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'Freeman on the Land' and challenges to the legality of Council Tax

Information to correct false theories that allege that liability for Council Tax may not apply to all members of the public

‘Freeman on the Land’ and ‘Common Law Court’ theories try to argue that people are only bound by the contracts and laws they have ‘consented’ to, and that if they do not ‘consent’ to Council Tax then they are not liable to pay it.

Liability to pay Council Tax arises out of legislation, and alleged rights under common law or contract law are not relevant to the administration and collection of Council Tax.

In the UK, liability for Council Tax is determined by the Local Government Finance Act 1992. This statute, created by the democratically elected Parliament of the United Kingdom which has received the assent of the Crown and subsequent statutory regulations, sets out local authorities’ rights to demand Council Tax to fund services, and determines who is liable to pay. Some further legal information is below.

Your liability for Council Tax is not dependent on, and does not require, your consent or the existence of a contractual relationship with the council. Any assertion to the contrary is incorrect: there is no legal basis upon which to make this argument. This is confirmed by the High Court in the judgement in Kofa, R (On the Application Of) v Oldham MBC.

Where Council Tax is not paid without reasonable justification, the Council’s approach is to bring proceedings in the Magistrates Court, and to take all necessary enforcement actions including the use of Enforcement Agents where appropriate. In extreme cases this could lead to bankruptcy proceedings or even a prison sentence – in 2015, Manchester Magistrates Court sentenced a person who had argued that the 'freeman on the land' theory excused them from paying Council Tax to 40 days’ prison.

Please contact the Council if you have any concerns over your liability for Council Tax. Please note, however, that while we do our best to answer all relevant enquiries about Council Tax, we are required to use our resources responsibly in the interests of the public at large. We reserve the right to limit our response to lengthy or spurious enquiries.

If you remain concerned about your Council Tax liability, please seek independent legal advice or contact the Citizens Advice Bureau. The Council strongly advises anyone wishing to rely only on internet sources for challenging their Council Tax to exercise caution, given the risk of fraud and criminal sanctions for failure to pay.

Legislation and legal questions

The legislation that governs Council Tax is freely available from the government website See in particular:

The Council will not answer general questions about the application of the law and your legal rights – such as whether Acts and Statutes are an obligation on a resident, or and about the difference between a Statute and Law. You would need to direct questions such as this to a legal professional.

Council Tax in the Borough of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk

The Council sets Council Tax levels for each year at its meeting in February. You can find copies of the agenda papers and minutes for these meetings, and information on how Council Tax is calculated and spent, via the following links:

Frequently asked questions

The answers to some frequently asked questions are below:

Payment by Promissory Note

We do not accept payment by Promissory Note.

Valid forms of payment for council tax are stated on the reverse of bills issued and on our How to Pay pages. Promissory Notes will not be accepted and recovery action will continue if your council tax remains unpaid.

Using an archaic law does not mean that council tax payment is not due or you are not liable to pay. There are many misleading articles and templates on the internet regarding 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.

Provide an autographed lawful contract with you, with both of our autographs

Some residents consider council tax a contract requiring a legal contract and signatures indicating an agreement. Council tax is a creature of statute, and a contract is not required. Therefore, any reference to the following is irrelevant:

  • Companies Act
  • Contracts Act
  • Bills of Exchange Act
  • Other acts regarding companies or contracts

A variation of this question is:

Please provide evidence that I’ve agreed with you that you can lawfully collect an alleged debt from me.

Again, this is inconsequential, as contracts or agreements have not been exchanged. Neither is required for the levy and recovery of council tax.

Provide evidence that I am lawfully obliged to pay council tax

The hierarchy of who is the liable party is contained in the Local Government Finance Act 1992 c14 Part 1, Chapter 1, Sections 6 -9. Individual agreement of this is not necessary.

Provide evidence that you have the lawful and contractual authority to use the legal fictional name of “XXX” for the purposes of making money

Whether a name is legal or fictional is irrelevant for the purposes of council tax. Council tax is charged and is payable by whoever the liable party is, which is determined by reference to the Local Government Finance Act 1992 and Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992. Using a fictitious name at court or failing to give a legal name when requested by a Magistrate means the court can deal with the case in your absence.

Provide confirmation the debt exists lawfully

The issue of a council tax demand notice (the bill) creates the debt. A signature or agreement from a resident is not necessary for council tax. It is a tax, not a contract.

I’m a Freeman of the Land and am not liable

Being a Freeman of the Land does not mean people can choose which laws they adhere to and which to ignore.

Please provide evidence that I am a living being, that I am a man/woman, that the request for payment was sent to my legal fiction or I, a sovereign man/woman.

There is no requirement in the council tax legislation for the council to first ascertain or prove that the persons liable for council tax are living beings or are male or female.

Whether a person has a fictional name or otherwise is irrelevant and does not render the requirement to pay council tax unlawful or invalid.

If you consider we have your name wrong, then you should let us know and provide evidence of your correct name. Unless and until you do this, we are entitled to assume that we have the correct name.

Please state if you are a company or a corporation

The Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk is a local authority within the public sector and is not a company or a corporation.

Please provide proof that Pound Sterling is a legitimate currency. I am willing to pay my council tax and issue you with a Promissory Note and/or will agree to pay in a method other than Pound Sterling.

Pound Sterling is the official currency of the United Kingdom. This is the accepted currency by the United Kingdom government and is accepted by countries globally. It is not for us to prove that Pound Sterling is a legitimate currency.

The council tax legislation requires the payment of council tax once a demand is made. It is not an obligation to make a promise to pay; it is a requirement to make an actual payment. We are not obliged to, and will not, accept any type of payment other than Pound Sterling.

We do not accept Promissory Notes and require payment of your council tax by the methods and within the time limits identified on your council tax bill or recovery notice.

You must cease and desist requesting payment of council tax. I consider that by requesting that I pay council tax you are committing an offence under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.

The recovery of council tax is a requirement of the council tax legislation and is reasonable and necessary action which pursues a legitimate aim. We deny that any reasonable actions in pursuit of such aims amount to harassment for the purposes of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 or amounts to any form of harassment.

By continuing to request payment of council tax you agree to pay me £XX per day. If you do not reply to my request within XX days you agree to pay me £XX and/or the council agree to XX.

We do not consider that we have any obligation to make such payments or take such actions and that such payments and requests for actions are unreasonable. We do not agree to any terms and conditions proposed by any third party except where it agrees expressly and in writing. Nothing we, our agents, servants or contractors do or do not do should be taken as any form of agreement to such terms and conditions, except where we do so expressly and in writing.