Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Londojn Tribunals - March 17

Oxford Avenue, N14
In March 2017 there were 120 Appeals which were won out of 231 which were heard which means that the motorist won 52% of the time, a slightly better than average result.
 
The following eight decisions, including two which were lost, are worthy of note.
 
Adjudicator refuses through gritted teeth.
 
The CEO’s photographs show sufficiently clearly that, as the driver (whom I have heard in person) does not dispute , the vehicle was observed in the early hours of the morning parked other than with all its wheels on the carriageway.
 
Parking a vehicle other than on the carriageway is unlawful throughout London (save at those locations where the Local Authority has exercised its powers to permit it and signed the exemption accordingly The prohibition is imposed by statute ( s15 Greater London Council (General Powers) Act 1974 as amended), and no signs are therefore required. As in many other areas of activity motorists are presumed to know the law, and are bound by it whether they are aware of it or not. It is referred to in the Highway Code with which all motorists should be familiar. It is irrelevant in law that no actual obstruction was caused to pedestrians, who are in any event legally entitled to access to the entire footway, not merely that part of it which a motorist may consider sufficient for their needs. It is never a defence to footway parking to say that had the vehicle been parked entirely on the carriageway danger or obstruction might have been caused. If this is the case at a particular location the vehicle must simply be parked safely elsewhere.
 
Whist it might certainly seem a little peculiar that the Council is expending its resources enforcing what is, at this type of location and at this time of night, a minor example of the contravention in question, I am unable to find that the PCN was issued anything other than lawfully and the Appeal must therefore be refused. (2170052895)
 
Dot matrix = self evidently inadequate signage (heads you win...)
 
Mr S.  appeared before me at a Personal Hearing on 10th March 2017, to represent his Wife, the Appellant [as registered keeper], to explain the contention personally. Mr S. also attended on behalf of his Daughter who was the driver at the relevant time.
 
The Enforcement Authority assert the whereabouts of the vehicle, at the relevant time, on the material date, to be at a location subject to an 'event' restriction, during which vehicles are obliged to display of an applicable and valid permit, and assert the absence of such permit display in respect of the said vehicle.

The Appellant denies liability for the ensuing Penalty Charge Notice on the basis of the prevailing circumstances and challenge as stated in the written representations (supported by photographic capture) which Mr S. reiterated and comprehensively detailed at the Hearing.

The Enforcement Authority who assert that the said vehicle was so parked contrary to, and during the operative period of, a restriction are obliged to adduce evidence to the requisite standard to substantiate that assertion.
 
The evidence upon which the Enforcement Authority rely comprises the certified copy Penalty Charge Notice, extracts of governing Traffic Management Order provisions, signage Authorization and notes made by the Civil Enforcement Officer together with photographic evidence: still frames revealing the said vehicle in situ, and an image of the adjacent signage notifying motorists of the restriction.
 
The Enforcement Authority adduce annotated maps/plans and undated images; these are of limited evidential value since the knowledge of the annotator is not known and it is not possible to correlate some images to the position of the said vehicle.
 
No evidence is adduced of the event or any event day signs advertising the material date as an event day.
 
Of crucial importance in an 'event' operative restricted area is the inclusion of clear and unambiguous information for the motorist regarding the 'event' triggering the operation of the same.

Mr S. indicated that there was a distinct lack of event signage in the vicinity, and challenged the notion that any such signage was adequate by submitting photographic capture showing the use of supplemental portable notification devices (dot matrix signs). (2170061692)
 
Evidentially I cannot be satisfied that a contravention occurred, accordingly I allow this Appeal.
 
Don't park on double yellows to buy a newspaper (a schoolboy error)
 
The appellant attended the personal hearing on the 11th March 2017.
He disputed the PCN on the basis that the CEO had indicated that he was open to a bribe and had himself parked in contravention.
 
The appellant stated that he only stopped to buy his elderly mother a newspaper and was away from the vehicle less than a few minutes when he saw the CEO who held out his hand to the appellant and said he had already issued the PCN but could help the appellant appeal which the appellant clearly interpreted to be an invitation for a bribe. In addition the appellant noticed the CEO parked in front of him on the same double yellow lines in an unmarked vehicle and remaining there for a period of time after the appellant moved away.
 
The allegations made by the appellant relate to the alleged behaviour of the CEO which is a matter for the local authority to consider and investigate.
 
The issue for me to decide is whether or not the alleged contravention did occur and whether there is any valid exemption available to the appellant.
 
The photographs taken by the CEO clearly show the appellant's vehicle parked on double yellow lines which is an instant contravention. Purchasing a newspaper does not amount to a loading/unloading activity which requires the use of a car in order to fall within the loading and unloading exemption.
 
Considering the evidence carefully I am satisfied that the contravention did occur and can find no valid grounds for this appeal. I am also satisfied that the enforcement officer was entitled to stop on the double yellow lines in order to issue the appellant with a PCN as part of his powers of enforcement and there was nowhere else nearby where he could have legally stopped in order to carry out his duties. I therefore do not find there to have been any procedural impropriety which affects the validity of this PCN.
 
Appeal refused. (2170020935)
 
Don't fall over & then expect the council to show any compassion
 
Mr G, the Appellant, appeared before me accompanied by his son, Mr N G.
 
