Thursday, 31 October 2013

PATAS w/c 21 October 13 - no original ticket

Another week, another good set of appeals, 81 in all of which 46, or 57% were allowed. It is very pleasing to see so many people exercising their right to appeal to the independent adjudicator and succeeding.
There were the now regular cases with an unexplained processing delay which is a breach of your Human Right to a fair trial. Squashed PCN were from 10 August 2011 and 26 September 2011.
A suspension sign that was not visible was not enforceable.
The council tried to claim a penalty for parking across a dropped kerb by quoting the wrong legislation. They were not allowed to proceed.
A Saracens zone PCN hit the buffers as they do every time.
In a most interesting case to do with a vehicle being driven away before the PCN could be served the adjudicator wanted to see the original PCN. Oh dear, it wasn't put in evidence so it was cancelled. This case may be of use to others as it is easy for the council to claim they had started to issue a PCN and as they can't be cancelled, supposedly, then they must have finished it off and retained it as evidence? PATAS case 213046058A.
A sign that was mounted very low in Huntingdon Rd and obscured was found not to be adequate to uphold the PCN.
Due to many years of parking in that way there was a legitimate expectation that pavement parking was OK in Chapel Court. The PCN was cancelled.
A bus lane sign was missing. We only have bus lanes on one road so you might wish to refer to PATAS case 2130460411 in case you are in the same boat (or bus lane).
There is some sort of school concession in East End Road but I don't have the details. It sounds like one of those arrangements that councillors make and the traffic wardens don't know about. Check with your school to see if there are any concessions for your school.
The suspension of a PayByPhone bay was assumed to finish at 6.30pm as that is the time that the bay itself finished.
Keep those appeals coming.

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

PATAS w/c 14 October 13 - obvious flaw in PayByPhone

Well what a busy week for the adjudicators at PATAS, with 91 hearings. 2 PCN were the subject of recommendations to cancel, 44 were upheld and 45 PCN were cancelled. So it was more or less a 50/50 week. Almost 3% of all tickets taken to the final stage appeal is a very good record though; well done to motorists everywhere for standing up for your rights as the Transport Select Committee recommend you do. Barnet must be getting near the top of the table when it comes to the percentage of appeals. Keep them coming.
The council really need to think about formal representations a little harder and allow claims of obvious merit. In this week they have paid out £3,640 in adjudication fees and won PCN worth about £4,230 and they won't all be paid. I am told that about 3 evidence packs a day is normal for one person, and they are rather bulky, so that is 30 days work by NSL which probably costs in excess of £100 a day so in effect PATAS cases are a big loser for the council & NSL.
Notable cases include
- a case brought back to life from May 11, but the PCN has been torn up now
- a case where the mobile phone was linked to another person's car due to reuse of the phone number. An obvious flaw and another PCN disconnected
- there was no evidence by the traffic warden of valve positions to show a vehicle had not moved for a certain time and so that PCN moved into the bin
- a voucher scratched out using a pen rather than a coin was found to be fine as it had been rendered unusable so that PCN bit the dust
- someone received 2 Notices of Rejection which led to 1 PCN being cancelled
- another old PCN from June 2011 didn't stand scrutiny
- a case that was lost where someone went for change for the meter; not a good argument in a cashless borough
- a flat tyre was viewed as a breakdown beyond the control of the motorist and they had a photo of the wheel being changed at the tyre fitting bay
- a blue badge was mysteriously missing from the partial windscreen photo taken by the traffic warden, end of PCN
- another old PCN from July 2011 - these really are being raked out and if old PCN are appealed to PATAS on age grounds they are cancelled
- a case with no photos and the wrong tax disc number was never likely to be a winner for the council, it wasn't
- the fact that the Army Day celebration was not in any sort of Traffic Order suspending parking or at least not proven meant that motorist marched off smartly without paying a penalty
- another PCN from June 11 was cancelled
- the Saracens Event Day Traffic Management Order didn't stand up to scrutiny
- the council's own photos showed that the motorist had left before the PCN was issued
- and another PCN from June 2011 was cancelled
It doesn't matter if your PCN was from 2011 or from 2013, you have at least a 50% chance of winning your appeal, and usually higher in Barnet, so in the long run there is nothing to lose by fighting every parking ticket and keeping NSL and the council busy. They started it!
Yours appealingly
Miss Feezance

Sunday, 13 October 2013

PATAS - w/c 7 Oct 13 - I can't see you

On Monday, Barnet Council / NSL stormed out of the blocks and raced into a 11 - 6 lead but they are evidently sprinters in a long distance race as on Tuesday the public pulled level with an 8 - 3 result and then put clear ground between themselves and the council with a 10 - 5. Two more good days for the public followed with the council making up some ground on the Saturday with a 9 -3 drubbing but it wasn't enough with the final score being 46 PCN cancelled, 34 upheld and 9 recommended for cancellation. As we stand that is 58% cancelled.
Less routine cases included one where the traffic warden put "refused by driver" in his notes and then the council / NSL continued to chase the PCN as if it had been served. That is not correct behaviour.
A PCN from 15/9/11 has now been cancelled as it should have been last year sometime.
Someone with half a wheel over a dropped kerb was technically in the wrong but the council have been asked to cancel. Let's see if they do.
Someone misused the TE9 procedure (the one where you swear that you haven't received something). They are now paying £231. It would have been cheaper to pay the PCN itself.
A PCN from 24/6/11 has also been cancelled. If you have a similar PCN make sure you point out the age to PATAS and Article 6 of the Human Rights Act about the right to a fair trial which is not possible after this delay.
The council presented wholly insufficient evidence to PATAS which led to the inevitable cancellation.
Someone drove away and so hadn't been served and the PCN was not served by post so this led to a cancellation.
The traffic warden failed to see the Visitor Voucher in a side window so that PCN got the chop.
Customer services wrongly advised a motorist about the Saracens zone so his PCN was sin binned.
There was a failure to consider informal representations. A no nonsense adjudicator saw that as reason to cancel a PCN (not considering them is at the very least impolite).
A traffic warden put "driver not seen" in his notes but the council's photographs show the driver remonstrating with him! Guess what, that PCN is now invisible.
It seems that the Bunns Lane Car park has various complicated sectors. The adjudicator even thought about making a site visit but as the council hadn't provided a clear overview he though better of it, saved the cost of the trip and the cost of a PCN for the motorist. If you know anything about this car park please add a note in the comment box.
In Gervase Rd (coincidentally there is a letter about this road in the local Times newspaper)

the footway markings were held to be unclear by the adjudicator so if you get a PCN in this road, appeal it all the way to PATAS.
A Saracens Zone PCN was cancelled. I don't think I have yet seen one survive the adjudication at PATAS.
Someone made an error with their blue badge but because they could show that they were elsewhere and couldn't possibly have been parked for 3 hours their PCN was cancelled. This is the first time I have seen this so worth proving where you were if this applies to you. No guarantees though as you will have wrongly set the clock.
It looks like NSL are still back up to their old tricks. A man who was visiting his daughter parked slightly across her drive and had, at the very least, implied permission. Arden Rd is not inside a CPZ so a dropped kerb should only be enforced if the householder phones and requests it, which was not the case here. Why this motorist got dragged all the way through the process to adjudication at PATAS and why the council want to waste £40 on PATAS fees are worthwhile questions.
Seven parking tickets to one person from May 11 were the subject of a recommendation to cancel. Let's see if they get cancelled.
Now, leaving aside the 9 cases subject to recommendation which are as yet unfinished, there were 80 hearings at £40 each so Barnet Council paid out £3,200
If everyone pays up within 28 days, they will get in (assuming a quarter of the contraventions were at lower rate) 26 PCN at £110 and 8 at £60 = £3,340 so a net gain of £140 for a mountain of work.
If I was Barnet Council parking management I would be looking at why so many cases are allowed to go forward to PATAS that are obvious no-hopers and more appeals should be allowed in response to formal representations. NSL Ltd are left to send them directly to PATAS. Perhaps they should go via the council?
Yours appealingly
Miss Feezance

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

PATAS - w/c 30 Sept - Pointless

So in this particular week at PATAS there were 49 PCN cancelled, 32 that were upheld and 2 upheld but recommended for cancellation all the same. 60% of appeals were upheld.

