Recovering council tax in court

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Richard Thrippleton

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Nov 3, 2009, 9:30:24 PM11/3/09
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Posting this on behalf of an (anonymous, for good reason) acquaintance,
and needing advice about dealing with Cambridge City Council.

My acquaintance has for some time now been pursued by the the City
Council for payment of council tax, and is now getting to the stage where
they are threatening to take him to court. Though he is (should be)
exempt from council tax, he's wondering if it would be less hassle to pay
up under protest, and then later recover the money from the council by
taking them to court; can this work?

The background is that he's a graduate student (at cam.ac.uk), but the
council have amended the rules such that graduate students must now pay
the usual rate of council tax rather than being exempt as undergraduates
are. I was under the impression that only central government had the
power to regulate council tax in this way, but apparently this has
changed?

Advice gratefully received. Regards,
Richard

Paul Gotch

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Nov 3, 2009, 10:25:04 PM11/3/09
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Richard Thrippleton <r...@ret.me.uk> wrote:
> The background is that he's a graduate student (at cam.ac.uk), but the
> council have amended the rules such that graduate students must now pay
> the usual rate of council tax rather than being exempt as undergraduates
> are. I was under the impression that only central government had the
> power to regulate council tax in this way, but apparently this has
> changed?

Persons in full time education are exempt. However the household is
only exempt if it is entirely filled with persons in fulltime education
and they have registered as such with the council as such. It's also
exempt if its a hall of residence. In Cambridge a College or some
types of College owned accomodation.

The problem is writing up. The council contend that a PHD ends at the
end of easter term of the third year then the student becomes liable,
the university dispute this.

http://www.gradunion.cam.ac.uk/info/counciltax.html#problems

> Advice gratefully received. Regards,

In the first instance he should ask his College for advice.

-p
--
"Unix is user friendly, it's just picky about who its friends are."
- Anonymous
--------------------------------------------------------------------

Lotty Gladstone

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Nov 4, 2009, 2:19:28 AM11/4/09
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The issue of writing-up students and council tax payment has been
ongoing between the university and the city council for a while. My
understanding is that the city council are happy for fourth years to
be exempt and are working on a way forward for this (it's not that
straightforward because everyone submits at different times, for
example, and some funding bodies fund for 3 years, the research
councils for 3.5 these days, and others, such as the Wellcome Trust,
for 4). The subject was brought up by local councillors at the last
Full council meeting at the end of October - you can find the minutes
on the city council website. For the latest situation, tell your
friend to contact Sarah Pickard at BOGS - she has been advising
students in our department about it.

Lotty.
P.S. This info is a few weeks old and things might've moved on since
then.

rosen...@cix.compulink.co.uk

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Nov 4, 2009, 4:18:01 AM11/4/09
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In article <4af0e740$0$2526$da0f...@news.zen.co.uk>, r...@ret.me.uk
(Richard Thrippleton) wrote:

This problem has been the subject of City Council press releases recently
with agreement between the Council and the University announced.

--
Colin Rosenstiel


Embargo: Immediate
October 24, 2009

graduate students reassured by council position on council tax eligibility


� Cambridge City Council has reassured 4th year Ph.D. students in
the city that they will continue to be treated as full-time students for
the purposes of Council Tax. This means that they will continue to
receive either a discount or exemption from the Council Tax

� In addition, the council has emphasised that it will continue to
look at students whose period of study exceeds the four years due to
exceptional circumstances (such as illness)

� The council's initial position arose as a result of some
uncertainties, which had recently arisen, regarding the eligibility of 4th
year graduate students.

� Council officers entered into discussions with the University of
Cambridge and the Colleges earlier in the year to try to agree a common
understanding of the criteria in relation to these students, which were
initially unsuccessful. Agreement has now been reached with the
University on the eligibility of such students.

� The council now intends to contact students explaining the position

Coun Rod Cantrill, Executive City Councillor for Customer Services and
Resources, commented:

"The City Council has a legal obligation and a duty to the tax paying
residents of Cambridge to ensure that only people who are eligible are
exempted from council tax.

The council also recognises that Cambridge is a leading centre of learning
and the importance of this to the local economy

I know that the issue has caused undue concern and stress for students. I
welcome the council's prompt action to clarify the position. I hope that
this step will have the support of the universities and colleges in the
city"



ENDS

Duncan Wood

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Nov 4, 2009, 4:33:13 AM11/4/09
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On Wed, 04 Nov 2009 09:18:01 -0000, <rosen...@cix.compulink.co.uk> wrote:

> In article <4af0e740$0$2526$da0f...@news.zen.co.uk>, r...@ret.me.uk
> (Richard Thrippleton) wrote:
>
>> Posting this on behalf of an (anonymous, for good reason)
>> acquaintance, and needing advice about dealing with Cambridge City
>> Council.
>>
>> My acquaintance has for some time now been pursued by the the City
>> Council for payment of council tax, and is now getting to the stage
>> where they are threatening to take him to court. Though he is
>> (should be) exempt from council tax, he's wondering if it would be
>> less hassle to pay up under protest, and then later recover the
>> money from the council by taking them to court; can this work?
>>
>> The background is that he's a graduate student (at cam.ac.uk), but
>> the council have amended the rules such that graduate students must
>> now pay the usual rate of council tax rather than being exempt as
>> undergraduates are. I was under the impression that only central
>> government had the power to regulate council tax in this way, but
>> apparently this has changed?
>>
>> Advice gratefully received. Regards,
>> Richard
>
> This problem has been the subject of City Council press releases recently
> with agreement between the Council and the University announced.
>

Presumably if they're deemed not to be eligible for council tax relief
they become eligible for housing benefit?

--
Duncan Wood

Espen Koht

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Nov 4, 2009, 5:18:40 AM11/4/09
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In article
<b3b5ac91-9279-478f...@k4g2000yqb.googlegroups.com>,
Lotty Gladstone <yo...@bpi.cam.ac.uk> wrote:

> The issue of writing-up students and council tax payment has been
> ongoing between the university and the city council for a while. My
> understanding is that the city council are happy for fourth years to
> be exempt and are working on a way forward for this (it's not that
> straightforward because everyone submits at different times, for
> example, and some funding bodies fund for 3 years, the research
> councils for 3.5 these days, and others, such as the Wellcome Trust,
> for 4).


"You are a full time student if you are:
- attending a university or college course which
lasts for at least an academic year, takes at least
24 weeks a year and involves at least 21 hours of
study per week during term-time;"

What's the sticking point?

Richard Thrippleton

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Nov 4, 2009, 6:15:25 AM11/4/09
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On Wed, 04 Nov 2009 03:18:01 -0600, rosenstiel wrote:
>
> This problem has been the subject of City Council press releases
> recently with agreement between the Council and the University
> announced.

