Tuesday, 18 December 2012

PATAS - taken to the (dry) cleaners

This is one place people go to avoid parking tickets. We will miss our High Streets when they are gone.
The week starting 10 December was a quiet one at PATAS for some reason with 19 parking tickets cancelled and 6 upheld.

The Monday started with 2 parking tickets cancelled by order of the adjudicator. This usually means that NSL have not bothered to send in the evidence packs on behalf of Barnet Council.
An interesting case in Wildwood Road. The dropped kerb has not been lowered far enough to meet the carriageway so the parking ticket was cancelled.
A loading exemption was allowed for a person who was loading a suit, 4 shirts and a pair of trousers from the dry cleaners. This was described as a marginal case which it was although that dry cleaning is a slippery beast to handle and you don't want to get it all dirty by accidentally brushing against something. Usually anything that you are loading has to be heavy, bulky or somehow awkward to handle thus forcing the necessity of being near to your loading point.
Tuesday saw one case cancelled by order.
Another 4 cases on Wednesday cancelled by order and then 7 more on Thursday. What are we paying NSL for exactly?
On Friday there was an interesting case about the wording of a parking ticket for being in a loading bay as it did not refer to goods vehicle as being the allowed class. Parking tickets must be tightly worded if they are to succeed. This one was cancelled.

Only one more week to Christmas. Be careful around Christmas as some restrictions are still enforced. See the council website for details.

Keep those appeals coming.

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance

Thursday, 13 December 2012

PATAS - Loading a toilet isn't loading

for those flush with cash - a toilet shaped house
Yet another bad week for Barnet Council at PATAS with 52 parking tickets being cancelled and 23 being upheld. Notable cases as follows:

On Monday 3 December a person who was unloading furniture and who denied being served with a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) was found to be unloading and had their parking ticket cancelled. There seem to be a lot of cases where the traffic warden says the ticket was HTD (Handed to Driver) and the driver says it wasn't. It is rare for a traffic warden to have to attend PATAS and so they can tell all the lies they like with impunity.

Someone thought they should be let off a parking ticket because they were visiting their landlord to pay the rent. That is nowhere near a valid reason. You have to think of something better than that.

A parking ticket was cancelled because NSL failed to produce adequate evidence of the type of bay that was at issue. The adjudicator said about the evidence from NSL "Method of presenting is less than satisfactory".

In another case of payment being made by phone and applied to the wrong vehicle, which is quite common, the mistake was held to be that of Verrus as they had evidently made the mistake. If you have more than one vehicle and more than one credit card I would pair them up so that you won't be the victim of this sort of error. The PCN was cancelled.

NSL sent a letter saying a parking ticket would be reduced for prompt payment from £60 to £30 and if unpaid it would be increased to £110 which is wrong, the correct answer would be £90. This is a procedural impropriety and for that reason alone the parking ticket was cancelled.

Another case of overhanging a dropped kerb by a tiny (de minimis) amount led to the parking ticket being cancelled.

Tuesday started with 5 parking tickets being cancelled by the Adjudicator probably thanks to no evidence being supplied by NSL.

A PCN for being in a loading bay was cancelled as the PCN was not specific enough about what class of vehicle was allowed. In a similar case the notes and the photographs didn't prove that the vehicle was in a loading bay and so again the parking ticket was cancelled.

Wednesday saw another loading bay case. The evidence on behalf of Barnet Council was described as "thin" and there were no photographs so yet another parking ticket was cancelled.

Evidence seems to be a problem for NSL as it was described as "vague and uncertain" and the parking ticket was cancelled. The motorist faced with a financial penalty is entitled to see justice is done.

Evidence was almost certainly completely absent in the five parking tickets that day which were cancelled by Order of the Adjudicator and another one were the PCN was not produced which amounts to the same thing.

Thursday got off to a good start. Four cases saw parking tickets cancelled by order and the next because there were no photographs and no note of the road fund licence number.

Another motorist was loading equipment and so their parking ticket was cancelled.

The absence of sufficient signs to say the times of operation of yellow lines (at least every 60m) was sufficient grounds for the cancellation of the parking ticket.

A cheque for the 50% amount was not received at the parking office and so the poor motorist has to pay the whole amount. Might I recommend that payment of £1.55 for the signed for service is a good investment to avoid any doubt. We wouldn't want NSL to lose your appeal letter, now would we?

NSL or Barnet Council made a blunder when sending their evidence to the Adjudicator. the first copy PCN said the believed offence was for parking at the wrong time and the second copy PCN (of the same ticket) said it was for foot way parking. They invited the Adjudicator to disregard the first PCN copy supplied in error. He declined and cancelled the parking ticket. Procedural errors seem to be the usual order of things at NSL.

Friday started in the usual way with the Adjudicator cancelling three Parking tickets "By Order" almost certainly because he had no evidence to consider from NSL.

In one of my favourite cases the Adjudicator could see from the photographs that the driver was in the car with the brake on and the engine running. the traffic warden had not made a note of the tax disc number and there was no evidence of the service of the PCN so it was cancelled. the inference is that the traffic warden was over zealous in issuing without sufficient time of observation.