Atheneaum Road has appeared lots of times for dropped kerb offences. This time the length of the drop was found to be excessive. This may help others with their appeal.

A permit was placed in the "wrong" window but that didn't stop the PCN being cancelled.

The council could not prove the existence of an Event day and so the PCN was cancelled.

One of my favourites, this one:

The appellant attended the personal hearing listed for today. He denied the contravention and denied receipt of the penalty charge notice. The appellant said that he pulled over in order to programme his mobile phone into his hands free when he saw a CEO in front of his vehicle taking a photographs of his vehicle and he therefore drove off. The appellant states that the next he know about the incident was upon receipt of the Notice to Owner and he therefore telephones Barnet Council to request evidence and was told to pay the PCN as it was "pointless appealing".

There is a direct conflict evidence on this case. However I found the appellant to be a credible witness and am not satisfied that the penalty charge notice was properly issued.

I therefore allow this appeal.

I think that the customer service assistance telephone call should go into the "Trust me, I'm a Doctor" category.

Best to stay out of loading bays unless you are specifically allowed, unless a council officer tells you it is OK.

The Appellant parked in a goods vehicle loading bay in reliance on a disabled badge. The Traffic Management Order for the bay , as is commonly the case, contains no exemption for disabled badge holders and the vehicle was on the face of it in contravention.
However I see no reason to doubt the Appellant's evidence that she followed the recommendation of the Booklet issued to badge holders and checked the position with the Council; and was informed that the badge provided exemption in loading bays. It is not clear whether the Appellant specifically asked about the position relating to goods vehicle loading bays, as opposed to ordinary loading bays,. or whether it is in fact the case that exemption would apply to one but not the other - a possible source of confusion or misunderstanding. However it seems to me in any event that a Council officer dealing with such an enquiry should volunteer clarification on these issues.

This therefore falls to be treated as a case where the Appellant parked in reliance on incorrect incomplete or misleading information given, through its officer, by the Council itself. The public are entitled to rely on information given by public officials in the course of their duties. It is no answer for the Council to say blithely that the information was incorrect. The Council must ensure that it is correct. Allowing the Council to enforce a penalty in these circumstances would be the equivalent of an abuse of process ; and in such a situation no contravention occurs - see the dicta in Camden v The Parking Adjudicator and BHS t/a First for Food Service Ltd [2011] EWHC 295 Admin [2011]EWCA Civ 905.

The Appeal is therefore allowed and it is unnecessary to consider the various other procedural points raised by the Appellant.

The Saracens Event Day zone continues to cause trouble.

Mr X submitted that when both vehicles were parked in the late afternoon on Friday 10 May, the sign at Vineyard Avenue did not indicate that the next event day would be 12 May.

The Authority said that the sign was changed on 5 May after the previous event on 4 May. It did not offer any proof of this. On the other hand, Mr X produced photographic evidence that on 22 June, the sign was still showing that the next event day was 12 May, thereby missing out an event day on 15 May and on 22 May itself. The evidence suggested that the changing of signs were unsatisfactory and haphazard.

I am not satisfied that Mr X or his partner were given adequate warning of the event day. I would add that there was in fact no evidence of an event day. I am allowing the appeal.

A medical emergency was given due consideration by the adjudicator, although not by the council.

Mr. B senior is a retired surgeon.

He confirmed that the child in question had the symptoms of meningitis.

Mrs. B must have been at her wits' end when she parked the vehicle to go to the doctor's surgery.

I am allowing this appeal on the basis that these were circumstances beyond the driver's control.

The below adjudication confirms why you should drive away when a traffic warden drops out of the sky (arrives on a scooter)

This is a case in which the Enforcement Authority seek to enforce by means of postal service of the PCN. Where a Civil Enforcement Officer had begun to prepare a PCN for service but the vehicle was driven away before the Enforcement Officer had finished preparing it or before it could be served the Enforcement Authority may serve the PCN by post. However, the Enforcement Authority have failed to provide me with any evidence that the Enforcement Officer had begun to prepare the PCN before the vehicle was driven away and I am not therefore satisfied that they were entitled to serve by post. Accordingly I allow the appeal.

I think you get the idea. Keep on submitting those appeals.
Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance

Thursday, 3 October 2013

PATAS - w/c 23 Sept 13 - Chaotic

In this particular week there were 63 appeals of which 35 were allowed or 55.5555555555%
Let's call it 56%
The very first case of the week was a "do not contest". The council often throw the towel in at the last minute and waste their £40 fee. Luckily no-one, as in a resident, was on their way to the hearing centre for it.
There was the usual argument about whether a PCN was handed to the drive or not. this time the driver was believed.
A typical case about the time it takes to collect a visitor voucher. Again the motorist was believed.

There was a reasonable expectation that footway parking is allowed in Rectory Lane due to years of it not being enforced. We really are entitled to clarity in this area.
The Saracens Event Day saw Barnet Council fail to get over the try line as they can't prove which days are event days.
Here are the adjudicator's comments about a September 2011 PCN
This contravention occurred on 22 September 2011. The appellant complains that the first correspondence she received from the council in regard to this matter was on 5 April 2013.  I have read the chronology of proceedings given by the council in its case summary it submitting that it has complied with all statutory requirements in its handling of this case but this allegation is now more than two years old and noting the delays that have occurred particularly that between the issue of the first notice to owner on 31 October 2011 and the charge certificate on 5 April 2013 I have concluded given its staleness that to allow enforcement to proceed would be oppressive and prejudicial to the appellant's conduct of her appeal. I do not for that reason find the contravention proved.
In a PayByPhone case there was no evidence form the Verrus system. That played against the council.
A bay in Ballards Lane was oddly marked and it wasn't clear the motorist was outside the bay. The PCN was cancelled.
The council quoted a 2003 Act about dropped kerbs but it was S86 Traffic Management Act 2004 so the council lost.
The council failed to deal with representations properly. That is not unusual and is a procedural impropriety so the PCN was cancelled.
The council failed to supply the cctv for a bus lane offence so their case was lost.
The council said there was no attempt to pay but their clearly was. There clearly isn't a PCN any longer.
There were two cases about footway parking in Barnfield Rd where the bays are not properly signed so the PCNs were cancelled.
More footway parking in Gervase Rd.

Mrs S. took a point about the reduced penalty because she made informal representations but had not received a reply. She also took issue with the signage at the location.

Mrs S. accepted that her vehicle was partially on the pavement. She said however that pavement parking is allowed on Gervase Road. The Authority did not disagree as such. It said that the vehicle was not in a pavement bay.

Mrs S. says that the signage at Gervase Road is chaotic. There are upright blue signs which indicated that parking partially on the pavement is permissible. These signs do not refer to bays. There are then full pavement bays and partial pavement bays. One confusion is therefore whether one should park fully in a full pavement bay when the blue upright signs require motorists to park partially on the pavement.

In any event, the Authority has not provided any evidence of signage that says that vehicles must park in bays, nor has it provided evidence to show that the upright signage has clearly indicated that pavement parking is not allowed at the exact location.

I am not satisfied that the contravention occurred. I am allowing the appeal.
Quite a quiet week overall but still lots of hope for those who persist and appeal through all 3 stages.
Keep those appeals coming.
Yours appealingly
Miss Feezance