> Cambridge City Council has reassured 4th year Ph.D. students in

> the city that they will continue to be treated as full-time students
> for the purposes of Council Tax. This means that they will continue to
> receive either a discount or exemption from the Council Tax

So just to clarify, is it the position of the Council that anybody
overrunning to a 5th year is not a full-time student, despite still being
enrolled in and working in a full-time course of study, and being
authorised by the University to do so? (yes, this is the case my friend
is in)

For what it's worth, he has made the Council aware of all these facts,
but despite this he has been told that he still owes the money, and they
are sending him final demands. Would it be easier to just pay up and
recover the money via the courts later?

Regards,
Richard

Richard Thrippleton

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Nov 4, 2009, 6:20:01 AM11/4/09
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On Tue, 03 Nov 2009 23:19:28 -0800, Lotty Gladstone wrote:

> For the latest situation, tell your friend to contact
> Sarah Pickard at BOGS - she has been advising students in our department
> about it.

Thanks for the information, I'll pass it on :-). He and others have also
been in touch with MP David Howarth, as it's a concern for national
government that a local authority is essentially making up taxes that
they have not been authorised to.

Regards,
Richard


Rupert Moss-Eccardt

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Nov 4, 2009, 6:34:13 AM11/4/09
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I'm not able to speak about the University of Cambridge, but am aware
that, for ARU students, the Council simply asks ARU - is this person a
student? If ARU says 'yes' then hurrah. If they say 'no' then the
Council charges Council Tax. It matters not what the person says.

So, it might be worthwhile for your friend to ask the Old Schools what
they have told the City Council.


Lotty Gladstone

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Nov 4, 2009, 6:50:41 AM11/4/09
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> What's the sticking point?

I think there were two issues. First, the question of whether a fourth
year student is 'actively engaged in research' (rather than writing
up). Second, whether a fourth year student satsifies the 'requirement
to attend' [their department, presumably] for > 21 hours per week, >
24 weeks of the year. My opinion is that it's probably poor
communication regarding the requirements and timing of a PhD that's
led to this.

Another classic example of this kind of muddle up concerns visa
applications: US student attends a one year masters course, and
submits a cracking project at the end (in August), has a viva, and
passes. Student applies for a new visa so she can take some research
employment. Student has to supply home office with degree certificate
to prove that she has completed the masters. University only issues
these at the ceremony in Feb when all the students on the course
attend together. She gets a letter from BOGS stating that she is
eligible to attend the ceremony, which in university speak means you
have passed, because you can't attend the ceremony to collect
certificate without this. Home Office chucks application in bin
because the letter is meaningless to them. Long drawn out discussions
with BOGS continue .... Student knows of dozens of others in her
situation. Aarrrgggh.

Lotty.

Richard Thrippleton

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Nov 4, 2009, 6:55:51 AM11/4/09
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On Wed, 04 Nov 2009 11:34:13 +0000, Rupert Moss-Eccardt wrote:

>
> I'm not able to speak about the University of Cambridge, but am aware
> that, for ARU students, the Council simply asks ARU - is this person a
> student? If ARU says 'yes' then hurrah. If they say 'no' then the
> Council charges Council Tax. It matters not what the person says.
>
> So, it might be worthwhile for your friend to ask the Old Schools what
> they have told the City Council.

He's obtained letters from his department and college saying "This person
is a full time student" and sent them to the Council himself. Despite
this, they claim that he must owe tax as he's gone beyond some arbitrary
date at which they think the course of study ought to stop (despite the
letters contradicting this). What exactly is the Council's definition of
a "student", and how does it differ to a University's definition of a
"student"?

Regards,
Richard

Lotty Gladstone

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Nov 4, 2009, 7:04:13 AM11/4/09
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> So just to clarify, is it the position of the Council that anybody
> overrunning to a 5th year is not a full-time student, despite still being
> enrolled in and working in a full-time course of study, and being
> authorised by the University to do so? (yes, this is the case my friend
> is in)

Your friend is not be a regular fourth year writing up, so the recent
agreement between the city council and the university may not apply so
clearly.

I have emailed you directly the advice from BOGS to students in the
Earth Sciences department, including a shopping list of certificates
and letters required.

Your friend should double check that he/she has all this
documentation, and then visit BOGS or Old Schools directly.

Lotty.

Fifth year students can be tricky: we had one recently who was
enrolled and authorised (like your friend) but took some part-time
work because his funding had run out.

Espen Koht

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Nov 4, 2009, 7:43:40 AM11/4/09
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In article
<8074ed80-bc4f-46af...@s31g2000yqs.googlegroups.com>,
Lotty Gladstone <yo...@bpi.cam.ac.uk> wrote:

>
> > What's the sticking point?
>
> I think there were two issues. First, the question of whether a fourth
> year student is 'actively engaged in research' (rather than writing
> up).

I see no mention of 'actively engaged in research' in the guidelines, so
it this a real issue or something invented locally?

> Second, whether a fourth year student satsifies the 'requirement
> to attend' [their department, presumably] for > 21 hours per week, >
> 24 weeks of the year.

There is no 'requirement to attend' that I can see in the guidelines
either. There is a requirement of "at least 21 hours of study per week"
and the University's expectation when allowing people to write up would
certainly involve more than that.

Lotty Gladstone

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Nov 4, 2009, 8:08:22 AM11/4/09
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On 4 Nov, 12:43, Espen Koht <eh...@cam.ac.uk> wrote:
> I see no mention of 'actively engaged in research' in the guidelines, so
> it this a real issue or something invented locally?
>
> There is no 'requirement to attend' that I can see in the guidelines
> either. There is a requirement of "at least 21 hours of study per week"
> and the University's expectation when allowing people to write up would
> certainly involve more than that.

I put these two phrases within quotation marks because they are
phrases that have been flying around in emails between BOGS &
departments and BOGS & the gradunion, which I got copied in on. I
don't know what their origin is. My guess is that the part of the
council collecting the tax questioned whether writing up was part of a
degree which is full-time research, and questioned whether fourth year
students who might hunker down in their flat to write up with
occasional visits to their department to see their supervisor, attend
seminars, etc, complied with the 21 hours study part. A
misunderstanding probably.

Lotty.

Rupert Moss-Eccardt

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Nov 4, 2009, 8:10:24 AM11/4/09
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Perhaps you should ask the Old Schools. As I said it might be a good
idea to check whether the Council has checked with the Old Schools and
what they said.