In another cracker the pavement works agent asked residents to park on the other side of the street to make doing his job easier. They complied and got issued with parking tickets. The Adjudicator said that in complying with the reasonable request of the agent of the council there was an expectation that they would not be ticketed and so cancelled the parking ticket.
The argument put forward that a motorist was loading a toilet into their vehicle was not accepted a loading which seems rather harsh as they are heavy and hard to handle. However, there had been a failure to extend the 50% discount period in response to informal representations and that amounted to a procedural impropriety which meant that the parking ticket got cancelled anyway.
Yet another administrative blunder saw a Notice of rejection issued on 31 August followed by a Charge Certificate on 3 September. This was far less than the 28 days that should have been allowed. The Adjudicator described the Charge Certificate as "an unlawful demand for money" and thus a procedural impropriety and the parking ticket was cancelled.
Do keep the appeals coming. Sending cases off to PATAS is not profitable for the council. Each appeal at PATAS costs them £44. The average ticket is worth about £90. So they paid out £3,300 last week and will recover £2,070 at the most as not everyone will pay the upheld parking tickets.
Yours appealing
Miss Feezance

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

PATAS - Saturday 1 December - Mr Mustard informs councillors

My friend Mr Mustard is not shy. He likes to keep councillors informed of how badly NSL are doing at PATAS as otherwise they probably wouldn't know.

remote management; it won't work like this

Dear Councillors

Sorry about the delay in keeping you up with cases at PATAS but their website was down for a day or two.

Friday 30th November 2012

On Friday 30th there were 7 cases. one was for parking on the pavement so quite correctly the parking ticket was upheld. The other 6 tickets saw no evidence packs sent to PATAS by BNSL. They are giving One Barnet a bad name. Is anything being done about it?

Saturday 1st December 2012

Saturday saw 8 cases. They would, on the average, end up with 2 parking tickets cancelled and 6 upheld. Not so in Barnet. Only 3 tickets were upheld. The 5 parking tickets which were cancelled all had very interesting comment by the Adjudicator (spelling errors left as typed) or circumstances of wider interest.

1. The adjudicator said about a note by a traffic warden that the "parking ticket was affixed to the vehicle but not secure" that "How the Council felt able to proceed on the basis of this evidence is something of a mystery".

2. The Appellant's case is that at the time of th observation the driver was in the process of obtaining the visitors permit, which has been produced.

On parking a vehicle in any bay the motorist is of necessity permitted the time required to do what is necessary to validate the parking whether to go to a machine and obtain a ticket or, as in the present case to enter premises and obtain a visitors permit. The time involved will in normal circumstances be brief and the motorist is required to act promptly. In the present case the very brief observation period does nothing to suggest that the driver did not do so and an explanation has been given for the delay, such as it was. I am satisfied the vehicle was parked within this allowable period. As it transpires the vehicle was not in contravention and the PCN was incorrectly issued.

3. The authority's case is that the appellant's vehicle was seen in a pay by phone bay at 12.05 and that a Penalty Charge Notice was issued at 12.08. This was handed to the driver. There are no photographs (presumably because the driver drove off before any could be taken) and the information about the vehicle is limited. There is no record, for example, of the road fund licence number or its expiry date.

The appellant says that he only stopped to pick up his wife. He also denies ever receiving the PCN. As the vehicle was parked in a phone bay, I am quite surprised that a PCN should have been produced after only three minutes. It does take some time for a CEO to check whether or not a payment has been made. I note the lack of the road fund licence number and conclude, at the least, that this PCN must have been hurriedly prepared. I am not satisfied that it was correctly served and for that reason I will allow the appeal.

4. This is a personal appeal attended by the Appellant who does not dispute that he had driven in the bus lane. It appeared from the still CCTV images filed that his car had been driven in the bus lane for some seven seconds.

In his initial challenge, the Appellant explained his medical condition and that he had a panic attack at the time of the alleged contravention. The Appellant's evidence filed prior to this hearing confirmed that he was under the care of the Brent Adult Mental Health Psychology (Complex Care) Department for Psychological Therapy, and he filed additional medical evidence at the hearing confirming that he suffered from Bipolar Affective Disorder.

It is relevant to this case that I consider whether any exemption applies having regard to the circumstances but the Enforcement Authority has failed to include with its evidence extracts from the relevant local Traffic Management Order setting out the exemptions that applied. They ought to have done so in the light of the evidence already filed by the Appellant and, due to that omission, I am unable to be satisfied whether the Appellant's actions may, on this occasion, have been exempted under that Order. I must therefore allow the appeal.

5. The Appellant attended before me today to explain the contention personally.

The Appellant denies liability for the Penalty Charge Notice on the basis of the prevailing circumstances as contained in his written representation, which he reiterated and comprehensively detailed at the Hearing, supported by a copy garage invoice.

I found the Appellant's oral evidence to be cogent and credible and I accepted it in its entirety.

The Enforcement Authority who assert that the said vehicle was so parked contrary to an operative restriction are obliged to adduce evidence to the requisite standard to substantiate that assertion, including an accurate copy of the Penalty Charge Notice.

The evidence upon which the Enforcement Authority rely comprises the a copy Penalty Charge Notice which the Enforcement Authority state "emulates the information and layout of" the Penalty Charge Notice, and computer-generated screen prints purporting to be the contemporaneous notes made by the Civil Enforcement Officer, together with photographic evidence: still frames revealing the said vehicle in situ.

The Enforcement Authority also adduce a Google street view image, which is of limited evidential value since the knowledge of the annotator is not known, and it is not possible to correlate the same to the position of the said vehicle.

Notwithstanding that the allegation relates to an incidence of parking adjacent to a dropped footway, the copy Penalty Charge Notice bears a contravention code number 01 which, despite the wording on the copy document, relates to a different contravention.

Further, the photographic capture does not demonstrate the level of the kerb viz a viz the carriageway and I cannot assess the contemporaneaity of the civil enforcement officer's record from the computer-generated screen prints.

