Wednesday, 10 July 2013

PATAS - w/c 17 June

In the week commencing Monday, 17 June there were 67 appeals. Of those, 44 resulted in a cancelled parking ticket. That is 66% for number lovers.

The reasons include

- liabilty transferred to hirer. I don't understand why such a simple decision about who is liable has to be fought all the way to PATAS by a car hire company who will have a signed hire agreement. Why don't NSL / council employees look at who the hire company is and the agreement and then simply transfer liability to the driver without wasting 3 hours preparing an evidence pack with the inevitable result. The only cases lost are by smaller operators who maybe didn't have a properly drafter hire agreement, or even a hire situation at all, the big boys have used their lawyers to good effect and got it right.

- a dispensation ran out. How would you know as it is all done over the phone and generally you aren't told the start date or end date of the dispensation by the council.

- the traffic warden allowed precisely zero minutes for a permit to be obtained from the address being visited.

- ticketed across your very own (not shared with the neighbours) dropped kerb? Read this.

I allowed the appellants appeal as follows:-

"The appellant denies the contravention. She states that she parked alongside the dropped kerb in front of her own driveway for the purposes of loading and unloading and therefore falls within the exceptions provided by the Traffic Management Act 2004 S.86(3) and S.86(5). The local authority have not addressed these representations but incorrectly state that it is still a contravention to park outside their own driveway in direct contradiction to the legislation which require a complaint to be made by the owner of the residential premises. I am therefore not satisfied that the contravention did occur and allow this appeal. If the appellant wishes to pursue a claim for costs she should send in an itemised note of the time and disbursements incurred in defending this appeal."

The appellant has now applied for an order for costs and expenses to be made against the local authority on the basis that their conduct in failing to address her representations or the legislation to be "extremely unreasonable"

Under Regulation 12 of the Road Traffic (Parking Adjudicators) (London) Regulations 1993 it is provided that an Adjudicator shall not normally make an order awarding costs and expenses but may, subject to hearing representations from the party, make such an order against that party if he is of the opinion that the party has acted frivolously or vexatiously or that his conduct in making, pursuing or resisting an appeal was wholly unreasonable. Additionally, an order may be made against the local authority where the Adjudicator considers that the disputed decision, (the decision by the local authority to reject the appellant's representations), was wholly unreasonable.

I find the local authority complete lack of even an attempt at addressing the appellant's representations or checking the legislation despite being placed on Notice by the appellant, and in clear breach of their statutory duty, makes the disputed decision wholly unreasonable.

 The local authority have not made any representation as to why a costs award should not be made.

I therefore award the appellant costs in the sum of £62.15 made up as follows:

1) £60.00 for time spent in excess of 5 hours which would be the maximum amount a litigant in person would be able to recover in the Small Claims Court under the Civil Procedure Rules.

 2) £2.15 disbursements for the cost of a stamp and recorded delivery.

- there were kerb flashes (those short marks that are marked on the kerb at right angles to the road) but no "No loading sign". Both are required.

- he council told a motorist that they couldn't drop a passenger off on a single yellow. This was simply wrong. You can, and on a double yellow.

- another set of notes from the independent adjudicator for your delight:

The photographs show the vehicle parked with its rear within a designated parking place and its front outside the designated parking place on the adjacent yellow line. It displayed a disabled badge and clock. It follows that the rear of the vehicle was lawfully parked, and the front of the vehicle was lawfully parked. In these circumstances I would take some persuading that the relevant Traffic Management Order, which has not been supplied, nevertheless flies in the face of common sense and puts the vehicle into contravention

The Council's submission that parking in this way reduces the space available in the bay for other vehicles (whilst sensible enough in other types of instance of this contravention) is clearly irrational in the case of a vehicle which is partly outside the bay entirely. Had it been parked entirely within the bay, the space available for other vehicles within the bay would be reduced not increased.

I am not satisfied that this was a contravening vehicle; and even if it had been the traffic management purpose to be served by issuing a PCN in these circumstance is quite impossible to fathom. The Appeal is allowed.

- the council claimed there were yellow kerb flashes when they weren't.

- it's no joke
Although I note that in the enforcement officer's photographs the yellow line on which this vehicle was parked is just about visible I accept the driver's evidence that at the time at which he parked earlier that morning it was covered by snow and not visible. I accept that the driver was not fully familiar with this surbanan area and that he would have had no reason to believe in the absence of a clear yellow line that waiting restrictions were in place. It seems to me that the council should first have cleared snow from the road if it wanted to enforce waiting restrictions on it. I am satisfied that this yellow line was visible to the driver at the relevant time and find that the contravention has not been proved.
- some bay markings were described as "vestigial" and as as "less than adequate" and the test is that they have to be "substantially compliant".
- a driver thanked the traffic warden for not issuing a ticket. He wrote "handed to driver" in his notes!
Keep those appeals coming. The average personal appeal in front of an independent adjudicator is a calm and considerate matter lasting about 25 minutes (an adjudicator will spend an average of 20 minutes on a postal appeal) which leaves you plenty of time to try the bars and restaurants of Islington and the Chapel St market as you are adjacent to Angel tube station.
Yours appealingly
Miss Feezance.

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