Roland Perry

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Nov 4, 2009, 8:45:17 AM11/4/09
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In message <ehk20-1CCF3A....@nntp-serv.cam.ac.uk>, at
10:18:40 on Wed, 4 Nov 2009, Espen Koht <eh...@cam.ac.uk> remarked:

>involves at least 21 hours of
>study per week during term-time;"
>
>What's the sticking point?

Whether or not writing a thesis at home qualifies as "studying".

This isn't just a Cambridge thing, students and councils all over the
country are in dispute. Part of the problem being that universities seem
reluctant to say that student is still "studying" when they have in
effect left the university and are writing up at their own pace.
--
Roland Perry

Roland Perry

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Nov 4, 2009, 8:46:37 AM11/4/09
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In message <4af1624d$0$2478$db0f...@news.zen.co.uk>, at 11:15:25 on
Wed, 4 Nov 2009, Richard Thrippleton <r...@ret.me.uk> remarked:

>So just to clarify, is it the position of the Council that anybody
>overrunning to a 5th year is not a full-time student, despite still being
>enrolled in and working in a full-time course of study, and being
>authorised by the University to do so? (yes, this is the case my friend
>is in)

5th year. Hmm. Well into the grey area I would expect :(
--
Roland Perry

Andrew May

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Nov 4, 2009, 8:55:50 AM11/4/09
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Espen Koht wrote:

> There is no 'requirement to attend' that I can see in the guidelines
> either. There is a requirement of "at least 21 hours of study per week"
> and the University's expectation when allowing people to write up would
> certainly involve more than that.

Is there any exemption to the exemption for students who are writing up
while doing a full-time job? I've worked with several people who had
finished their PhD research but were still writing up (quite possibly 21
hours per week) but were otherwise in well-paid full-time jobs.

Andrew

Al Grant

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Nov 4, 2009, 9:28:43 AM11/4/09
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On 4 Nov, 13:45, Roland Perry <rol...@perry.co.uk> wrote:
> Part of the problem being that universities seem
> reluctant to say that student is still "studying" when they have in
> effect left the university and are writing up at their own pace.

It's not that uncommon for people to write up when in full
time employment, especially if they've had to resubmit.

The point at issue is: are you doing something educational
that makes you unable to take a job so that you can pay for
the council services that your neighbours are paying for.
Since writing up is demonstrably not incompatible with taking
a full-time job, writing up shouldn't count.

Lotty Gladstone

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Nov 4, 2009, 9:37:36 AM11/4/09
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> Since writing up is demonstrably not incompatible with taking
> a full-time job, writing up shouldn't count.

Depends on the job. It's usually a requirement to submit your PhD
thesis before taking up a postdoctoral position (definitely if the
post is funded by one of the research councils). If you're set on an
academic career, this will be your first job.

The bigger issue for me is whether PhD students should be exempt when
the current stipend is between £13.5K and £18K depending on the
funding body, tax-free, and excluding additional money earned through
teaching. This I guess comes back to the point that a proportion of
students are employed while writing up. Note that the key reason that
the funding is more often than not for 3.5 years (rather than 3) these
days is to encourage students to focus on writing up and get the darn
thing finished, instead of taking employment to cover their living
costs and dragging it out for years.

Lotty.

Roland Perry

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Nov 4, 2009, 9:41:33 AM11/4/09
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In message
<ebd21a92-d6c2-4a78...@w19g2000yqk.googlegroups.com>, at
06:28:43 on Wed, 4 Nov 2009, Al Grant <alg...@myrealbox.com> remarked:

Looking at the underlying public policy issue here, I would probably
agree that in the 5th and subsequent years the person's status/benefits
should change to whatever is consistent with being "unemployed", and
that the ongoing writing-up should not be used as an excuse for being
unavailable for work.

Of course, there's no compulsion to apply for any of these benefits, and
the person is quite entitled to assume the status of "not actively
seeking work".
--
Roland Perry

Martin

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Nov 4, 2009, 9:44:25 AM11/4/09
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On Wed, 4 Nov 2009, Richard Thrippleton wrote:

> Thanks for the information, I'll pass it on :-). He and others have also
> been in touch with MP David Howarth, as it's a concern for national
> government that a local authority is essentially making up taxes that
> they have not been authorised to.

Cambridge resident Richard Taylor made a blog posting on this subject:

http://www.rtaylor.co.uk/students-harrassed-council-tax.html

which, together with the subsequent comments, might be of interest.


Martin

Theo Markettos

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Nov 4, 2009, 10:17:38 AM11/4/09
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Al Grant <alg...@myrealbox.com> wrote:
> The point at issue is: are you doing something educational
> that makes you unable to take a job so that you can pay for
> the council services that your neighbours are paying for.
> Since writing up is demonstrably not incompatible with taking
> a full-time job, writing up shouldn't count.

That really depends on the nature of 'writing up'. For some, it's a very
simple exercise: stick together the papers you previously wrote, job done.
For others (especially in the arts and humanities), writing is all you ever
do so it starts from the first day you arrive until the day you submit.

Some people take jobs for financial reasons, but that usually means their
PhD takes much longer than the times stipulated. It's also extremely
mentally and physically demanding (work 8/9/10 hours, commute home, work
4/5/6/7 hours on thesis). Now some can cope with this, just as some can do
two jobs at once, but it's not acceptable to impose that on everyone. Plus,
for many, writing up requires access to facilities (libraries, labs, people,
equipment) physically located at the university. Such resources tend not to
be available at midnight when you're having to work, even assuming your job
is located sufficiently near the university.

Theo

Espen H. Koht

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Nov 4, 2009, 12:19:50 PM11/4/09
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In article <7ldff6F...@mid.individual.net>,
Andrew May <andrew...@hotmail.com> wrote:

I would assume these people would have gone off the Register of Graduate
Students and would therefore not get any certificates from the Board for
Graduate Students, Department or College to suggest they are in
full-time study and are probably not at issue here.


The students in question are the ones who would be applying for a
deferment of submission which requires endorsement from the supervisor
and approval by the Degree Committee. As these are under pressure to
ensure you complete your thesis in reasonable time, they are unlikely to
endorse a deferral which isn't realistic, and ask you to go off register
instead.

Espen H. Koht

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Nov 4, 2009, 12:23:29 PM11/4/09
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In article <m6N5Hygt...@perry.co.uk>,
Roland Perry <rol...@perry.co.uk> wrote:

The students in question have neither left the University nor are they
writing at their own pace as they will be still working to a deadline.
If they go off the register, that's a different matter, but the
University wouldn't supply you with paperwork suggesting you are still a
student after you do, so it isn't particularly relevant.