Evidentially therefore I cannot be satisfied that this contravention occurred, accordingly I allow this Appeal.


So what we can see from these 5 cases is that the there is no proper control over what NSL are doing. It is the law that formal appeals are dealt with by the council. Either they are and they are not being given sufficient and mature consideration, perhaps because of the desperate desire to meet the expectations of the Special Parking Account figures, or they aren't and they are being dealt with by NSL on the quiet which is purely and simply wrong.

What we also see from Friday's cases is a lack of adherence to the terms of the contract and zero comeback on NSL (as far as I am aware, if you know different do please tell me). This will be much worse for any failure on NSCSO as it is so complicated by comparison to a simple parking contract.

An outsourced provider isn't necessarily any better, or any worse, just more remote and thus much harder to manage. If you have a vote on Thursday evening, do please think hard before you exercise it.

I will see you there.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

So it is as I tell you every week. Keep putting the appeals in as you stand a better than evens chance of winning your case.

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance

Monday, 3 December 2012

PATAS w/c 26 November 12

Freddie Flintoff tried his hand at boxing this week having previously played the game of cricket.
NSL traffic wardens could have been the people who gave rise to the saying of "It's just not cricket" but they don't do boxing matches either.

Chess is much more genteel
NSL are so afraid of the opponent, or due to their lack of training, that rather than even turn up for the matches at PATAS they throw in the towel before the start of the round.
I can't tell you about Saturday's results as the PATAS computer is having a rest. If there is anything notable I will add it later.
Monday's matches saw NSL throw the towel in 8 times so 8 motorists got their parking tickets cancelled.
Tuesday saw 5 more episodes of towel throwing. Two tickets were upheld. One for stopping on zig-zags because your blind son is choking in the back of the car. The second for a technical argument which had no merit. 5 other cases were considered. In the first the motorist has to stop in the road to open the gate to his property. There was another car in the way which he moved, the independent Adjudicator saw this as a merely incidental delay and cancelled the parking ticket.
A failure by NSL to deal with an informal challenge was a procedural impropriety so the parking ticket was cancelled.
A badly parked car was given a parking ticket, parking parallel to the kerb does look neater, but isn't a reason to be given a parking ticket. All of the car was not 50cm from the kerb and so the parking ticket was cancelled.
A motorist paid-by-phone and a B was recorded as a V in the car registration (a Spanish operative at Verrus?). The error is more likely to be by Verrus the provider and so the parking ticket was cancelled. Why Barnet Council and/or NSL take this miserable approach to what is an obvious administrative error is a question that needs to be answered.
The final cancelled parking ticket concerned a motorist who paid £3 and then another £5 to pay-by-phone and still got a parking ticket in the Lodge Lane car park. The motorist produced their bank statements and mobile phone bill. Barnet Council were asked by the Adjudicator to comment and none came.
Wednesday saw NSL throw the towel in 11 times so 11 parking tickets were cancelled.
Thursday was very busy with 4 parking tickets upheld and 26 cancelled. In 13 of these NSL threw in the towel. Other notable cases included a blue badge that was not displayed on the dashboard because the motorist couldn't reach it. It is always clearly displayed in the side window and so would have been easy to see if the traffic warden wanted to see it. The blue badge scheme rules say that if there isn't a dashboard in your car you must put the badge in a place where it can clearly be seen. A side window is an obvious choice. The independent Adjudicator thus cancelled the parking ticket but what sort of society do Barnet Council and/or NSL inherit which allows them to treat the disabled like this? My suspicion is that the traffic warden deliberately didn't take a photo of the side of the car.
A removal company got a parking ticket in the "High Street". They asked the council which one. Answer came there none. The Adjudicator noted that the local authority had been unhelpful. I think the independent adjudicators are starting to get a bit hacked off with Barnet Council.
There were 2 cases of parking tickets not having been properly served which happens quite a lot.
Friday 30th saw another 6 flings of the towel. There was just one case in which the parking ticket was upheld, for parking on the pavement. Defences to that offence are not easy to succeed with. Please stay off the pavement.
You can see what a complete mess NSL are in so it is well worth the trouble to appeal to PATAS. Keep those appeals coming.

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

PATAS - w/c 19 November 12

Parking woes are everywhere
This week the final score was 36 parking tickets cancelled and 17 upheld including some which were listed as refused but were in fact allowed, funny things statistics.

The interesting cases were

Mon 19: Council evidence very brief and no photos. PCN cancelled.

A motorist stopped in East barnet Rd and asked a traffic warden if he could park there. On being told "no" he went to the free car park and still somehow got a parking ticket. There was no note of his road fund licence number, no photographs and confusion in the council records as to whether it was Friday or Saturday. The parking ticket was cancelled.

A contravention for parking next to a dropped kerb was not upheld as the Notice of Rejection did not contain details of how to appeal which is a procedural impropriety.

A motorist parked on the pavement because his son had a broken leg and the father naturally wanted to make it as easy as possible to get the boy into the car to take him to hospital. The Adjudicator had to uphold the ticket as this related to the exercise of discretion which is outside his remit but told the council that they should allow the appeal. What sort of miserable baskets do we employ (it is not clear if they are at NSL or in the client side or both).

Another procedural impropriety when the Letter of Rejection said £110 when it should have said £60. PCN cancelled.

Someone got 2 PCN at a six minute interval. One upheld and the other to be cancelled.

There was yet another case with procedural errors so the PCN was cancelled.

On Tues 20 four parking tickets were cancelled by Order of the Adjudicator as the evidence packs had not arrived from NSL (is the usual reason).