The Appellant accepted that at the time the penalty charge notice was issued his disabled badge was not displayed. However, he explained that there was a very good reason for this. He has difficulty walking and uses an elbow crutch. He had exited from the vehicle to make sure that it was parked fully within the disabled bay, before displaying his badge. Unfortunately, in the course of doing this he fell over. He was assisted by a passerby – a Mr Joseph – who has provided a signed witness statement confirming these facts. The passerby took Mr G to a wall nearby where he could sit down and Mr N G was telephoned to come to his father's assistance. While this occurred, the officer issued the penalty charge notice (quite properly) to the vehicle but out of eyeshot of the Appellant.
 
I accept this evidence as true. It does not amount to a defence to the contravention, but I do consider it to be compelling mitigation. I strongly recommend that the Council on this occasion exercise their discretion not to enforce the penalty in the light of my findings of fact. (2170053559) (Why the heck did the council not cancel this PCN before the tribunal stage?)
 
Paid but not paid, by phone.
 
Mr Q appeals against the issue of a Penalty Charge Notice to his vehicle for parking on 10 October 2016 in the High Street.
 
Mr Q attended the hearing. He explained he is a frequent user of the pay by phone system and also uses the other systems operated by other Authorities throughout London.
 
When he parked his vehicle Mr Q used the App on his telephone to pay for parking. He is registered with the pay by phone company and all details are held by them for the two vehicles he uses. His payment card is also registered with the company. On making the “payment” by entering the details and the CVV number of his card he left the vehicle. Half way through the time he purchased he checked on his phone and using the screenshot sent by the company and saw he had a number of minutes left.
 
On returning to the vehicle he noted the Penalty Charge Notice. He informed the Enforcement Authority of his payment and initially he was advised there was no trace of his using the system on the day. However later the company accepted he had been on the system but claimed the CVV was not entered so payment was not made. However neither the Enforcement Authority or the Company have offered any explanation as to how Mr Q received the countdown screen shot if the CVV number had not been entered and a payment made.
 
As Mr Q had not previously had any difficulty with the system he did not take a photograph of the screenshot he relied on 10 October 2016. That is a perfectly reasonable position to take.
 
Mr Q is a reliable witness and is very conversant with the pay by phone system. I have no reason to doubt his account of what happened. I find he did all that was required of him to make the payment and for some technical reason the company failed to take the payment. He was entitled to rely on the screen shot he was sent by the company to show he had paid to park. I see no reason why Mr Q should pay the Penalty Charge for a technical fault with the system he used. Neither the operating company or the Enforcement Authority have any valid explanation for the screen shot being sent if the steps taken by Mr Q were incomplete. It is logical that the screenshot can only be created and sent following completion of the information required to take a payment or indeed a payment taken.
 
I am satisfied the error lies with the pay by phone company and not Mr Q. The appeal is allowed. (2170069504)
 
Council want to enforce on private land, or is it?
 
The Appellant is represented by Mr R.
 
The Appellant's case is that the vehicle was outside no 26 Oxford Avenue. It is private and the Authority has no jurisdiction to issue a Penalty Charge Notice.
 
Both parties have made extensive submissions as to whether the road was adopted. There is no conclusive evidence from either side. The evidence is not particular persuasive either way.
 
The Authority says that the map it supplied proves that Oxford Avenue is adopted. I do not see why or how. As Mr R points out, he has never said that the whole of Oxford Avenue is not adopted. He is saying that the adoption stopped short of the Appellant's address. He drew my attention n to the yellow line stopping short of the Appellant's address. There is also a strip of paving across the carriageway. There is no apparent purpose for this save to separate one part of Oxford Avenue from another. Mr R asks a not unreasonable question - why can the Authority not produce primary documentation of the adoption?
 
On the other hand, Mr R has been engaged with what appeared to be lengthy discussions with the management company of the estate some time before 2010 to the point that the latter has informed him that there would been discussion. If the relevant section of Oxford Avenue has not been adopted since 2015, I would have thought that the Appellant would have received bills for maintenance and certainly bills for street lighting. Mr R says that there are none.
 
I think that one has to start from basics. The contravention occurs when any person causes or permits any vehicle to be parked in Greater London with one or more wheels on or over any part of a road other than a carriageway or on or over a footpath.
 
A road means, according to section 142 (1) of the he Road Traffic Regulations Act 1984, any length of highway or of any other road to which the public has access, and includes bridges over which a road passes. It is irrelevant whether the road is privately owned or maintained by the public, see R on the application of Dawood v the Parking Adjudicator PATAS and another [2009] EWCA Civ 1411.
 
Oxford Avenue is clearly a road in that it is a definable way of passage between two points. The issue is therefore whether the general public, and not merely a special class of the general public, has access to the road and that the public has access at least by tolerance of the owner of the road.
 
In Deacon v AT (A Minor) [1976] RTR 244, the Court held that the prosecutor seeking to prove that there is public access to the road must prove the general public used the road. It is not sufficient to prove that a restricted class of the public e.g. the residents and visitors of an estate has access to the road.
 
In this case, there is no evidence of any level of use of the section of Oxford Avenue save by residents or visitors. It is therefore not a road to which the public has access. There is there no restriction on footway parking at the location. I allow the appeal. (2170061863)
 
Payment for the other side of the road is OK
 
The Appellant attended in person.
 