Roland Perry

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Nov 4, 2009, 12:40:07 PM11/4/09
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In message <ehk20-F22DBF....@nntp-serv.cam.ac.uk>, at
17:23:29 on Wed, 4 Nov 2009, Espen H. Koht <eh...@cam.ac.uk> remarked:

>> >involves at least 21 hours of
>> >study per week during term-time;"
>> >
>> >What's the sticking point?
>>
>> Whether or not writing a thesis at home qualifies as "studying".
>>
>> This isn't just a Cambridge thing, students and councils all over the
>> country are in dispute. Part of the problem being that universities seem
>> reluctant to say that student is still "studying" when they have in
>> effect left the university and are writing up at their own pace.
>
>The students in question have neither left the University

That seems to be a definition somewhat in dispute in the cases I've read
about (not Cambridge ones, though). The universities saying "well if
they are sulking at home still writing up, we don't regard then as
registered with us as students any more".

>nor are they writing at their own pace

5yrs and counting seems a bit like *their* pace.

>as they will be still working to a deadline.

Deadlines aren't as important as the degree to which they are still
fulltime students. Whatever that means at this stage in their life.

>If they go off the register, that's a different matter, but the
>University wouldn't supply you with paperwork suggesting you are still a
>student after you do, so it isn't particularly relevant.

It is relevant when the "students" whinge and complain that they ought
to still be getting the tax exemption.
--
Roland Perry

Cwatters

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Nov 4, 2009, 1:09:03 PM11/4/09
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"Roland Perry" <rol...@perry.co.uk> wrote in message
news:86p$HXh9WY...@perry.co.uk...

Worth a look...

Reproduced below. Hop they don't mind..

http://www.rtaylor.co.uk/students-harrassed-council-tax.html

Richard Taylor
Cambridge City Council Harassing Students for Council Tax
Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Given the importance of research students to the City of Cambridge it is
astonishing that the City Council has recently increased the level of
harassment to which they subject those studying for a PhD. The council is
sending council tax bills to research students. This has been a problem for
many years, but in the last few months the council has been sending an
increasing number of individuals bills for council tax which they are not
liable for and it has been refusing to cancel them when they are shown to be
incorrect (Full time students are exempt from council tax).

I think it is appalling that the council is treating this group of people so
badly, many of whom spend long hours working on research aimed at improving
people's lives and making the world a better place, for very little money.
Non-payment of Council Tax is something which rarely, but regularly, people
end up going to prison for. Higher education is becoming an important source
of foreign exchange in the UK and if Cambridge City Council start taking
action against students that could be placed at risk.

At a full council meeting on the 16th of July Cllr Bradnack (Labour) tabled
a written question asking if the Liberal Democrat Executive Councillor
responsible for council tax collection, Cllr Cantrill, was aware what was
going on. The fact that council officers had apparently suddenly and
inexplicably decided that PhDs take three years and they had determined that
those taking longer are liable to council tax was highlighted to Cllr
Cantrill. Cllr Cantrill failed to grasp the point being made to him. In
responding he stated:

"It was our understanding that the duration of a PhD was three years, as
reflected in the Council Tax certificates being issued to students via the
University. "

More than 90% of PhD students take longer than three years to complete a
PhD, and many publicly funded research students now even get funding for
four year courses and there are many four year PhD programs within
Cambridge, and other, universities. Set against this background Cambridge
City Council's current practice of sending bills to full time research
students beyond their third year of research is absurd and indefensible.

Rather than tackle the substantive and important point of those clearly
undertaking full time research beyond their third year being charged council
tax Cllr Cantrill's reply at the July council meeting focused on other much
more minor situations which are not the subject of major dispute. He
reported the university and the council are arguing over an exemption being
given for students after the point at which they have submitted a thesis and
are awaiting a viva, at which point the council argue (and in some cases
have a point) students are no longer engaged in full time study. Another
situation he reported is under discussion is where a student has completed a
viva but is awaiting the award of a degree. Allowing discussion of such
circumstances distracted from the key problem that the council is
determining that some of those who are engaged full time in working towards
research degrees are liable for council tax. The only factor which matters
is if the individual is a student engaged in full time research or study
according to the legal definition. The legal definition is quite lax to
account for those students across the country who are involved in far less
intense work than that conducted by PhD students.

Cambridge City Council's web page on student exemption clearly states
students are exempt from council tax and defines a student as someone:
"attending a university or college course that lasts an academic year or
more, for a minimum of 24 weeks a year and 21 hours a week "

In July a 60 day suspension of legal action against PhD students was
announced. There was no update at the recent strategy and resources
committee meeting held in October, the forum where Cllr Cantrill could have
been held to account for his actions by "backbench" councillors.

Councils across the country regularly threaten graduate students in this
way. Last year an Imperial College Student was taken to court, where the
case was thrown out even though in that case the university refused to issue
a certificate.

My Advice

I would suggest PhD students wrongly given council tax bills obtain a letter
from their college and/or department stating that they are a full time
student. Once in possession of such a "certificate" it is implausible in my
view that a prosecution would either proceed or succeed.
Taking the letter in, in person, to the council's offices and asking for a
receipt / acknowledgement and an assurance that your council tax account has
been updated to show the letter has been accepted is the route I took
personally when I was in this situation quite a few years ago. In my case
officers were unpleasant and stated they would disregard the letter and base
their decision only the result of a communication directly with a college
(my certificate was officially signed and stamped by my department), but did
appear eventually to accept it. I have had a number of encounters with the
city's council tax officers, and have found they give terrible, incorrect,
inconsistent, advice particularly on the phone. I have found them slightly
better in-person at the council's offices so would suggest that route.
Writing to those in a position to push for a change in the council's stance
might also be effective at solving this problem on a wider level:

Cllr Bradnack - Labour Opposition Councillor who has taken an interest in
this. (Ben.Bradnack at cambridge.gov.uk)
Cllr Howell - Conservative Opposition Councillor. (chris at moufflon.co.uk)

Writing to those responsible for the council's current stance might at least
make it less credible if they claim ignorance of what their officers are up
to:

Cllr Nimmo-Smith - Liberal Democrat Leader of the Council (ian at
monksilver.com)
Cllr Cantrill - Liberal Democrat Executive Councillor responsible for
Council Tax (rcantrill at millingtonadvisory.com)

Other suggestions include writing to the Cambridge News (newsdesk at
cambridgenews.co.uk) and attending the full council meeting on the 22nd of
October 2009 and put the case to councillors directly. (Members of the
public have an opportunity to address the council at the beginning of the
meeting). Those affected could also try and lobby CUSU or GU representatives
to speak. I would also be prepared to speak on behalf of anyone who would
like me to.

