Thursday, 31 January 2013

Another good week for motorists at PATAS

In the week commencing 14 January 2013 it is clear that NSL hadn't got the sausage machine which is parking tickets back even into second gear which is where it spends most of its time. Of the 41 cases heard by PATAS, the independent adjudicator, 29 resulted in victory for the motorist.
Eleven cases were "cancelled by Order of the Adjudicator" which usually means that either no evidence arrived from NSL or the towel was thrown in at the last minute. How many more motorists would win if they could be bothered to do the paperwork?
There are still problems with tickets issued after dark. In one case in Athenaeum Rd in Whetstone, which seems to be a favourite of some traffic wardens, the adjudicator said "The photos are of such poor quality I can not tell where the vehicle was". So, it is worth your while to look on the council website to see if the photos support the council's case.
In a cracking case of alleged non-payment of the parking charge the evidence served on the adjudicator supported the motorist's case. A spectacular own gaol which resulted in the cancellation of the parking ticket. Anyone would think that NSL don't look at paperwork properly.
A motorist paid for a location on the other side of the road and the adjudicator said they would not normally be sympathetic but Barnet's information about signage is inadequate so the parking ticket was cancelled.
In trying to reject an appeal by a businessman Barnet Council (NSL) used an invalid argument. This alone was enough to cancel the parking ticket as the council have a duty to be fair and telling people they have no grounds of appeal when they do is hardly fair.
When you phone up for a dispensation did you know that it is only the next morning that traffic wardens know about it. Everyone knows that if you ask for a dispensation you are likely to want it now, not tomorrow. The council argued that the dispensation was for the next day. The adjudicator said that their scheme notes are inadequate so the parking ticket was cancelled.
The council decided to cancel a ticket at the last minute for parking across a dropped kerb in Trinder Rd. That will be the famous honey spot dropped kerb, just after double yellow lines near Barnet Hospital, that has snared hundreds of motorists.
In a case of there being no permit on display a traffic warden photographed all sides of the car except the one which contained the permit. The adjudicator sees through such cynical behaviour and cancels the parking ticket.
The council got the vehicle registration number wrong so the parking ticket was cancelled.
In the second example of this the council claimed that the motorist moved the vehicle before taking their own photographs. This is a bit rich when they didn't take any photos themselves. The parking ticket was cancelled.

You can see that being bothered to got hrough all 3 of the appeal stages would be time well spent. Don't let the council saying no put you off, they just want your money.

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance

Friday, 25 January 2013

Extremely unhelpful - NSL for Barnet Council

with the mind of a parking ticket processor?
Here we have the comments of the PATAS independent adjudicator from a recent case.
The Appellant has not attended and the authority is not represented.

The Appellant's case is that she had paid this Penalty Charge Notice.

The Enforcement Authority states that she paid for another Penalty Charge Notice, which the Appellant states that she has no knowledge of.

I have considered the evidence in this case and I find that the payment made by the Appellant was for this Penalty Charge Notice and may have been credited by the Enforcement Authority to another Penalty Charge Notice. I find that this is not the fault of the Appellant.

Further, the evidence produced by the Enforcement Authority in presented in an extremely unhelpful manner- it is very difficult to read unless each page is enlarged.
The parking ticket was cancelled by the adjudicator.
Keep those appeals coming. You can object to the evidence if is not clear and it might then carry very little weight.
Yours appealingly
Miss Feezance

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Overwhelming mitigation doesn't move Barnet Council

I repeat below a case that PATAS heard last year. It is to be hoped that special arrangements were made for this family by the council afterwards but you do have to wonder what sort of society we live in when the council, supposedly there to make Barnet a better place to live, put a lady through the stress, time loss and inconvenience of having to go to the independent adjudicator.
Having heard the Appellant's wife  in person in considerable detail this is clearly a case where ( at the very least) the mitigation is overwhelming and I am a  little surprised the Council was unable to exercise its discretion.