Another case in Ballards Lane showed the vehicle being driven away in the photos. There were poor notes. The PCN was cancelled. There are a number of what look to be very opportunistic cases of ticket issuing where the driver has not committed any contravention. I think that if you stopped because your trousers were on fire, an NSL traffic warden would give your car a ticket whilst you rolled around putting the flames out.

In Hoop Lane the council / NSL didn't provide proof that the vehicle was inside a CPZ so the parking ticket was cancelled.

In Grahame Park Way a parking ticket for parking across a dropped kerb that was redundant i.e. it had no purpose, pedestrians did not use it to get anywhere, was cancelled.

A motorist who went to a Paypoint shop to pay and couldn't because the machine was not working had their parking ticket cancelled because they simply returned to their car and left the parking place. What else could they reasonably do?

Another motorist went looking for a Pay and Display machine (fat chance). When they didn't find one they drove off. The PCN was not handed to them as the traffic warden claimed. The PCN was cancelled.

On Wed 21 all four PCN were cancelled by Order of the Adjudicator.

On Thurs 22 a parking ticket was noted by the traffic warden as HTD (handed to driver). The driver said not and appeared in person at PATAS. There were not any photos. The driver was believed.
In a very interesting appeal the motorist had a letter saying that pavement parking would not be enforced in Cenacle Close NW3 (a very nice cul-de-sac just off the heath) and yet his parking ticket had to proceed all the way through the whole 3 stage appeal process. Now either the left hand and the right hand are not connected at Barnet Council / NSL or there is a cynical attempt to screw the motorist. The appeal had to be refused but Barnet Council were told to cancel the ticket all the same so that is simply a technicality.
A motorist attending funeral prayers parked across the dropped kerb of the house at which the prayers were taking place. There had not been any request to enforce at that location and so the parking ticket was cancelled.
Barnet Council were asked to look again at several tickets for one motorist where they had dragged their feet in answering his correspondence. I suspect that once they do they will have to cancel at least some of the tickets.
On Friday 23 an appeal was allowed for foot way parking because there were no photos.
Another case was for blocking a dropped kerb which only gave access to the dustbins. That is not a purpose for which kerbs are dropped under the relevant parking legislation and so is not an offence. The ticket was cancelled. Will Barnet Council carrying on issuing such tickets? probably.
In Crewys Rd NW2 the motorist claimed that the signs and lines were wrong. The council did not deal with the substantive argument which is a procedural impropriety and thus the parking ticket was cancelled. I can see from looking at Streetmap that the lines are wrong - why couldn't the traffic warden; it is part of their job to check before they issue a parking ticket.
On Sat 24 a motorist argued that he parked his car legally and due to close parking at that location his car got bumped into a contravention. He was believed. If you are sincere and honest there is every chance that the independent Adjudicator will see that; don't lie to him/her as they will be able to tell.
One case was refused but due to Barnet Council saying they would accept £30 they had to do so. The appeal cost the council £46 and the motorist nothing.
The final case was refused but without any sum of money having to be paid because the rules had not been followed by Barnet Council. Another £46 burnt.
You can gather from all of these cases that if you have an argument it is worth following it all the way to PATAS. There is a more than 50/50 chance that you ticket will be cancelled. You can either have a half day out in Islington or have the matter dealt with by post. The council are rarely required to send anyone to appear. they do it all by post, or more likely, don't bother as NSL can't seem to cope. If more appeals go in, including yours, they will be less able to cope.
Yours appealingly
Miss Feezance

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

All parking tickets are invalid?

A guest blog by my friend Mr Mustard:

Christmas has come early. 
Mr Mustard was alerted to a recent case at PATAS in which the independent Adjudicator had no hesitation in declaring the PCN / Penalty Charge Notice / parking ticket non-compliant with the relevant Regulations and thus not enforceable i.e. Barnet Council have to cancel it, they simply have no choice. If the council, acting by themselves or via their agent NSL Ltd, do not concede that the wrongly worded PCNs are indeed not compliant then they run the risk of a large number of appeals to PATAS which cost the motorist nothing save a little time and cost the council £46 each time and many man hours. Recent history is that NSL cannot cope with the need to prepare appeal files for PATAS, that many do not get filed, and that the PCN are then cancelled.
So if you have a parking ticket which, just has below the times during which your vehicle was observed, the words in blue, then you are home and dry for a cancellation.
Pcn Correct and Incorrect Wordings

Now Mr Mustard will save you some time. He has drafted a standard appeal letter which you can download, print out and send off to Worthing. It would be sensible to send this by the "Signed for" service (the former Recorded Delivery) so that no-one can deny that you sent in an appeal (as if a council or its agent would cheat or lie!).

You can use this letter if you have only just received the parking ticket as well as if you have received the Notice to Owner.

Pcn Appeal Letter 1g 1h Wording
Please do let Mr Mustard know if you Appeal is not accepted and he may well step in to assist as he is becoming well known in the thin client parking section and when Mr Mustard writes what the staff know to be the truth they simply cancel the parking ticket.
There are two questions which come to mind.
1. Having fallen foul of a date error in 2006 which was not in accordance with the then applicable Road Traffic Act 1991, in the infamous Moses case, how have Barnet Council managed to fail to comply with the legislation once again?
2. Given that the parking enforcement contract was awarded to NSL Ltd partly because of their supposed expertise in this area, why have they not noticed the incorrect wording and suggested it be corrected?
So much for One Barnet outsourcing being the end to Barnet Council's problems.
If Mr Mustard has already advised you on an appeal using different grounds, please also send one of these forms in to make sure that your parking ticket does get cancelled.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

If you need his help please email mrmustard@zoho.com

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

PATAS - 40-14 to the motorist - week starting 12 Nov

Just another normal week at PATAS.  On Monday 4 parking tickets were cancelled by Order of the Adjudicator (lack of evidence is the usual cause) and 3 were cancelled as there were inadequate notes by the traffic warden and no photographs. The only case that was lost was because a car was in a loading bay for lorries. Do not park your car in a loading bay.