I understand independent councillor, John Hipkin, is planning to ask a
question on this subject during the full council meeting.
If the council does not back down, I would suggest offering to pay the bill,
making the offer in the form of a cheque sent along with a formal "letter
before action" making clear your intent to immediately seek repayment of the
money via the county court if Cambridge City Council pays in the cheque. The
legal system insists that you are actually owed money before you can take a
county court action. I would suggest that taking county court action against
the council for the return of your money would be preferable to being taken
to the Magistrate's court for non-payment of council tax by the council. The
county court option puts the student in control and ensures there is no risk
of you being sent to prison (I've seen some crazy decisions by Cambridge's
Magistrates).


Espen Koht

unread,
Nov 4, 2009, 2:23:17 PM11/4/09
to
In article <odrKuby3...@perry.co.uk>,
Roland Perry <rol...@perry.co.uk> wrote:

> In message <ehk20-F22DBF....@nntp-serv.cam.ac.uk>, at
> 17:23:29 on Wed, 4 Nov 2009, Espen H. Koht <eh...@cam.ac.uk> remarked:
> >> >involves at least 21 hours of
> >> >study per week during term-time;"
> >> >

> >The students in question have neither left the University
>
> That seems to be a definition somewhat in dispute in the cases I've read
> about (not Cambridge ones, though). The universities saying "well if
> they are sulking at home still writing up, we don't regard then as
> registered with us as students any more".

If you had read what was written here you would have picked up the fact
that these students are either on a 4 year PhD or have been granted an
extension to write up. The category you describe above is the one
consisting of students who are in this case considered to be "removed
from the register". There has been no suggestion that I've seen that the
latter are pleading for any exemptions from council tax or that the
University would support them in such an application. Maybe that's
different elsewhere, but that's the situation here.
The issue is those in the first two categories, ie. students in their
4th year of a 4 year PhD and the ones who have has their submission
deadline deferred to 'write up'. The University has reasonably robust
guidelines for granting these extension, and a negative financial
incentive to let people linger, so it's really hard to understand why
the Council is so intent on perverting the guidelines in this manner. A
more cynical man would perhaps suggest it's putting the squeeze where
there is least resistance, as someone writing up is unlikely to have
either the time or the financial resources to get a court ruling on the
matter.

> >nor are they writing at their own pace
>
> 5yrs and counting seems a bit like *their* pace.
>
> >as they will be still working to a deadline.
>
> Deadlines aren't as important as the degree to which they are still
> fulltime students. Whatever that means at this stage in their life.

The deadline is important because when it is reached you go from being
'writing up' to being 'off the register' and the University will no
longer support your claim to be a full-time student.

> >If they go off the register, that's a different matter, but the
> >University wouldn't supply you with paperwork suggesting you are still a
> >student after you do, so it isn't particularly relevant.
>
> It is relevant when the "students" whinge and complain that they ought
> to still be getting the tax exemption.

I've seen no evidence in this case of the complains being from
'students' (as opposed to students) if I read your comment correctly. If
you don't think any students deserve an exemption I suggest you take it
up with the law makers.

Tim Ward

unread,
Nov 4, 2009, 3:40:05 PM11/4/09
to
"Espen Koht" <eh...@cam.ac.uk> wrote in message
news:ehk20-1CCF3A....@nntp-serv.cam.ac.uk...

>
> "You are a full time student if you are:
> - attending a university or college course which
> lasts for at least an academic year, takes at least
> 24 weeks a year and involves at least 21 hours of
> study per week during term-time;"
>
> What's the sticking point?

Differences of opinion between university officers who will or won't issue a
certificate to that effect (how do you prove that someone writing up is
spending a particular number of hours per week at it, enough to put your
name to it?) and council officers who will or won't accept said certificate
or lack thereof, not helped by lack of case law to say what the statutes and
regulations (which obviously say vastly more than you've selectively quoted,
as is always the case with amateur lawyers on the internet) really mean.

Personally I'm in favour of the duck test, but getting people who think,
rightly or wrongly, that their jobs are on the line to sign up for that is
another matter.

The "fourth year is OK, fifth year isn't" compromise sounds like a ludicrous
fudge to me.

--
Tim Ward - posting as an individual unless otherwise clear
Brett Ward Limited - www.brettward.co.uk
Cambridge Accommodation Notice Board - www.brettward.co.uk/canb
Cambridge City Councillor


Tim Ward

unread,
Nov 4, 2009, 3:43:06 PM11/4/09
to
"Andrew May" <andrew...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:7ldff6F...@mid.individual.net...

>
> Is there any exemption to the exemption for students who are writing up
> while doing a full-time job?

Of course there shouldn't be, because the full time job means they can
afford to pay, which a full time student can't which is why the exemption is
there.

Part of the difficulty no doubt depends on how to identify those who are
still writing up and doing nothing else and distinguish them from those who
are still writing up but have a full time job and what to do about those who
at still writing up and don't have a full time job but only because they
haven't found one yet.

Tim Ward

unread,
Nov 4, 2009, 3:45:26 PM11/4/09
to
"Lotty Gladstone" <yo...@bpi.cam.ac.uk> wrote in message
news:f39a4fe7-56c5-4c77...@j24g2000yqa.googlegroups.com...

>
> Depends on the job. It's usually a requirement to submit your PhD
> thesis before taking up a postdoctoral position (definitely if the
> post is funded by one of the research councils). If you're set on an
> academic career, this will be your first job.

Really? - that's changed then since my day. Once Upon A Time the department
would try to find a demonstratorship or test tube washing job (in which you
weren't actually expected to actually wash any test tubes) in order to
provide an income for people writing up beyond the three years they were
supposed to have done it in. Such a position was absolutely the bog standard
first job for those in an academic career.

rosen...@cix.compulink.co.uk

unread,
Nov 4, 2009, 4:02:51 PM11/4/09
to
In article <QOadnbWCyIKnXmzX...@brightview.co.uk>,
colin.wat...@TurnersOakNOSPAM.plus.com (Cwatters) wrote:

> "Roland Perry" <rol...@perry.co.uk> wrote in message
> news:86p$HXh9WY...@perry.co.uk...
> > In message <4af1624d$0$2478$db0f...@news.zen.co.uk>, at 11:15:25
> > on Wed, 4 Nov 2009, Richard Thrippleton <r...@ret.me.uk> remarked:
> >>So just to clarify, is it the position of the Council that anybody
> >>overrunning to a 5th year is not a full-time student, despite still
> >>being enrolled in and working in a full-time course of study, and
> >>being authorised by the University to do so? (yes, this is the case
> >>my friend is in)
> >
> > 5th year. Hmm. Well into the grey area I would expect :(
>

> Worth a look...
>
> Reproduced below. Hop they don't mind..
>
> http://www.rtaylor.co.uk/students-harrassed-council-tax.html
>
> Richard Taylor
> Cambridge City Council Harassing Students for Council Tax
> Wednesday, October 21, 2009

[snip]

The material on Richard Taylor's site pre-dates the press release I copied
here.