The vehicle was parked off the carriageway in order that the Appellant could get her severely disabled husband in and out of the vehicle from his wheelchair. He weighs 18 stone and in order for her to be able to do this at all using a slide the vehicle has to be parked level with her not at a lower level, as would be the case if it were on the carriageway. I was most concerned to hear that the effect of this PCN has been to prevent the Appellant from parking there and hence to prevent her taking her disabled husband out at all. The Council would be well advised to devote its energies to giving the Appellant the assistance she clearly needs rather than resisting a well justified appeal.
The matter, however, goes beyond mitigation. I see no reason to doubt her evidence (and the Council provides none) that she had the week before been given to I understand by a CEO that he would report the situation to the Council and that she would be able to park there - a very sensible course of action by the CEO. This undertaking having been given by a Council officer it would be the equivalent of an abuse of process to allow the Council to resile from it and enforce a penalty. In these circumstances  no  can be said to have occurred - see the dicta of Burnet J 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.
This sort of behaviour by the council does not make me proud to be a Barnet resident.
Yours appealingly
Miss Feezance

Monday, 21 January 2013

"The traffic management purpose is hard to fathom"

no parking problems if you have your own drive
So here we are getting back up to date with my report from PATAS for the week which started on 7 January 13. Another cracking week for the motorist with 38 parking tickets cancelled and only 16 upheld and one of those is the subject of a recommendation to cancel, which the council would be wise to follow.
There were another 12 cases which were cancelled by Order of the Adjudicator.
Then there were two separate bus lane ticket cases which were supported by insufficient evidence so those tickets were cancelled.
A ticket for parking across a dropped kerb was cancelled because the motorist had permission to park there.
A charge certificate, sending your ticket off to be registered as a debt at the County Court, was issued in error for 2 related parking tickets. This was a procedural impropriety and led to both parking tickets being cancelled. The council / NSL usually try to talk their way out of this sort of error with the motorist; don't let them. You have to follow pedantic rules, so must the council.
In a fascinating case a Mr P received a parking ticket for parking outside the bay markings in the road he lived in. There were no photographs and no note of the tax disc number and Mr P had his own drive to park his car on (not quite like the one in the picture). It makes you wonder if the traffic wardens play a game of issuing random tickets to see if they get paid.
In another case that day the adjudicator said there was a "lack of reliable evidence" and so cancelled the parking ticket.
A person who was on the phone actually paying at the moment they received a parking ticket won their appeal and the ticket was rightly cancelled. The adjudicator said "The motorist...allowed such time as is reasonable for making payment". Now why can't Barnet Council &/or NSL accept reasonable appeals? perhaps because it hits Barnet Council in the budget.
Now we come to a corker which had technically to be refused by the adjudicator but who recommended that Barnet Council to cancel the ticket which advice really is not to be ignored. Mr C. was parked across a dropped kerb outside their own premises. The adjudicator said "The traffic management purpose is hard to fathom". Official - Barnet Council are hard to fathom! Actually they are easy to fathom - they want to screw as much money out of the motorist as possible.
Now we come to a case which lays bare the workings of the minds of parking officials. They claim that after the offence, the motorist, Mrs P, a probation officer of 30 years standing, had moved her car before taking her own photographs. This was described by the adjudicator, who is a solicitor or barrister and they know how to use their words carefully and with great meaning, as "a serious allegation". Curiously there were no photos taken by the traffic warden. So what i glean from this is that if NSL, on behalf of the council, issue a parking ticket the motorist is automatically in the wrong and to be denied cancellation at any cost.
The location on one parking ticket was described as "The Drive". That was deemed to be an insufficient description to identify the location. Take a look at any tickets you get and appeal on the grounds that the location is too vague.
There was an argument in another case about whether the motorist was parked to the left or right of a sign which showed differing times to each side. The motorist provided the better photographs and explanation and so the parking ticket was cancelled.
Another professional person received a parking ticket but their car was in the school car park at the time of the supposed contravention. Why these cases have to go all the way to PATAS would be a mystery except that Barnet Council is desperate for cash.
Yet more procedural impropriety where the letter rejecting an appeal said to wait for the Notice to Owner but one had already been issued. NSL are not the most careful or accurate with their correspondence.
Enough incompetence for one week. What you see though is that it is worth your time to complete the PATAS appeal form as Barnet Council / NSL get it wrong so often.

