Hartlepool Borough Council wins legal battle after man claimed £100,000 compensation in council tax row

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
A man who claimed he was being harassed by council bosses for not paying his council tax and wanted £100,000 compensation has been restricted from launching further legal action.

James Barker, of Sandringham Road, Hartlepool, was issued with a civil restraint order by Teesside County Court this week after a series of claims and court applications made by him against Hartlepool Borough Council and its employees were previously thrown out.

The council applied to the court for the order to prevent Mr Barker making further baseless claims and applications against it.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Judge Mark Gargan said the order was necessary to prevent Mr Barker from abusing the court in his persistence of the issue.

Hartlepool Civic Centre. Picture by FRANK REIDHartlepool Civic Centre. Picture by FRANK REID
Hartlepool Civic Centre. Picture by FRANK REID

The court heard there had been at least three times in recent months where Mr Baker had made county court claims or applications which were dismissed or struck out for being without merit.

They included a failed bid in January to impose sanctions against council solicitor Neil Wilson over alleged misconduct.

An application for an injunction to stop the council from contacting any member of Mr Barker’s household was also dismissed as being totally without merit.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Read More
Hartlepool apprentice wins top award in prestigious London ceremony

Judge Gargan said Mr Barker had been persistent and the court could not be “tied up” dealing with baseless claims and applications.

He said: “Further still, it seems to me there’s ample evidence here that the claimant is misusing or failing properly to understand the court proceedings and the nature of the decisions that are being made and cannot be trusted to make proper and appropriate applications.”

The judge limited the terms of the order to bringing civil claims against the council, its officers or employees for two years.

He said: “What’s needed is a period of cooling off”.

If Mr Barker wants to bring further litigation involving the local authority, he must first get permission from a judge and show a claim has merit.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A Hartlepool Borough Council spokesman said: “We are pleased that the judge has granted us this civil restraint order which will prevent Mr Barker from bringing further unsubstantiated claims which cost the Council a significant amount of time, resources and money to defend itself against.”

Mr Barker did not attend Tuesday’s hearing and was not represented in court.

The judge also awarded the council costs of £4,266.