The facts are not in dispute. The Appellant parked his car in Brent Street and sought to pay for his parking by app. It turned out that the location number selected was for the other side of the street. The Appellant does not dispute that the sign for the bay in which he parked showed a different location number but he had not seen this when he was using his app in his car.
 
The Authority submits that it is permissible to have two location numbers on the same street because different tariffs may apply. It is therefore the driver's responsibility to ascertain and use the correct location code.
 
I do not disagree with the above as a general principle. However, not only is there no difference in tariff between the two sides of the road, and this is well known to local residents, the Authority does not challenge the Appellant's assertion that one can purchase a ticket from one side of the road and use it on the other.
 
The Traffic Management Order requires the payment by inserting money into a ticket meter for "that parking place". It follows that if machines on both sides of the road can be used, both sides of the road is the same "parking place". The Authority has not drawn my attention to anything in the TMO that says that payment by phone or app should be treated differently.
 
Even if the Authority is somehow saying that the two sides of the road are in fact different "parking places", I would say that it is incumbent upon the Authority to make this clear.
 
The Appellant also makes the point that the app refers to Brent Street. It does not offer a choice as to where in Brent Street.
 
I am not satisfied that the contravention occurred. I allow appeal. (2170081805)
 
Safety is motorist's first priority, revenue raising is the council's?
 
The appellant, who appeared before me today, said that his hearing aid batteries had failed as he was driving he being unable to continue with his journey in safety without being able to hear sound he stopping in this bay close to an opticians to replace his batteries.
 
The appellant had I noted provided this explanation to the issuing officer and he supplied supporting evidence from the optician concerned.
 
I was satisfied as to the evidence given and adduced by the appellant as to this incident and found as a fact that he had been prevented from proceeding by circumstances beyond his control the exemption in that regard being applicable. (2170093473)
 
Just to remind you that decisions by an adjudicator are not legally binding, not even on themselves. They are persuasive so claim their support but don't poke the adjudicator in the eye with them, adjudicators like to make their own decisions so just mention the decision exists and leave it at that.
 
I have given you the tribunal references so you can look at the original decisions if you wish, and print them, form here.
 
If you want to look at all contraventions which have taken place in, say, Oxford Avenue, then you can search the register by completing at least 2 fields. Type BARN in the Enforcing Authority box and you can then select Barnet Council, type OXFORD% in the location box and you will get all road names which start with Oxford and perhaps put 1/1/16 in the from box so you don't get too many results. Have fun.
 
Yours appealingly
 
Miss Feezance

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

London Tribunals - February 2017

 
In the month of February, a shorter month, there were fewer Barnet Council PCN Appeals at London Tribunals, a mere 193 of which 113, a terrific 59%, were won by the motorist.
 
There were 6 cases worthy of being reproduced.
 
Richmond Rd (again) - 2160488646
 
The allegation in these proceedings was that this vehicle stopped in a restricted area outside a school.
The appellant, who appeared before me today, submitted that she had not stopped in contravention but in order to give way to oncoming traffic her evidence on that point being consistent with her written submissions.
 
I was not entirely convinced as to what was said but I had a doubt in this case as to whether on the appellant's evidence her vehicle had stopped in contravention and I resolved that doubt in her favour.
 
The appeal was accordingly allowed.
 
Blue badge on a double yellow - 2170012879
 
The Civil Enforcement Officer (CEO) noted all the details of Mrs D’s car and recorded that this Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) was issued because the car was parked on double yellow lines. A note was made that the vehicle was displaying a disabled badge and a clock set at 13:00. This implied that the car had been parked more than 3 hours earlier, which is the maximum time that a vehicle displaying a Blue Badge may park on double or single yellow lines.
 
Mrs D made representations on the basis that she was dealing with an emergency relating to her elderly and ill mother (whose Blue Badge I assume it was), and that in her hurry she had accidentally turned the clock to the wrong number. With her Notice of Appeal she submitted a letter from her mother, who said that it was she who had set the clock to the wrong time. Mrs D sought the Authority’s leniency in these difficult circumstances. However I do not need to decide the appeal on the basis put forward by Mrs D, for the following reasons.
 
Paragraph 1(e) of the Schedule to the Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (England) General Regulations 2007 requires that a PCN must state, among other things, “the grounds on which the civil enforcement officer serving the notice believes that a penalty charge is payable”.The PCN in this case stated, "...the following contravention was believed to have occurred – 30(o) Parked for longer than permitted ".
 
The CEO’s evidence was that the car was parked on double yellow lines. That, on its face, is a contravention, unless an exemption applies. There is an exemption that allows a vehicle properly displaying a Blue Badge and clock to park for three hours. However that is an exemption (albeit a time limited one) to the prohibition on parking signed by the double yellow lines - it is not a permitted period of parking. Parking is only permitted in parking places. This is supported by the fact that the Standard PCN Codes issued by London Councils for use by Enforcement Authorities provides a number of suffixes for Code 30, indicated by the letters/number “flmnopsu1”. These translate, respectively, as free parking bay, loading place, parking meter, red route, Blue Badge holder, Pay & Display ,shared use bay, electronic payment, electric vehicles bay.
 
