Monday, 8 April 2013

de minimus non curat lex (Trifle to you)

The wrong sort of trifle
(picture: )

Here is a report from PATAS about the way in which trifling errors can be ignored.

The appellant appeals claiming that the Penalty Charge Notice was issued within a minute of the restriction coming into force and this does not allow for any margin or error in the time. He questions the accuracy of the time of issue of the Penalty Charge Notice. He also explains why his vehicle is seen continuing to wait at the location after the issue of the Penalty Charge Notice.

The Authority has produced a copy of the contemporaneous notes and photographs taken by the civil enforcement officer, as well as other evidence in support of the alleged contravention.

The Authority has explained that the time on the handheld machines used to issue Penalty Charge Notices is set by the atomic clock so it is accurate. Nevertheless it is true to say that issuing a Penalty Charge Notice within a minute of the restriction coming into force does not allow for any margin of error. I accept the reason given by the appellant for the vehicle remaining at the location once the Penalty Charge Notice had been issued. In my view the contravention in this case was so minor as to be inconsequential. Therefore I find the principle of the principle of "de minimus non curat lex" applies. This is a legal principle which basically means that law does not concern itself with trifles; so that even if a technical violation of a law appears to exist according to the letter of the law, if the effect is too small to be of consequence, the violation of the law will not be considered as a sufficient cause of action, whether in civil or criminal proceedings.

I allow the appeal.

So if you are only an inch out of the parking bay, or only stopped for a few seconds, or travelled less than 20 metres in a bus lane etc or any other trivial offence that only a pedantic council employee (or NSL) would contend was worth paying £110 for, appeal and quote the principle of de minimis!

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance

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