This sign with the sack barrow means "lorries only"
On Tuesday there were 6 non-contested cases and the Adjudicator ordered all 6 parking tickets to be cancelled.
On Wednesday another 6 parking tickets were cancelled by Order of the Adjudicator so clearly NSL are not yet up to the job. Two more were cancelled because the Penalty Charge Notice was not produced which is more or less the same problem. One case that was lost by the motorist when they were at their doctors undergoing a minor procedure which ran over by 11 minutes. The council / NSL asked to see proof which was provided but then they still wanted the parking ticket to be paid - why ask for proof then if you are going to ignore it?
There was the usual collection of people wanting to pay 50% when too late, cases without photographs, parking tickets not handed to the driver as alleged, a blue badge clock not displayed and a de minimis (i.e. very little) overhang of a dropped kerb.
Thursday 15 saw 5 parking tickets cancelled by Order. A parking ticket issued in 1 minute where there wasn't a note of the tax disc number or any photographs was cancelled and there were 4 cases where the Adjudicator was not satisfied that the parking ticket was served and so it was cancelled.
You can now learn some traffic warden shorthand. HTD = Handed to driver. In this case they were loading fruit and veg and the adjudicator was not satisfied that the parking ticket was handed over so he cancelled the ticket.
Friday was a quieter day with only 5 cases. Interestingly, liability for a bus lane fine is not passed to the hirer under a hire agreement. The hire car company has to pay it and then try to recover their money. There was a cloned vehicle, these cases don't usually make it as far as PATAS. In another case which really should not have got as far as PATAS the lady motorist had permission to park across the dropped kerb.
The week finished with 1 case on the Saturday in which the adjudicator was not satisfied that the parking ticket had been served.
Keep those appeals going in. They are worth every penny of the fee that you don't pay. They cost you nothing.
Yours appealingly
Miss Feezance

Monday, 12 November 2012

PATAS - another bad week for the council

The week commencing Monday 5 November was another damp squib, in firework terms, for Barnet Council and NSL. Of the 56 parking tickets contested at PATAS the independent adjudicators cancelled all but 11 of them.
Notable cases as follows:
Monday 5: 6 cases cancelled by Order of the Adjudicator (usual reason is that NSL have not submitted the evidence pack i.e. not done their job) in 3 more cases a copy of the Penalty Charge Notice (PCN=parking ticket) was not produced which is more or less the same reason and one of those was after a 2 week adjournment had been allowed and in 2 cases the PCN had not been properly served i.e. not stuck to windscreen or given to the driver. In another case the council put the wrong vehicle registration into the system so that ticket had to be cancelled.
Opposite 121 Golders Green Rd is apparently a very good place to catch the disabled out as a bus stop has been extended over the old disabled space and the lines are not clear. The motorist got the benefit of the doubt and hopefully will not park there again.
Pay-by-phone was the source of more trouble. A lady had 3 cars registered and a new debit card which her daughter had wandered off to the shops with. By the time she got her card back, registered it and paid for parking on the correct car 10 minutes had elapsed and a ticket had been issued. The independent adjudicator was sympathetic to the difficulties caused by pay-by-phone probably because he could see that it was a one-off set of circumstances and there was a genuine willingness to pay.
A taxi driver who left his car on double yellow lines whilst he found his passenger was out of luck. You just can't leave your car unattended on double yellows.
Tuesday 6: More failure to supply evidence packs or copy PCNs by NSL.
If you get a parking ticket in Hodford Rd it will be worth your while to get a copy of the TMO (Traffic Management Order) as it seems that a single bay in the Order has been split into 2 pay-by-phone bays with different numbers and so being given a parking ticket for using the wrong code number is not valid.
There was a failure to deal properly with appeal correspondence in respect of a dropped footway in Albert Place, Finchley Central. That was enough to get the parking ticket cancelled. You see, it is worth your while to send letters of appeal.
Wednesday 7: Someone in a bus lane was lucky as the council messed up the submission of their evidence and so the parking ticket was cancelled. Please stay out of bus lanes during the hours that they are in force.
Possibly one of the worst cases I have read about. A lady stopped her car because her daughter, in the back seat, was choking on crisps. By the time she had sorted that out she was in receipt of a parking ticket. Who amongst us is going to find an empty pay-by-phone bay, park in it and then ring up and pay whilst their daughter is choking to death on the back seat? Do councillors know what is being done in their name by traffic wardens employed by NSL?
A parking ticket for being parked in Cricklewood Broadway was cancelled as being the wrong location. I think the motorist was much further down the A5.
A motorist received a parking ticket for being parked on the footway. He claimed victimisation and was told to take it up with the council (being bullied? ask the bully to stop. Now why won't that work?) Best stay off the pavement and out of trouble is my advice.
In an unsatisfactory case a faded yellow line was found to be sufficiently clear. What is sufficiently clear becomes a very difficult question. In the rain lines will be less clear. Lines should always be crystal clear in my view before tickets are issued.
A ticket was cancelled because it was missing from the car, there were no photographs and no explanation as to what had happened. Is this a game that traffic wardens play? think of a registration number and a random street and just put them into your handheld equipment?
A Charge Certificate (which increases the fine by 50%) was issued in error and then cancelled. This did not invalidate the ticket which surprises me as I would have said that was a procedural impropriety. It isn't clear how quickly the cancellation was done. If it was the next day that might not be unreasonable.
A parking ticket was issued to someone for partially blocking someones drive i.e. across a dropped kerb, following a phone call by the resident to the council. The ticket was upheld. Please don't block dropped kerbs of people you don't know.
Thursday 8: Someone claimed there were no signs showing the parking times. The Adjudicator showed the motorist some on google streetmap and upheld the parking ticket. Always tell the Adjudicator the truth.
In a very interesting case to do with pay-by-phone evidence of the fact that the special sign had been properly authorised was not produced and so the parking ticket was cancelled.
Friday 9: In a case where it was disputed that the motorist had been handed the parking ticket it was noted that there was not a description of the motorist. Did you know that traffic wardens made a little note of what you look like because I didn't?
Another appeal was allowed where the PCN had gone missing from the car and there were no photographs. All very odd.
A motorist who was given a parking ticket for parking across a dropped kerb was lucky to get their parking ticket cancelled as it should have been for parking on the footway. Please don't do either.
In a case of damaged signage it was held to be impossible for the motorist to pay as they couldn't read the bay number. The parking ticket was cancelled. This was in the notorious black spot of North Finchley.
Saturday 10: Another nasty mean vindictive case. A motorist was changing his wheel following a puncture and is given a parking ticket. The notes of the traffic warden did not stand up to scrutiny. He said the motorist was not there but he is in the photograph and he appeared in person in front of the Adjudicator. that sounds like a case where costs could be claimed as the behaviour of the council has clearly been unreasonable.
It is clear that you have nothing to lose (the cost of the parking ticket does not increase if you appeal and you have probably already missed the cut-off for paying at the discounted rate) by appealing and everything to gain.
Yours appealingly
Miss Feezance