--
Colin Rosenstiel

Roland Perry

unread,
Nov 4, 2009, 3:52:18 PM11/4/09
to
In message <ehk20-9C0103....@nntp-serv.cam.ac.uk>, at
19:23:17 on Wed, 4 Nov 2009, Espen Koht <eh...@cam.ac.uk> remarked:

>> >> >involves at least 21 hours of
>> >> >study per week during term-time;"
>> >> >
>> >The students in question have neither left the University
>>
>> That seems to be a definition somewhat in dispute in the cases I've read
>> about (not Cambridge ones, though). The universities saying "well if
>> they are sulking at home still writing up, we don't regard then as
>> registered with us as students any more".
>
>If you had read what was written here you would have picked up the fact
>that these students

What do you mean by "these". The very few Cambridge based ones whose
case is being raised here this week?

I've been following a rather larger number of cases, all over the
country, for longer.

>If you don't think any students deserve an exemption I suggest you take
>it up with the law makers.

Who said anything about "any students"? It's the ones detached from
their universities, still plodding through writing up years later, who
make up the majority of the cases I see.
--
Roland Perry

Roland Perry

unread,
Nov 4, 2009, 3:54:27 PM11/4/09
to
In message <QOadnbWCyIKnXmzX...@brightview.co.uk>, at
18:09:03 on Wed, 4 Nov 2009, Cwatters
<colin.wat...@TurnersOakNOSPAM.plus.com> remarked:

>>>So just to clarify, is it the position of the Council that anybody
>>>overrunning to a 5th year is not a full-time student, despite still being
>>>enrolled in and working in a full-time course of study, and being
>>>authorised by the University to do so? (yes, this is the case my friend
>>>is in)
>>
>> 5th year. Hmm. Well into the grey area I would expect :(

>Worth a look...


>
>Reproduced below. Hop they don't mind..

[snip: lots of special pleading we have already been exposed to earlier
today].

And your point was??
--
Roland Perry

Espen Koht

unread,
Nov 4, 2009, 4:32:14 PM11/4/09
to
In article <oJmK7E3C...@perry.co.uk>,
Roland Perry <rol...@perry.co.uk> wrote:

> What do you mean by "these". The very few Cambridge based ones whose
> case is being raised here this week?

Well, yes, the entire content of this thread and discussion being about
Cambridge City Council and their approach to this this.

> I've been following a rather larger number of cases, all over the
> country, for longer.

Bully for you, but what's the relevance? Even if the Cambridge City
Council isn't the only one creatively interpreting the national
guidelines the accountability remains with the individual councils.

Theo Markettos

unread,
Nov 4, 2009, 4:37:30 PM11/4/09
to
rosen...@cix.compulink.co.uk wrote:
> In article <QOadnbWCyIKnXmzX...@brightview.co.uk>,
> colin.wat...@TurnersOakNOSPAM.plus.com (Cwatters) wrote:
>
> > http://www.rtaylor.co.uk/students-harrassed-council-tax.html
> >
> > Richard Taylor
> > Cambridge City Council Harassing Students for Council Tax
>
> The material on Richard Taylor's site pre-dates the press release I copied
> here.

But his responses in the comments do not.

Theo

Espen Koht

unread,
Nov 4, 2009, 4:53:56 PM11/4/09
to
In article <7le755F...@mid.individual.net>,
"Tim Ward" <t...@brettward.co.uk> wrote:

> "Espen Koht" <eh...@cam.ac.uk> wrote in message
> news:ehk20-1CCF3A....@nntp-serv.cam.ac.uk...
> >
> > "You are a full time student if you are:
> > - attending a university or college course which
> > lasts for at least an academic year, takes at least
> > 24 weeks a year and involves at least 21 hours of
> > study per week during term-time;"
> >
> > What's the sticking point?
>
> Differences of opinion between university officers who will or won't issue a
> certificate to that effect

Really? AFAIK BoGS will issue a certificate to those who's deadline has
been deferred but not to those who have been 'removed from the
register'. That is not ambiguous.

> (how do you prove that someone writing up is
> spending a particular number of hours per week at it, enough to put your
> name to it?)

There is no reasonable incentive for the University to fudge their own
guidelines on this. The supervisor and the degree committee has to sign
off on all deferments and it 'costs' them to grant it to anyone who
isn't fully engaged in completing their work.


> and council officers who will or won't accept said certificate
> or lack thereof, not helped by lack of case law to say what the statutes and
> regulations (which obviously say vastly more than you've selectively quoted,
> as is always the case with amateur lawyers on the internet) really mean.

As already suggested the lack of case law may be the reason why the
Council Officers sees this is worth-while, the targets are unlikely to
take it far enough for any to be established.

As for the 'selective quoting' can you substantiate that accusation with
something obviously relevant to this case from the guidelines I sited?
(<http://www.local.odpm.gov.uk/finance/ctax/ctaxbillguide.pdf>)

Or, if you intended to argue that the guidelines are incomplete and
misleading, you could point us to the relevant detail elsewhere which
will clarify the statues and regulations?

> Personally I'm in favour of the duck test, but getting people who think,
> rightly or wrongly, that their jobs are on the line to sign up for that is
> another matter.
>
> The "fourth year is OK, fifth year isn't" compromise sounds like a ludicrous
> fudge to me.

Indeed.

Tim Ward

unread,
Nov 4, 2009, 4:59:35 PM11/4/09
to
"Espen Koht" <eh...@cam.ac.uk> wrote in message
news:ehk20-A703A5....@nntp-serv.cam.ac.uk...

>
> Or, if you intended to argue that the guidelines are incomplete and
> misleading, you could point us to the relevant detail elsewhere which
> will clarify the statues and regulations?

Sorry, if you want proper legal advice you'll have to pay your own lawyer.

>> Personally I'm in favour of the duck test, but getting people who think,
>> rightly or wrongly, that their jobs are on the line to sign up for that
>> is
>> another matter.
>>
>> The "fourth year is OK, fifth year isn't" compromise sounds like a
>> ludicrous
>> fudge to me.
>
> Indeed.

Haven't got enough people to agree with me yet. If this remains an issue, ie
enough people find the fudge unacceptable, I'll have another go at the next
opportunity.

Espen Koht

unread,
Nov 4, 2009, 5:22:26 PM11/4/09
to
In article <Miv*g0...@news.chiark.greenend.org.uk>,
Theo Markettos <theom...@chiark.greenend.org.uk> wrote:

Not to mentioned the hand-waving. Where is the authority which allows
the City Council to create a time limit in The Council Tax (Discount
Disregards) Order 1992?
<http://www.opsi.gov.uk/SI/si1992/Uksi_19920548_en_2.htm>

Espen Koht

unread,
Nov 4, 2009, 5:24:43 PM11/4/09
to
In article <7lebq8F...@mid.individual.net>,
"Tim Ward" <t...@brettward.co.uk> wrote:

> Sorry, if you want proper legal advice you'll have to pay your own lawyer.

So, there no substance to your claim that I was 'selectively quoting' in
other words.

rosen...@cix.compulink.co.uk

unread,
Nov 4, 2009, 5:33:47 PM11/4/09
to
In article <Miv*g0...@news.chiark.greenend.org.uk>,
theom...@chiark.greenend.org.uk (Theo Markettos) wrote:

They were not quoted here though.

--
Colin Rosenstiel

Tim Ward

unread,
Nov 4, 2009, 5:34:38 PM11/4/09
to
"Espen Koht" <eh...@cam.ac.uk> wrote in message
news:ehk20-C03BB9....@nntp-serv.cam.ac.uk...

Yes, your own words - *you* said you were quoting from the guidelines, which
is hardly a comprehensive exploration of the statutes and regulations. We
all know that guidelines on government web sites can bear very little
relation to the actual law as decided by the courts - see HMRC's
"guidelines" on how much tax you have to pay for example!!!

To find out whether the guidelines actually mean anything at all, and what
the statutes and regulations mean, you'll have to pay a lawyer. Who might
just possibly say (in expensive lawyer-speak) "haven't a clue mate, have to
wait for some case law, but of course if you're really rich I'll take the
test case through the courts for you".

Sorry, but amateur internet lawyers who read a guideline here and a
regulation there and maybe even a statute somewhere else rarely come up with
the right answer in non-trivial cases. If it were that easy there wouldn't
*be* any rich lawyers, now, would there.

Duncan Wood

unread,
Nov 4, 2009, 5:41:10 PM11/4/09
to

Oddly your reference to the city council press release hasn't shown up
here. (That's not a dig, it seems out of character for you &
individual.net)

Espen Koht

unread,
Nov 4, 2009, 6:38:42 PM11/4/09
to
In article <7ledruF...@mid.individual.net>,
"Tim Ward" <t...@brettward.co.uk> wrote:

> "Espen Koht" <eh...@cam.ac.uk> wrote in message
> news:ehk20-C03BB9....@nntp-serv.cam.ac.uk...
> > In article <7lebq8F...@mid.individual.net>,
> > "Tim Ward" <t...@brettward.co.uk> wrote:
> >
> >> Sorry, if you want proper legal advice you'll have to pay your own
> >> lawyer.
> >
> > So, there no substance to your claim that I was 'selectively quoting' in
> > other words.
>
> Yes, your own words - *you* said you were quoting from the guidelines, which
> is hardly a comprehensive exploration of the statutes and regulations.

I gave you the option of clarifying your claim that I was 'selectively
quoting' along these lines before and you opted to let stand the
implication that I was extracting choice elements of the text for god
knows what purpose. I'll take this as an admission that the accusation
was groundless.

rosen...@cix.compulink.co.uk

unread,
Nov 4, 2009, 6:52:23 PM11/4/09
to
In article <op.u2v6mwxmhaghkf@lucy>, nntp...@dmx512.co.uk (Duncan Wood)
wrote:

> Oddly your reference to the city council press release hasn't shown
> up here. (That's not a dig, it seems out of character for you &
> individual.net)

Posted early Wednesday morning, Message-ID:
<P8mdnbX-8PtU22zX...@giganews.com>

--
Colin Rosenstiel

Duncan Wood

unread,
Nov 4, 2009, 7:14:43 PM11/4/09
to

Ah, your sig aligned nicely with the bottom of the page on this monitor:-)

Roland Perry

unread,
Nov 5, 2009, 1:48:40 AM11/5/09
to
In message <ehk20-FAF3C1....@nntp-serv.cam.ac.uk>, at
21:32:14 on Wed, 4 Nov 2009, Espen Koht <eh...@cam.ac.uk> remarked:

>In article <oJmK7E3C...@perry.co.uk>,
> Roland Perry <rol...@perry.co.uk> wrote:
>
>> What do you mean by "these". The very few Cambridge based ones whose
>> case is being raised here this week?
>
>Well, yes, the entire content of this thread and discussion being about
>Cambridge City Council and their approach to this this.
>
>> I've been following a rather larger number of cases, all over the
>> country, for longer.
>
>Bully for you, but what's the relevance?

The relevance is that this is not a "Cambridge" phenomenon. It's not the
Cambridge Council [alone] that has a special grudge against students (or
as some allege is "making up new law"). It's an ongoing issue all over
the country.

That's both good and bad, for people trying to resolve their own
situations. It's good because there's a huge body of material *outside*
Cambridge that they can tap into - if only they realise it. It's bad
because Cambridge isn't out on a limb with this, lots of other councils
are taking the same approach, so trying to fight as if Cambridge was an
exception, is bound to fail.
--
Roland Perry

Roland Perry

unread,
Nov 5, 2009, 1:57:12 AM11/5/09
to
In message <7ledruF...@mid.individual.net>, at 22:34:38 on Wed, 4
Nov 2009, Tim Ward <t...@brettward.co.uk> remarked:

>Sorry, but amateur internet lawyers who read a guideline here and a
>regulation there and maybe even a statute somewhere else rarely come up with
>the right answer in non-trivial cases.

We should frame that, and put it on the cam.misc wall.
--
Roland Perry

Espen Koht

unread,
Nov 5, 2009, 4:29:08 AM11/5/09
to
In article <WSE1dQ$Idn8...@perry.co.uk>,
Roland Perry <rol...@perry.co.uk> wrote:

While we are at it, let's label it "Free Pass" to be proffered by anyone
wanting to contribute "it's all very complicated, dear, now run along"
in place of any meaningful contradictory evidence.

Roland Perry

unread,
Nov 5, 2009, 4:40:37 AM11/5/09
to
In message <ehk20-B45189....@nntp-serv.cam.ac.uk>, at
09:29:08 on Thu, 5 Nov 2009, Espen Koht <eh...@cam.ac.uk> remarked:

>> >Sorry, but amateur internet lawyers who read a guideline here and a
>> >regulation there and maybe even a statute somewhere else rarely come up with
>> >the right answer in non-trivial cases.
>>
>> We should frame that, and put it on the cam.misc wall.
>
>While we are at it, let's label it "Free Pass" to be proffered by anyone
>wanting to contribute "it's all very complicated, dear, now run along"
>in place of any meaningful contradictory evidence.

The problem is, even when people give such an explanation, it tends to
get shouted down because (as you hint yourself above) expert opinion
often doesn't get treated as "evidence" capable of trumping "a guideline
here and a regulation there", which despite being written down don't in
fact tell the whole story.
--
Roland Perry

rosen...@cix.compulink.co.uk

unread,
Nov 5, 2009, 5:43:49 AM11/5/09
to
In article <op.u2wayte8haghkf@lucy>, nntp...@dmx512.co.uk (Duncan Wood)
wrote:

> On Wed, 04 Nov 2009 23:52:23 -0000,
> <rosen...@cix.compulink.co.uk> wrote:
>
> > In article <op.u2v6mwxmhaghkf@lucy>, nntp...@dmx512.co.uk
> > (Duncan Wood) wrote:
> >
> >> Oddly your reference to the city council press release hasn't shown
> >> up here. (That's not a dig, it seems out of character for you &
> >> individual.net)
> >
> > Posted early Wednesday morning, Message-ID:
> > <P8mdnbX-8PtU22zX...@giganews.com>
>
> Ah, your sig aligned nicely with the bottom of the page on this
> monitor:-)

Ah, but doesn't your newsreader have a scroll bar? ;-)

--
Colin Rosenstiel

Al Grant

unread,
Nov 5, 2009, 8:10:05 AM11/5/09
to
On 4 Nov, 20:45, "Tim Ward" <t...@brettward.co.uk> wrote:
> Really? - that's changed then since my day. Once Upon A Time the department
> would try to find a demonstratorship or test tube washing job (in which you
> weren't actually expected to actually wash any test tubes) in order to
> provide an income for people writing up beyond the three years they were
> supposed to have done it in. Such a position was absolutely the bog standard
> first job for those in an academic career.

These days I doubt many PhD students (most, in some
subjects) would get a work permit for this kind of job due
to nationality. It would be iniquitous for a department to
create sinecures only for Europeans.

Lotty Gladstone

unread,
Nov 5, 2009, 8:53:10 AM11/5/09
to
On 4 Nov, 20:45, "Tim Ward" <t...@brettward.co.uk> wrote:
> Really? - that's changed then since my day. Once Upon A Time the department
> would try to find a demonstratorship or test tube washing job (in which you
> weren't actually expected to actually wash any test tubes) in order to
> provide an income for people writing up beyond the three years they were
> supposed to have done it in. Such a position was absolutely the bog standard
> first job for those in an academic career.

It's not that common these days. It's becoming increasingly difficult
to shove a cheque to an individual - there is a clampdown to ensure
they are on payroll and to be employed of course means the job needs
to have been advertised etc, and as many peoples' funds are through
grants (where you can only pay those researchers named on the grant)
your writing-up student cheque can't come from these. Also, the amount
of 'free' money (and I mean freely available to spend on what you
want) kicking around is far less, again because most income is via
specific grants for specific people of bits of kit, working on a
particular project. The joys of the audit process.

In fact, the demonstrator / dishwasher job was never common at the
other universities I've spent time at (Bristol & Leeds), just because,
except for one or two high flying profs, no lecturers actually had any
spare cash. At Bristol in the mid 90s you were slung out of your
office at 3 years and your desk given to a fee-paying newbie ....

Lotty.

Jon Green

unread,
Nov 5, 2009, 9:37:13 AM11/5/09
to
rosen...@cix.compulink.co.uk wrote:
> Ah, but doesn't your newsreader have a scroll bar? ;-)

Yeah. No scrolls allowed, right? G'wan, away wiv yer!

Jon
--
SPAM BLOCK IN USE! To reply in email, replace 'deadspam'
with 'green-lines'.

Duncan Wood

unread,
Nov 5, 2009, 10:01:20 AM11/5/09
to

Yes, but I don't normally bother scrolling past a sig, so I'd missed it.

Matthew Woodcraft

unread,
Nov 5, 2009, 1:43:13 PM11/5/09
to
Roland Perry <rol...@perry.co.uk> wrote:
> The problem is, even when people give such an explanation, it tends to
> get shouted down because (as you hint yourself above) expert opinion
> often doesn't get treated as "evidence" capable of trumping "a guideline
> here and a regulation there", which despite being written down don't in
> fact tell the whole story.

I don't think that's particularly surprising, given the number of
people on this newsgroup who like to put themselves forward as experts
on various subjects when they plainly aren't.

-M-

Roland Perry

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Nov 5, 2009, 1:55:37 PM11/5/09
to
In message <n4y*WC...@news.chiark.greenend.org.uk>, at 18:43:13 on Thu,
5 Nov 2009, Matthew Woodcraft <matt...@chiark.greenend.org.uk>
remarked:

But ironically, naively thinking that you can draw conclusions from "a
guideline here and a regulation there" is just as bad.

The trick is to work out who really is an expert at what, of course.
--
Roland Perry

Matthew Woodcraft

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Nov 5, 2009, 2:04:54 PM11/5/09
to
Roland Perry <rol...@perry.co.uk> wrote:
> Matthew Woodcraft <matt...@chiark.greenend.org.uk> remarked:

>> I don't think that's particularly surprising, given the number of
>> people on this newsgroup who like to put themselves forward as experts
>> on various subjects when they plainly aren't.

> But ironically, naively thinking that you can draw conclusions from "a
> guideline here and a regulation there" is just as bad.

What's ironic about that?

-M-

Roland Perry

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Nov 5, 2009, 3:07:23 PM11/5/09
to
In message <YTk*1H...@news.chiark.greenend.org.uk>, at 19:04:54 on Thu,
5 Nov 2009, Matthew Woodcraft <matt...@chiark.greenend.org.uk>

It just is.
--
Roland Perry

Espen Koht

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Nov 5, 2009, 3:38:44 PM11/5/09
to
In article <YTk*1H...@news.chiark.greenend.org.uk>,
Matthew Woodcraft <matt...@chiark.greenend.org.uk> wrote:

Because that's how Councillors and Council Officers operate, presumably?

John Burnham

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Nov 6, 2009, 4:25:35 AM11/6/09
to
On Thu, 05 Nov 2009 20:07:23 +0000, Roland Perry wrote:

> In message <YTk*1H...@news.chiark.greenend.org.uk>, at 19:04:54 on Thu,
> 5 Nov 2009, Matthew Woodcraft <matt...@chiark.greenend.org.uk>
> remarked:
>>

>>What's ironic about that?
>
> It just is.

You are Alanis Morissette and I claim my five pounds.
J

Ian Jackson

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Nov 10, 2009, 10:42:29 AM11/10/09