Whilst the suffix “o” refers to Blue Badge holders, it is quite clear from the context that that means that Code 30 may be used where a vehicle is parked in a parking bay designated for use by such badge holders – it does not mean that it is to be used where a vehicle is parked on double or single yellow lines.
 
An analogy is where a Traffic Management Order provides an exemption that allows a vehicle to park on yellow lines for up to 20 minutes for the purpose of loading or unloading; if a vehicle is seen loading or unloading, but for longer than 20 minutes, a PCN will be issued for parking in a restricted street, not for parking longer than permitted.
 
It follows that Mrs D’s car could not have been parking "for longer than permitted".
 
In these circumstances, whilst a different contravention (e.g. parked in a restricted street) may have occurred, I am not satisfied that the contravention actually alleged did occur.
 
I therefore allow the appeal.
 
Motorbike moved by road workers - 2170024867
 
The Appellant attended the personal hearing in this case.
 
The allegation in this case is that the vehicle was parked with one or more wheels on or over a footpath or any part of a road other than a carriageway. Mr. Y does not in fact dispute this but he says that he had parked his motorcycle legally with both wheels on the carriageway outside his home before going away from home for a spell. There had been no warning before he left but while he was away the road was resurfaced. He returned to find his motorcycle had been moved onto the footway and issued 2 PCNs. He later learned the motorcycle had been issued a further 2 PCNs.
 
The record made by the Civil Enforcement Officer merely confirms that the vehicle was parked as alleged.
 
The Enforcement Authority have provided evidence from their contractor of vehicles which were moved to facilitate the roadworks but these did not include this motorcycle. Nevertheless, I have had the opportunity to question Mr. Y and assess him as a witness. Having done so I am satisfied he has given a truthful and accurate account and that the vehicle was parked where it was issued the PCNs by someone who was in control of it without his consent. Accordingly I allow the appeal.
 
Mr. Y says that one of the remaining PCNs was cancelled by the Enforcement Authority and that he has paid the remaining 2 at the reduced amount of £55 each to save the amounts escalating. In the circumstances he may wish to ask the Enforcement Authority for a refund and to refer them to my finding of fact in this case. However, I have no power to make any order in relation to those 2 PCNs.
Council evidence vague and uncertain - 2170029102
 
These are civil proceedings. Both parties are under a legal duty to prove their case. They do so by way of evidence. Therefore they each have an evidential burden also.
 
Their evidential burden is on a balance of probabilities. Whose evidence is more probable?
Broadly construed, evidence is anything presented in support of an assertion. This support may be strong or weak.

The strongest type of evidence is that which provides direct proof of the truth of an assertion.
I find the local authority's evidence vague and uncertain. I find the appellant's evidence more persuasive.

I will therefore allow the appeal.
 
Legitimate expectation - 2170036571
 
I found the appellant, who appeared before me today, to be a credible and convincing witness.
 
He did not deny that he had stopped in a restricted area outside a school but said he had been doing so on a regular weekly basis for the past 6 years to set down his children he not before now receiving a PCN for doing so enforcement having only recently commenced friends of his having received warning notices for stopping as he did he however receiving a ticket. He also submitted that he had received the PCN late (at the end of December 2016) he having issues with his post.
 
The council appeared to accept that camera enforcement had only recently begun at this spot.
 
I was satisfied on the appellant's evidence due as I found to a lack of previous enforcement at this location that he had a legitimate expectation that if he stopped as he did he would not receive a PCN and I found for that reason that the contravention had not occurred.
 
I was not satisfied on the appellant's evidence that the PCN had been served upon him within the required 28 days statutory time period.
 
The appeal was for these reasons allowed.
 
Wrong papers - a data breach - 212003566A
 
The Appellant has appeared in person for today’s hearing, somewhat confused about the Enforcement Authority’s case.
 
This was not surprising since what the Enforcement Authority sent him relates to another case, involving another vehicle and another appellant entirely. Nothing in it relates to this present appeal.
Regulation 4(5) of the Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (England) Representations and Appeals Regulations 2007 (‘the Appeal Regulations’) provides that “procedural impropriety” means a failure by the enforcement authority to observe any requirement imposed on it by the Traffic Management Act 2004, by the Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (England) General Regulations 2007 or by these Appeal Regulations in relation to the imposition or recovery of a penalty charge or other sum and includes in particular (a) the taking of any step, whether or not involving the service of any document, otherwise than (i) in accordance with the conditions subject to which; or (ii) at the time or during the period when, it is authorised or required by the General Regulations or these Regulations to be taken; and (b)in a case where an enforcement authority is seeking to recover an unpaid charge, the purported service of a charge certificate under regulation 21 of the General Regulations before the enforcement authority is authorised to serve it by those Regulations.
 
I will assume that this is likely to be a genuine error by the Enforcement Authority rather than anything more, but the effect is the same.
 
Accordingly this appeal must be allowed.
 
As the numbers ahve droppe dit is clearly time for you to get that Appeal lodged. You can now do it on line here, it is really easy so don't not do it.
 
Yours appealingly
 
Miss Feezance

Monday, 20 February 2017

Tribunal Appeals - Jan 17


Richmond Rd, the trap awaits as you turn in
Gosh, here we are, bang up to date with my tribunal decision reporting.
 
In January 2017 there were 300 Appeals heard of which 161, a lovely 54%, went the way of the motorist. It really is worth the effort to complete that orange Appeal form and post it off to Nottingham, as you have a more than even chance of then paying nothing for your PCN, and you lose nothing if the discount option had gone.
 
There are 8 decisions for which you can now read the adjudicator's decision although I take out the name of the motorist even though it is published on the tribunal register.
 
Redundant dropped kerb since 2003
 
Mr B has appeared in person, supported by his father, Mr DB.
 
This PCN was issued at 10.43am on 4 July 2016 for the alleged contravention of being parked in a special enforcement area in Colin Gardens adjacent to a footway, cycle track or verge lowered to meet the level of the carriageway.
 
It is not in dispute that Mr B's car was parked next to a dropped footway. Mr Beeltah tells me that the dropped footway originally provided vehicular access to garages for 9 and 11 Colin Gardens. Mr Beeltah has been a resident of Colin Gardens since 1997. Mr B explains that, in around 2003, the Council gave permission for the garages to be removed and for the garage areas to be converted into part of the properties. He says that, since 2003, there has been no vehicular access with the garages gone. Images submitted in evidence show that the area is no longer used for vehicular access. Mr B says that he has parked his car across the dropped footway since the garages were removed.
 
I find Mr B to be an honest witness and I accept his evidence.
 
Since the footway has long since ceased to be lowered for the purpose of assisting vehicular access from the carriage way, I find that the prohibition in Section 86(1)(a)(iii) of The Traffic Management Act 2004 does not apply. I interpret the wording of the provision purposively so that the purpose for which the footway is lowered is to be read as a continuing purpose. The prohibition cannot continue to apply where an entrance way has effectively been blocked off and the purpose for which the footway was lowered has long since ceased to exist.
 
Zig zags - U turn if you want to.
 
Barnet council provide a very short section of CCTV footage taken on 19 October 2016 at 08:46. It shows Mrs D’s car, manoeuvring backwards and forwards in Whitings Road. As part of that manoeuvre, it is captured being momentarily stationary on a school crossing.
 
Mrs D’s account is that she was simply manoeuvring to pass congestion ahead while she decided the best way in which to proceed to work. In the event, she made a U turn, although the CCTV footage is far too short to demonstrate that.
 
It is entirely appropriate that enforcement authorities should look to enforce school entrance restrictions, and they are entitled to do so by camera. However, they do still have to provide sufficient evidence of a contravention. I do not find that they have done so in this case. As noted above, the CCTV footage shows the car stopped only as part of a driving manoeuvre. The footage confirms at least part of Mrs D’s account that there is congestion ahead, and her activities are entirely consistent with her account of attempting to manoeuvre past those.
 
The CCTV footage is in fact so brief that it unfairly does not show the whole of the incident that could support Mrs D’s version of events.
 
In any event, on the evidence provided, I am satisfied that the evidence shows nothing more than Mrs D carrying out a driving manoeuvre and being forced to stop as part of that manoeuvre. That is insufficient to demonstrate a “parking” or even a “stopping” contravention.
 
As the contravention is not proved I allow the appeal.
 
Overnight waiting ban - not adequately signed
 
The Appellant did not attend this hearing.
 
The Appellant argues that the signage for this restriction is inadequate and he refers to the Signs Manual which states as follows:
 
6.19 The sign [640.2A] is used either as a repeater sign within a controlled parking zone that applies only to commercial vehicles (see paras 12.15 to 12.18) or as the only sign on roads not forming part of a zone. In both cases, road markings are not used and enforcement depends on the upright signs only. At the start or end of any restriction that is not within a zone, the sign should include an arrow indicating the length of road to which the restriction applies. On other signs the arrow is omitted. In a zone, the Regulations require that at least one sign is provided on each side of every road. For roads not within a zone, additional signs might be required as there is no zone entry sign. In this case, the aim should be to provide signs at approximately 60 m intervals on each side of the road.
 
The restricted area was not within a zone where the signs were on entrance points to the zone (no evidence of such zonal signage has been provided) . The council in their summary state:
 
The Council would reiterate that the restriction is a borough wide ban and that signage meets statutory requirements. The Council would further advise that whilst signage indicating the overnight waiting ban is required on every street within the borough, it is not required on either side of the street in the borough. Annotated maps in evidence type H shows that the vehicle was parked within 100 metres distance from the time plate indicating the restrictions.
 
In fact the Manual recommends signs on each side of the road at intervals of 60 meters; this was not in place. Chapter 3 of the Manual sets out the relationship between it and the Traffic Signs Regulations & General Directions 2002 in these terms:
 
1.1 The Traffic Signs Manual is intended to give advice to traffic authorities and their agents on the correct use of signs and road markings. Mandatory requirements are set out in the current version of the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions; nothing in the Manual can override these. The advice is given to assist authorities in the discharge of their duties under section 122 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 and Part 2 of the Traffic Management Act 2004. Subject always to compliance with the Directions, which, except in Northern Ireland, are mandatory (see para 1.4), it is for traffic authorities to determine what signing is necessary to meet those duties, although failure to follow the Manual's guidance without good reason might well lead to enforcement difficulties. In particular, adjudicators might consider such failure to be evidence that the signing was unclear. Traffic authorities should always remember that the purpose of regulatory signs is to ensure that drivers clearly understand what restrictions or prohibitions are in force.
 
The council have given no reason, good or otherwise, why they have not followed the Manual’s guidance/recommendations and therefor I find that the signage in place was inadequate.
 
Yellow box junction - car cuts in from the side
 
The appellant attended the hearing.

The issue of this appeal is whether the said vehicle stopped within the box junction there owing to the presence of another stationary vehicle. It is a contravention if a person causes their vehicle to enter a box junction so that the vehicle has to stop within the box junction due to the presence of stationary vehicles.

I find that when the appellant made his move to enter the box junction there was enough space on the other side for his vehicle to clear the box junction.

The space was however taken by another vehicle entering the box junction from the other side.
Effectively the appellant's vehicle was, "Cut up."
I will therefore allow the appeal
 
Richmond Road school zig zags - a known trap spot
 
The appellant attended. Together we looked at the on-line footage.

He told me and I believed him that as he drove along this road there was a "Stand-off" between two vehicles out of camera vision.

Neither vehicle would give way, then one started reversing in the appellant's direction. Due to the fact that there were parked cars along the road the carriageway was narrow. That is why the appellant reversed-to allow the reversing "Stand-off" vehicle to come by. The on-line footage is too short in duration to confirm this but I accept it as fact.

I find that the appellant stopped in circumstances beyond his control.

I will therefore allow the appeal.
 
Richmond Road school zig zags - again
 
Mr R attended today. He was the driver on 9th November 2016. His wife, Julie R is the registered keeper of the car.
 
Mr R does not dispute that the car was stopped in a restricted area outside a school. Mr R states that his car was stopped for only so long as necessary to allow oncoming traffic to proceed. Mr R lives in Richmond Road a short distance from the school. He was no his way home having taken his own children to school. The children do not go to the school in Richmond Road. Mr R states that he would have no reason to stop the car in Richmond Road other than to wait for oncoming traffic as he was going home and he could park the car on the drive to his property.
 
I have seen the CCTV footage. The car stops at 08:45:00. At 08:45:12 the camera focuses on the timeplate at the location. The footage ends at 08:45:16. The footage shows a car parked in front of the appellant’s car. There is no evidence of any oncoming vehicle on the footage however I accept the appellant’s evidence that the only reason he had for stopping was to wait for traffic. Mr R explains that sometimes approaching cars stop to park to drop off children at the school.
 
I allow this appeal because I find that the reason that the car was stopped to wait for oncoming traffic.
 
I allow this appeal.
 
Saracens Event day zone not proven to be adequately signed
 
Mr S was scheduled for a personal hearing today but he was unable to attend and he has requested that the hearing proceed in his absence.
 
This PCN was issued for the alleged contravention of being parked in a permit space or zone in Longfield Avenue at 3.32pm on 9 October 2016 without clearly displaying a valid permit.
 
The Council says in its case summary that there was a permit holder only restriction between 1pm and 6pm on Event Days in the location where Mr S's car was parked.
 
I have looked at the CEO's images. They show no signage of any restrictions where the vehicle was parked. The Council submits a google image showing two parking signs at the entrance to Longfield Avenue. I am unable to see what is written on these signs even with the benefit of magnification.
 
Further, the images from the CEO show that there were no bay markings where Mr S's car was parked. The car was parked some distance into Longfield Avenue. This means that there was nothing at, or near to, the place of parking to alert the motorist to look for parking restrictions. A single yellow line will alert the motorist to look for CPZ restrictions where there is no signage in a particular street. A marked bay will similarly alert a motorist to look for parking restrictions.
 
I am not satisfied for these reasons that any restrictions were properly or adequately signed.
 
Yellow Box Junction - 3 lanes make situation impossible (case 2160497090)
 
The contravention is set out in the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016 (TSRGD).
 
The yellow box junction conveys the prohibition that:
 
"... no person shall cause a vehicle to enter the box junction so that the vehicle has to stop within the box junction due to the presence of stationary vehicles."
 
The prohibition has the following elements:
i. Causing a vehicle to enter the box junction,
ii. Stopping within the box junction, and
iii. That stopping being due to the presence of stationary vehicles.
 
There is always a risk that the traffic ahead will stop for one reason or another. The Highway Code accordingly advises motorists as follows: "you must not enter the box until your exit road or lane is clear".
 
It is not unlawful for a motorist to enter a box junction in a line of traffic or before there is a receiving space for his vehicle beyond the junction. While the Highway Code advice is simply that - advice, it is a reasonable interpretation of how a contravention can occur. A motorist who follows it cannot commit this contravention. A motorists who does not follow the advice is likely to find himself or herself in contravention.
 
In this case, the junction is quite large. At the material time, there are three entrances to one exit and all three entrances have vehicles waiting to enter the junction. None of the entrances are controlled by traffic signals. The High Code Advice cannot be adhered to. Each motorist must depend on at least two other motorists not moving into the junction. This begs the question as to what decides which motorist can enter the junction first when one receiving space becomes available. I have asked the Authority this question. It was either unable or unwilling to respond.
 
Under the above condition, I am not satisfied that the contravention has occurred.
 
I am refusing the appeal. (a typing error, it was allowed)
 
Such fun, all these Appeals. Go on, give it a go.
 
Yours appealingly
 
Miss Feezance

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Tribunal Appeals - school report 2016 - Barnet Council

The chart above shows the fluctuations in the number of Appeals being decided each month. Generally the Appeal is heard one month after it is lodged. Looking at the last 4 months alone is interesting. Since moving traffic contraventions started in earnest in the summer the number of Appeals has surged forward (January 17 sees a slight drop but probably as the tribunal was closed for 10 days for Xmas & New Year holidays).

Overall PCN issue figures are in the chart below, with comparatives for 2015.

Type
2015
2016
Bus lane
         11,601
           6,642
Moving traffic
                  -  
         39,150
Parking
       141,114
       149,168
Totals
       154,730
       196,976

It is very pleasing to see bus lane figures coming down despite the introduction of automatic cameras which miss almost nothing. Motorists have perhaps finally realised that they will be caught so had best stay out of the bus lane. Some people never enter a bus lane as a matter of policy and that may not be a bad policy. If the bus lane is not in operation there probably won't be a queue in the all traffic lane in any event so there is nothing to gain by using the bus lane.
 
Moving traffic (yellow box junctions, banned turns, school zig-zags etc) are the new real money spinner for Barnet Council. The figures are for less than a full year.



It will take a while for the penny to drop that a banned turn, like at Tilling Rd near Brent Cross, which you have been wrongly doing for 20 years, will now cost you £130 a time. Once people realise the numbers will fall a little. New cameras are springing up at every possible location though, as this cash cow is one to be milked, so the numbers may rise before they fall.
 
The biggest problem (success in the eyes of the council) is with yellow box junctions.

 
There needs to be a wholesale change with the way that people drive, so as to avoid PCN, and it will lead to slower journey times across the borough if everyone takes the cautious and correct approach of waiting until the box is clear before they enter it. How to do it is explained on the TfL page here. Note the sparse London traffic a la 1950.
 
School zig zag PCN's are remarkably low. 
 
 
 
24 locations are monitored, so ignoring August (one unlucky person when the school was closed and so Barnet choose not to enforce as no harm is being done) and April as that was when the scheme was just warming up, we have 7 month's data and this equates to a single contravention every 2 days per school. This is hardly a rate of contravention that calls for a six figure sum to be spent on cameras. Those stories of carmaggedon at school drop off and pick up time look likely to have been false news.
 
Remember that a PCN is not a personal attack on you, it is simply an attempt to open your wallet or purse. Officially these are all issued for traffic management purposes. Poppycock.

Appeal results

I nearly forgot.

Of the 2,202 Appeal heard in the year, the motorist won 1,193 of them which is 54% of them against a norm of 48% across London.

966 went the way of the council and 41 were the subject of a request by the adjudicator to just drop it even though the council was legally correct but there was compelling mitigation which an adjudicator cannot allow an Appeal on the basis of, only the council can.

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

London Tribunals - Dec 16 - Bunns fights

 
The month of December turned out, despite hearings finishing on 23 December, to be the busiest month of the whole year. There were a massive 321 hearings. Of those 174 were won which is 54% and a better result for motorists than the average across London (actually 48% won by motorists across London in the year ended 31 March 16). Well done everyone who went to the tribunal.
 
There are 5 cases for which I copy the words of the adjudicators (after changing people's names although they are published on the tribunal website).
 
Loading at 2 a.m.

The vehicle was parked on a double yellow line indicating a waiting restriction in operation 24 hours a day. The vehicle was therefore in contravention unless the Appellant is able to establish, on balance, that some exemption applied. He relies on the familiar exemption for loading, stating that he was picking up heavy kitchen equipment from his café.
 
Loading is in law essentially the process of transferring heavy or bulky goods from premises to a vehicle. The CEO saw no evidence of items being moved; however this is hardly surprising as he issued the PCN virtually instantaneously, recording an observation period of only one minute, at the end of which the Appellant had returned to the vehicle. In the absence of any evidence to suggest that he had some other purpose in bringing his vehicle to his café at 2.00 in the morning it seems to me overwhelmingly probable that the Appellant is correct and that the vehicle was there to be loaded.
 
The only real point to consider is whether the two or three minutes described by the Appellant during which he was checking the premises fall to be counted as “loading”. It seems to me that they are, on the basis that securing premises after loading goods is in my judgement a reasonably necessary part of the loading process, certainly if it is done immediately and without any undue delay.
 
It follows that, as it transpires, the vehicle was not in contravention and the PCN was incorrectly issued.
 
It is therefore unnecessary to consider the Appellant’s submissions regarding the subsequent procedures and correspondence
 
'Cut up' in a Yellow Box Junction
 
The appellant attended the hearing.

The issue of this appeal is whether the said vehicle stopped within the box junction there owing to the presence of another stationary vehicle. It is a contravention if a person causes their vehicle to enter a box junction so that the vehicle has to stop within the box junction due to the presence of stationary vehicles.

To stop means to come to a stand as in the course of a journey, to halt or to cease moving.

I looked at the on-line evidence.

I am satisfied that the appellant's vehicle could have cleared the box junction. It was the vehicle on the off-side threatening to take the appellant's vehicle space that caused the appellant's vehicle to have stopped.

