Glossary

Bailiffs: See sheriff officers.

Capping: A power imposed by central government to limit the amount of spending (and therefore the level of local taxation) which a local authority could make.

Community Charge: The official term for the Poll Tax.

Liability order: A liability order was a piece of paper given to the council after courts (in England and Wales) had proved that non-payers were liable to pay the tax. Once a liability order was granted councils were free to proceed with enforcement procedures (bailiff action or wage arrestment). This procedure was not necessary in Scotland.

McKenzie friend: McKenzie friends were people who were allowed to stand beside a defendant in court and offer them advice although they were not allowed to address the court. Anti Poll Tax activists trained with legal knowledge acted as McKenzie friends as part of the strategy of delaying the court process.

Poinding: Poindings describe the process whereby sheriff officers enter peoples’ homes and value their goods.

Sheriff officer: The equivalent of bailiffs in England and Wales, people who were appointed by local councils and registered by local courts with powers to seize peoples’ possessions and sell them off to recover debts.

Warrant sale: These were public auctions of peoples’ goods (sometimes held in their own homes) after they had been seized by the Sheriff Officers. By November 1991, there hadn't been a single successful warrant sale in Scotland.