LOCAL AUTHORITY SOLICITORS AGAINST GOVERNMENT PROSECUTIONS
Under the provisions of the Local Government Act 1972 (LGA), Local Authorities are empowered to investigate any suspicious act which may affect the local community and to subsequently prosecute the same. According to Section 222 of the Act, if a local authority has reason to believe that the people within its locale should be protected from certain people and their acts, and where such acts or acts are of such significance as to potentially affect others, it may decide to prosecute. Such decision must however be expedient for the protection or promotion of the interests of the inhabitants the community.
Anti-social behaviour and the Council immediately come to mind. However, aside from obtaining an ASBO or Order against those who display violent behaviour that is threatening and unacceptable to societal norm, there are a variety of other offences which the Local Authorities can prosecute if they have reason to believe the Council is being defrauded by any individual. Some of these offences are classified under the rather wide umbrella known as Benefit Fraud. Benefit Fraud encompasses Housing benefit, Job Seekers’ Allowance, Council Tax benefit and other relevant benefits provided by the Council to its local inhabitants. In determining who qualifies for benefits, the local authority asks for specific information relating to marital status, household income, expenditure, child care and other relevant information which determines how much benefit each household should be awarded.
If, at any point, it is discovered that the information provided by the recipients of any kind of benefit was deliberately misleading in order to qualify and/or to be awarded more benefit than necessary, this may be classified as benefit fraud. The Council or Local Authorities have the right to prosecute those who may be guilty of benefit fraud, non-payment of Council Tax and anti-social behaviour among other offences that may be deemed threatening to the inhabitants of the locale. Call our local authority lawyer for a free consultation about your case.