If sent a court summons by one's local council, when is the summons considered served if it was sent by second class post?


I queried a council tax bill as directed to by the council, but got a (non-favourable) decision. On the same day I received the decision I also received a court summons, which I am able to avoid if I pay the 'outstanding' council tax plus the court costs. The summons was sent by second class post and is dated 26th April, today being the 28th. I thought summons had to be sent first class post, and I can't find any information on when a summons sent by second class post would be deemed served.


1 Answer 1


When is a summons considered served in England if it was sent by second class post?

Three business days after the date of posting.

See the 1999 Amendments to Rule 99 of the Magistrates’ Courts Rules 1981 which makes no mention of the class of postage, only the relevant timeframe:

(1) [...] a summons requiring a person to appear before a magistrates’ court may be served by—


  • (b) posting it to the person at an address where it is reasonably believed that the person will receive it...


(4) A summons served in accordance with paragraph (1) shall be deemed to have been received by the person—


  • (d) [...] three business days after it was posted [...] in accordance with paragraph (1)(b)...

[non-relevant details omitted]

Note that by picking a random council from Google, Oxford's Council Tax Debt Recovery Procedure which says:

The summons will normally be served by second class post.

It is entirely likely that this is the national norm, but all other local councils may be found via the dot.gov website, in case one would like to check specific policies for their own locality.

  • 1
    Would this mean that if I've paid the outstanding amount before the three business days (I paid it today), that the debt was settled before the summons was served? Apr 28, 2022 at 17:20
  • @Araucaria-Nothereanymore. This is probably a worthy question to post in its own right!
    – user35069
    Apr 28, 2022 at 21:02

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