Monday, 5 November 2012

PATAS - no comment

So we here we go another week, one in which my good friend Mr Mustard had to listen to a council officer say that the teething troubles in the parking contract were over. They don't seem to be!
In the week commencing Monday 29 October PATAS upheld 9 parking tickets and cancelled 26 so it was good week for the motorist. Of the 35 hearings, 15 of them were cancelled by Order of the Adjudicator which usually means that the evidence pack did not arrive from Barnet Council / NSL. They just throw in the towel if you test them hard.
How hard can it be to print out a few scanned documents, emails and traffic management orders and put them in an envelope to PATAS and the motorist?
The first case of interest this week was like last week another crossover, this time in Sebright Rd which is very narrow and short of space. It is outside a CPZ. In other boroughs dropped kerbs to residential properties are only enforced if there is a request by the resident i.e. a car they don't know is across their drive and they can't get in or out. In Barnet they take the opposite route and ticket every car even though it might belong to the owner and then put them through the administrative nightmare of appealing. The only reason I can think of is because it is more profitable that way. In this case the Adjudicator found that due to the layout the resident had given permission.
One resident appealed two tickets, the first on the grounds that he was never there and didn't get the ticket and the second on the grounds he was dropping off the kids but no credible evidence was produced. if you want your ticket to be overturned you have to put in a credible case with supporting paperwork and photos. A little effort could well be rewarded. Be consistent and tell the truth.
The Adjudicator was content to cancel a parking ticket in circumstances where he was satisfied that Verrus had incorrectly recorded the registration number. I mean, who knows your registration better, you, or someone in a call centre. Best to use the NATO phonetic alphabet, Alfa, Bravo, Charlie, Delta etc.
Everything happened on a case in Kitchener Rd, East Finchley. The yellow line was not properly finished at the end, the termination mark was missing. The line was also very worn (so the ticket should not have been issued in the first place). The parking ticket went missing from the car (always assuming the traffic warden didn't photograph the ticket and then remove it afterwards as has been reported to have happened in the past). We don't know if the Adjudicator would have cancelled the parking ticket on the grounds of non-compliant lines, although he should have but the question was not considered as the Rejection Notice said that the parking ticket was for parking on a double yellow line when it was a single! That is a procedural impropriety and so the ticket has to be cancelled.
A motorist paid £3 by phone in the Lodge Lane car park and then another £5. He provided proof of payment. The council were invited to comment but there was no response so the parking ticket was cancelled on the assumption that was what the council wanted..
A motorist said he had not been handed the ticket. As the notes of the Civil Enforcement Officer (traffic warden) were minimal the ticket was cancelled as not served.
In one case the council / NSL requested a 2 week adjournment but still failed to produce the evidence and submitted a Do Not Contest notice on the day before the hearing. it is a good job that PATAS are better organised than NSL who can't deal with things with 14 days notice, never mind just one.
One motorist was given a parking ticket for not having completed the vehicle registration on a visitor voucher. As the motorist pointed out the latest visitor vouchers do not require a registration number so this seems to be rather a mean spirited ticket. The council / NSL were silent in response to enquires and so the parking ticket was cancelled.
I think you are getting the idea about what you have to do with a parking ticket. You have to take 3 actions.
1. an informal request to cancel the ticket.
2. a formal appeal.
3. send your case to PATAS as it is free and you still get to pay the ticket at the £60, £110 or £130 rate if the case goes against you.
You don't actually have to attend PATAS who are happy to decide appeals based upon the paperwork although if you have the time I am sure it would make for a fascinating day out. The appeals are held in an informal setting.
Keep those appeals coming.
Yours appealingly
Miss Feezance

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

PATAS - 48 to 17 - w/c 22 October

A Schwinn with 48-17 gear ratio
Another disastrous week for Barnet Council / NSL with motorists winning 48 cases and the council's parking tickets being upheld in only 14. In the year to March 11 the usual result pattern was about 50/50 but in the following year the outcome changed a little in favour of the council with a typical 64/36 ratio in favour of the council (we could call that 2 to 1 for round numbers)

Now either the council have got better at issuing tickets or motorists are contesting more and not doing a very good job of it. They should look for help from either a professional firm or friends who are expert. The council & NSL do make plenty of errors, you simply have to spot which one they made this time. Start with signs and lines; are they clear, correct and compliant?

Is the PCN (parking ticket) for the correct offence as if not it is immediately invalid? I have seen parking tickets given for not displaying a blue badge when the car was in a loading bay.

The next question is has the process been followed correctly? When I have time I will draw up a flowchart of stages and time limits to assist you.
The interesting cases last week were as follows.
The evidence (of Barnet Council) is at best unreliable and misleading - from the notes of the adjudicator. In addition the photographs were not adequate.
A parking ticket was cancelled for the "contravention" of parking across a dropped kerb with the consent of the resident. Why oh why this has to go all the way to PATAS is a question that Barnet Council & NSL should be asking themselves. They aren't hoping that the motorist will give up and pay are they? (Don't park across a dropped kerb in a CPZ though and not to business premises either).
The danger of postal orders was illustrated when one sent to Worthing for £55 was said not to have been received and now the penalty is £110. I hope the person kept a photocopy of the Postal Order so that they can reclaim their money.
In another case a resident parked across their own dropped kerb and due consideration was not given to representations (I think NSL reject all representations as a matter of course as most people then give in. Don't. Follow the process. The parking ticket was cancelled.
Yet another dropped kerb case where only the bumper was across the kerb and it didn't stop anyone using the access. The overhang was described as "de minimis" or in English, "not worth bothering about". This was over zealous ticketing by NSL. Ticket cancelled.
It was all dropped kerbs last week. Perhaps that has been one of NSL's recent campaigns to get ticket numbers up. A single yellow line across a dropped kerb at Vineyard Ave (off Bittacy Hill) was described as confusing and misleading and so the parking ticket was cancelled.
Formal representations have to be dealt with within 56 days, which is 8 weeks and more than long enough to reply to a letter. Longer was taken and so the ticket must be cancelled as that is a procedural impropriety. Did that happen to you, did you respond to a Notice to Owner and not hear within 56 days. If you did, then demand the parking demand be cancelled. If you paid, ask for your money back + postage and any costs you incurred.
Lots of parking tickets cancelled by Order of the Adjudicator as usual, which usually means that evidence was not submitted by Barnet Council / NSL which was actually highlighted by the Adjudicator in one case noting that he had granted a 2 week adjournment for that very purpose.
In another cracking piece of work photographs of the wrong car were submitted as evidence. The inevitable result was the cancellation of the parking ticket.
Another dropped kerb in Trinder Rd near Barnet Hospital in which the parking ticket was cancelled. This location has been in the local papers and might be again soon. If not, I will write about it.
One lucky motorist could not safely get his car onto his snow covered drive on or around 8 February (Why are traffic wardens out in the snow issuing tickets? - wouldn't they be better deployed actually clearing snow off of the pavements to help pedestrians - if that was considered to be a good idea the trouble now is that would have to be in the contract with NSL and it isn't and would be a variation which would doubtless be the subject of a demand for extra money ) and so he left it in a residents bay and the Adjudicator did not find that to be an appealing argument. I advise all motorists with sloping drives to lay in a supply of gritty sand and/or rock salt and a large snow clearing shovel (Costco have some) and grit/salt their drive so that you do not get stuck in the same way. Use the council supply of grit to grit on the road outside your house. Go and look now for the nearest yellow grit bin.
Having lost the argument the motorist won the day because the Adjudicator noticed that the date of service of the parking ticket was recorded as 8 February 12 (when there was snow) and the date of the parking ticket was recorded as 30 May 12 (when I hope it doesn't snow). Oops, that is a procedural impropriety and so the parking ticket was cancelled.
In Sunny Gardens Road, the signage was found to be unclear with the signs for single yellow lines considered to be too far apart. Every 60m is recommended. The council / NSL also did not produce clear information about the situation and in such a case ambiguity is usually considered in favour of the negatively affected party i.e. the motorist whose parking ticket was thus cancelled.
Yet another dropped kerb case this time involving a delivery. That is the fourth exception listed in S.86 of the Traffic Management Act 2004. The parking ticket was cancelled. Why didn't the traffic warden know this, NSL know this and act accordingly by cancelling the ticket, Barnet Council know this when they dealt with the formal appeal. It wouldn't be because of pressure to rake in extra money would it?
Possibly my favourite case was the last one that week. The wrong amount was demanded in the rejection notice of a formal appeal. the council/NSL argued that was simply a grammatical error. The Adjudicator was having none of it. It was a serious procedural error which prevented the council from demanding payment. This related to a parking ticket issued on 2 June 2012 so NSL have no-one to blame but themselves.

Please keep those appeals coming.