It was the vehicle on the off-side, threatening to "Cut up" the appellant's vehicle, which otherwise would have cleared the box junction that causes me to allow the appeal.
 
Bunns Lane Car Park
Sign does not reflect the provisions of the Traffic Management Order
 
Mr NB attended today. His daughter, H B is the owner of the car. Mr B was the driver on 4th August.
 
The Penalty Charge Notice was issued for the contravention of parking without payment of the parking charge. It is not in issue that no payment was made to park in the Bunns Lane Car Park on 4th August. Mr B appeals as he states that he had sent a text to the correct number to pay to park his daughter’s car. He has an account set up with Pay by Phone and so he believed that the payment would be debited to his card.
 
Mr B provides a screen shots from his phone. I accept his evidence that a text was sent at 08:49 on 4th August. Mr B provides a photograph of the board in the car park. It provides information for existing users. The board states ‘when paying by text if you do not receive a confirmation text within five minutes of your transaction please call (a number is given) to confirm’ Mr B argues that the board does not state that if no confirmation text is received it means that the payment has not been processed. He provides evidence that in 2014 he frequently paid to park by text and did not routinely received any confirmatory text.
 
The Traffic Management Order states that the appropriate parking charge must be paid immediately on leaving the vehicle. It stated that in the case of a payment made using the telephone parking system payment of the charge shall be indicated by an indication that payment has been made using the telephone payment parking system.
 
I find that the notice in the car park does not clearly indicate to motorists the provision of the Traffic Management Order that states that the payment of the charge is indicated by an indication on the telephone. The sign on the board states only that if no text is received a phone call should be made.
I accept the appellant’s evidence that he thought that he had paid to park the car. I find that the signage in the car park does not clearly indicate that a payment is not made until an indication is received.
 
I allow this appeal.
 
Footway parking - 4 sided bay not authorised (in Cloister Rd)
 
Part of the vehicle, as seen in the photographs, is outside a marked bay which is on the road other than a carriageway, usually referred to as the pavement. The Enforcement Authority say that constitutes the contravention of parking on the pavement – one or more wheels on or over, for which no signs or markings are required. This presupposes that parking is allowed only within marked bays on the pavement rather than on the pavement area between two signs.
 
Where there is an issue as to whether or not the vehicle is in a permissible area, the Enforcement Authority must satisfy the Adjudicator as to the presence of signage and markings that show clearly what that area is and that they are both adequate and compliant.
 
The Enforcement Authority have not produced any evidence of the signs required - fig.667 Traffic Signs Regulations & General Directions 2002 and whether they include the words in marked bays.
Moreover, the Signs Manual provides at para. 8.6 - The signs described in para 8.5 [fig.667 ] may be used without any road markings. This would be appropriate where parking is allowed on a verge unsuitable for road markings or where there is no specific requirement for a designated parking place as described in section 7. Where bay markings are to be provided they must be to diagram 1028.4; no other marking is prescribed for verge or footway parking. For a bay that is wholly on the footway the three-sided version only must be used, the fourth boundary being the kerbline. The Regulations do not prescribe the four-sided marking for use wholly on the footway (i.e. remote from the kerb). This version of the marking is used for a bay that is partially on the footway and partially on the carriageway; no markings shall be omitted for that part of the bay which is on the carriageway.
The bay markings seen in the photographs are four sided contrary for which there is no provision absent any evidence of special DoT authorisation.
 
Accordingly, I cannot be satisfied that the signage or markings were compliant and/or clear and so must allow this appeal.
 
Bunns Lane Car Park - poor mobile phone signal
 
This PCN was issued for the alleged contravention of being parked in Bunns Lane Car Park at 9.56am on 19 September 2016 without payment of the parking charge.
 
It is not in dispute that a payment of £5.10 was made to park vehicle registration LT04JYR in Bunns Lane Car Park from 10.06am on 19 September 2016. It is also not in dispute that no payment had been made to park the vehicle at the time of issue of the PCN. The vehicle had been observed from 9.44am.
 
Mr R appeals because he is a regular user of the car park and he says that the network coverage for the area is very poor so that it is often not possible to make an immediate connection for payment of the parking charge. He says that he made the payment as soon as he had the connection. The Council says that 22 minutes from the time of parking is excessive.
 
I would normally agree with the Council that a period of 22 minutes is in excess of the time that would be permitted for a motorist to make a payment to park. However, each case must be considered on its own facts as there is no law which states that payment must be made within a specific period from the time of parking.
 
A motorist is allowed a reasonable period upon parking to make the payment to park. This will normally be no longer than a few minutes where a ticket is being purchased from a machine and a payment by phone can generally be made within a similar time frame. However, there will be occasions where there is no coverage or connection and a longer period for payment is required. I am satisfied from Mr R's evidence that this was one such occasion. Mr R clearly had every intention of making payment and was prevented from making an immediate payment through no fault of his own. I find in the circumstances that the alleged contravention did not occur.
 
The Council's suggestion in its case summary that it is a requirement that payment is made prior to leaving the vehicle cannot be correct. Where there is a connection issue as there was in this situation, it is likely to be the case that payment can only be made by leaving the vehicle.
 
Well done everyone, even if you lost the council had to pay a £30 tribunal fee that they cannot recover from you.

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance