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

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