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Are NSL even trying to perform at PATAS?

the two secrets to outsourcing
In the week which started on Monday 15th October the cases which PATAS adjudicated upon finished with 51 parking tickets cancelled and 13 upheld. I am starting to think that NSL can't be bothered.
There were 28 cases where no evidence was submitted or where the Adjudicator ordered the cancellation of the ticket which is likely to be for lack of evidence.
The interesting cases included one where a parking ticket was issued for offering goods for sale from a vehicle. However it was the vehicle which was for sale so the ticket was cancelled as the Adjudicator felt this was too strict a reading of the applicable law as otherwise every sign written van would have to be ticketed.
I would be wary of trusting a traffic warden. He told one motorist she was lucky and went on his way and then later claimed he had served a ticket on her. She lost her appeal.
One motorist stood in front of the traffic warden so that the vehicle could not be photographed. There was no photograph showing a parking ticket stuck to the windscreen. The time plate photograph was at 45 degrees and so not clear. The bay and map and time plate were not clear relative to one another so the parking ticket was cancelled.
A motorist who paid for bay 9323 instead of 9324 was unlucky. This is mitigation which the Adjudicator does not deal with. Thoroughly mean spirited of the council though as there has obviously been an insignificant administrative error by the motorist.
My favourite appeal is the one which was allowed and where the Adjudicator said "The council's case appears to be in a state of hopeless disarray".
In another confused case the motorist was in a loading bay but received a parking ticket for being in a disabled parking bay. Thus, the parking ticket was cancelled.
Keep those appeals coming. There looks to be a more than evens chance that if you take your appeal all the way to PATAS you will get your ticket cancelled.
Yours appealingly
Miss Feezance

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Barnet FC woke up - Barnet Council still not scoring properly

Barnet FC gym
If I had known that all it would take to jolt Barnet FC into scoring action was last week's blog post, I would have written it earlier.

The latest score at PATAS (week ended 13 October) was 23-6 in favour of the motorist. It will take a lot longer to get Barnet Council to perform. Here is a day by day breakdown from PATAS along with any interesting points.

Monday's score was 7-2 to the motorist.
There were 5 cases in which Barnet Council / NSL did not supply any evidence so the parking tickets were cancelled.
One case that was refused was of a motorist who went to a shop to pay as there was no parking meter. There was queue in the shop and it took 14 minutes to pay. They were ticketed at 14.55 and paid at 15.06 and PATAS regarded it as too long. The council do of course worry that someone sees a parking ticket and then goes to pay i.e. they cheat. However I don't suppose that any Adjudicator has actually been to Barnet and tried the unavoidably slow Paypoint or Voucher systems for themselves. If they had, they might decide cases differently.
Another case lost was by a motorist who said they had parked on the pavement because their colostomy bag had burst. You simply cannot park on the pavement except in some limited unloading circumstances even though lorries are the last vehicles which ought to be allowed there.
A ticket was given to a motorist who did not see the obscured sign for bay 5940 so they crossed the road and used 5948. The adjudicator rightly regarded her as an honest motorist who had acted reasonably and cancelled the parking ticket.
In the final case 2 bays were suspended and although the motorist was next to the sign he said he was parked in the third bay along and there being no evidence to the contrary the parking ticket was cancelled.
Tuesday 9th - the first case was cancelled by Order of the Adjudicator. The second case was a hire car which was sold before the ticket was issued and so the new owner will be chased. The third case was very interesting. Someone moved the lady's car without her consent, the keys were in her property, the finger was pointed at the builders she had in at that time and probably wanted to get their van close. She had parked properly and so the ticket was cancelled. 
The one case which was refused was for a blue badge holder but as there was a loading restriction it is not acceptable to park there.
Wednesday was a rare day when the score was in favour of the council but it was only 2-1. A motorist claimed to be stopped to tighten their wheels nuts but as they were not visible in the photos they were not believed. The ticket that was cancelled was not properly issued and the council only had the barest of info. The final ticket sounds like it was deserved. The motorist was tired and hungry so stopped to buy food. They claimed the ticket was invalid but didn't state a reason. You really do need to present your case fully, the adjudicator will not look for you as they sit there all day looking at cases and appreciate clear argument.
On Thursday 11th motorists again gave the council a spanking. The first two parking tickets were cancelled by Order of the Adjudicator. The third one was for a vehicle which had been sold and the council / NSL agreed this was the case fairly late in the proceedings.
Another applicant who turned up for a personal hearing had not received his evidence pack from the council / NSL. There was uncertain evidence and stuff had been missed out of the pack that the adjudicator had received. There does not seem to have been any hesitation in cancelling the ticket.
You want the adjudicator on your side so it would pay to be polite. Mr R. did not do this. He denied having parked without his Blue Badge showing for which he was ticketed. The adjudicator wrote that the correspondence had been written in an unacceptable way and if there was to be a recurrence there would be a costs order. The legislation allows for costs based upon the behaviour of either party but is rarely used.
A ticket was issued because one wheel was more than 50cm from the car. The car was badly parked at an angle but the whole car has to be 50cm away which both the traffic warden should have known and the council / NSL. This case should never have reached PATAS.
After another ticket cancelled by Order of the Adjudicator the final case of the day concerned a parking ticket issued for not displaying a blue badge but the rejection letter from the council / NSL talked about foot way parking and the blue badge is evident in the photographs. More blundering.
Four cases were closed by Order of the Adjudicator on the Friday. Perhaps the council and NSL were all up the pub as it was a Friday.
The week finished with one more parking ticket cancelled as the council / NSL did not produce any evidence.
I expect that you are now getting the idea that it is always worthwhile to send your appeal to PATAS to be decided without you even needing to attend.
Yours appealingly
Miss Feezance