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance

Friday, 18 January 2013

NSL's New Year's Resolution? - Don't do it

The first week of the New Year at PATAS and 29 cases are listed. In 13 of them the parking ticket is cancelled by Order of the Adjudicator which is usually because the evidence pack has not arrived from the council, acting by their agent NSL. Was this because it was more profitable to close their back office for the festive period or was it their usual standard of work?
Four of the other cases which led to parking tickets being cancelled were as follows:
A motorist drove off when a traffic warden appeared as they were trying to pay on the phone. It would seem that the motorist didn't trust the traffic warden and they were absolutely correct as a parking ticket was still issued. there were however no photos and that told against the traffic warden.
Another motorist had paid by phone and the council had not produced good records so that led to a cancelled ticket.
In the case of Mr J the independent adjudicator said of the rejection letter "an overt failure to adequately identify/rebut" (arguments) that it contains "obviously copied and pasted paragraphs" and was "littered with inaccuracies and nonsensical statements". Look Barnet Council how your reputation is being damaged.
Finally two separate and different versions of the Penalty Charge Notice were produced as accurate copies in the one case. That was enough for the adjudicator to cancel the parking ticket.
If we carry on like this in 2013 I can see the number of appeals to PATAS just rising upwards. Do your bit. Appeal that parking ticket.

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Twas the week before Xmas (at PATAS)

The week before Christmas was still pretty busy at PATAS. There were 47 cases. One was officially refused but with a recommendation to the council to cancel the ticket which the council would be well advised to comply with. Of the other 46 cases, 28 went the way of the motorist and 18 parking tickets were held to be valid so another good week for the motorist.
There were 8 cases which were Cancelled by Order which usually means that the council, in the shape of their agent NSL, have failed to submit the required evidence pack.
A Mr H lived in a road where roadworks were occurring so he had to park in a different street. His mother-in-law passed away and on the day of the funeral he forgot to move his vehicle at the necessary time. This perfectly understandable reason cut no ice with NSL and Barnet Council but the independent adjudicator said that there were "compelling reasons to cancel the Notice to Owner" and thus the parking ticket was cancelled. The big question is why the council did not feel so compelled. The needs of the budget being put before compassion for residents?
A gentleman was delivering no longer needed toys to a charity shop so was unloading. He was showing his sons the goodness of charity and how to behave. He got a parking ticket for his pains and his children wrote letters to the Adjudicator who cancelled the parking ticket. So his sons have learnt about charity and lack of it all in the one lesson.
One of the council's evidence packs, supplied by NSL, showed "a confusing and inconsistent case from the council". I couldn't have described Barnet Council more accurately than that.
In another case the council didn't deal with representations properly. Judging by the letters I have seen which are often illiterate and/or incomplete this happens a lot.
In a case of alleged foot way parking there were no photographs. These are not essential but it is highly damaging to the council's case if they cannot show that your car was on the foot way. (Stay off the path!)
The same problem for the council in the alleged case of parking across a dropped kerb. No photos so if the offence is denied the council have to show something. a sketch or a photo, proving the offence. Any photo they do produce needs to be better than the one that Mr Mustard has on his blog at the moment, redolent of an edition of "The Sky at Night".
I think Barnet Council may be starting to develop a poor image at PATAS as here is another comment by the adjudicator "Barely readable screen shots from CIVICA and nothing produced from Verrus." The customer had paid so his/her parking ticket was cancelled.
Another poor piece of work. "No photos. Evidence virtually illegible" another cancelled parking ticket.
Saving the best till last a man was taking his heavily pregnant wife to an emergency doctor's appointment because of severe stomach pains and so left his car for a few minutes (you wouldn't leave your pregnant wife to struggle on her own now would you and you would want to be almost in the door at the surgery). This explanation cut no ice with NSL / Barnet Council but fortunately the independent adjudicator is not as heartless or lacking in compassion and isn't desperate for every penny for their budget and so can take a more reasonable view of life. the parking ticket was cancelled.
Please keep those appeals coming. The more you appeal the bigger the mess that NSL will get into and eventually, once a large enough proportion of tickets is appealed to make dishing out so many financially unattractive, Barnet Council will react to financial reality.

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance