Very occasionally we get people who are convinced that using an archaic law, such as the Magna Carta, or being a ‘freeman on the land’ means they don’t have to pay Council Tax and there are many misleading articles and templates on the internet regarding the legality of Council Tax.

The Freeman on the Land movement and similar groups commonly believe that people are only bound by the contracts and laws they have consented to.

Contract law and alleged rights under common law are not the same as legislation.

The Local Government Finance Act 1992 was created by a democratically elected parliament and received the assent of the crown; together with subsequent statutory regulations it gives the council the lawful powers, duties and obligations to demand council tax to fund services.

You do not have a choice whether you are liable to pay Council Tax. This is because the Local Government Finance Act 1992 determines who is liable to pay; being a ‘freeman on the land’ does not exempt anyone from paying Council Tax. 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. There is no legal basis upon which to make a contrary argument.

Anyone who withholds payment will have recovery action taken against them. In extreme cases this action could be committal.

Freeman on the land defences have not been successful in court, in the Manchester Magistrates’ court vs McKenzie (2015) case, where an individual who attempted to use similar ‘freeman on the land’ defences in court was sent to prison for 40 days. 

Council Tax is set out in statutory law and any questions about that should be directed to a legal professional. Please do not rely on internet sources, form letters or forum statements that may be incorrect or misleading; you should seek some independent professional advice.

Council Tax is important to ensure services to all our residents. Find advice if you are struggling to pay or, if you think that you should not have to pay, please email us at

While 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 statute which use our resources at the expense of other taxpayers.


The legislation that covers council tax is freely available from GOV.UK, including: