis:

  • a person not having consented to pay Council Tax
  • there not being a contractual relationship between the Council and the resident
  • ‘lawful rebellion’
  • Article 61 of the Magna Carta
  • the Coronation Oath Act 1688
  • the ‘People’s peace’
  • legal fictions, ‘straw men’ and ‘I, X of the family Y’
  • maritime or admiralty law
  • Uniform Commercial Code

We sometimes receive correspondence from people convinced that using an old law means they don’t have to pay Council Tax.

There are many misleading articles and templates on the internet about the legality of Council Tax. Anyone using these for advice should seek proper legal advice before using them as a defence against Council Tax liability based on contract, consent and common law.

Council Tax - the legal position

You do not have a choice whether you are liable for Council Tax. Being a ‘freeman’ does not exempt anyone from paying Council Tax.

The liability to pay Council Tax falls under the Local Government Finance Act 1992 and later regulations. This is a statute created by a democratically elected Parliament of the United Kingdom which has received the assent of the Crown.

 Liability to pay Council Tax is set by The Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992. This gives local authorities the right to demand Council Tax which is used to fund essential local services.

Freeman of the land arguments have been considered and ruled against by the courts.

Anyone who refuses to pay Council Tax will have recovery action taken against them which could lead to imprisonment.

People have been imprisoned for refusing to pay Council Tax on the basis that they are a ‘freeman on the land’.

If you have any concerns over the charging of Council Tax, please seek proper legal advice. Do not rely on internet sources or forum statements which may be incorrect or misleading.

Our approach

We do our best to answer all relevant enquiries about Council Tax. We reserve the right to refuse to respond to lengthy spurious enquiries that focus on hypothetical arguments that have no basis in law.

These communications place a strain on the council’s resources at the expense of other taxpayers. This includes letters and notices served on the council’s chief executive with the same misleading reasoning.

If we receive correspondence alleging that you are not liable for Council Tax because you are a freeman of the land, you are not contractually bound to pay Council Tax or any similar reasons which have no legal basis you can expect the following:

  1. You will receive a response from the revenues and benefits department. The revenues and benefits department issues Council Tax bills and handles the collection of Council Tax.
  2. If further correspondence is received from you the council’s legal department will review the correspondence and issue a response. No further responses will be issued to any correspondence which has no legal basis.
  3. If you send correspondence to any other department or officer within the council your correspondence will be sent to the correct department. You will not receive a response from the chief executive or any other officer despite requesting the same. These requests will be ignored. You will only receive a response from the right council department as explained above.

The Council Tax payer's legal rights

This does not affect your right to attend court. If Council Tax remains unpaid the council will seek a council tax liability order from the Magistrates Court.

This is a court order confirming your liability for council tax and the amount of debt outstanding. You will receive a summons confirming the date and time of the hearing by post. If you want to attend the hearing, you have the right to do so.

During the court hearing, the council will ask the Magistrates to issue a council tax liability order for any unpaid Council Tax. During that hearing you will have the opportunity to explain to the court why you have not paid the Council Tax you are liable to pay.

Help and information

Useful information about council tax liability is available online and over the phone.

Citizens Advice

Phone 0800 144 8848




Arun District Council – revenues and benefits

Phone: 01903 737752


National Debtline

Phone: 0808 808 4000


Financial Hardship

If you are struggling to pay your Council Tax, then you should contact us as soon as you can. We will work with you to find a suitable solution. You can contact us by:

Phone 01903 737752