Monday, 25 February 2013

2 out of 3 ain't bad

In the week commencing 11 February 2013 of the 70 appeals 48 were decided in favour of the motorist, a success rate of 68% or more than 2 in 3.
As always, I highlight the more interesting cases.
In an alleged case of parking across a dropped kerb photos were considered to be fairly important (even if the council tells you they are not obligatory) and the parking ticket was cancelled.
Another case involving a dropped kerb. The car was not across any bit where the kerb was lowered to the level of the carriageway i.e. the stone which slopes down is not part of the dropped kerb / crossover.
A motorist who was actually in the process of paying for their parking when the parking ticket was issued had it cancelled. I wonder what the independent adjudicator actually thinks about this type of case.
Someone had been parking on the pavement in Page St for 40 years and never had a parking ticket before this one. The parking ticket was cancelled by the adjudicator who advised not parking on the pavement again in Page St.
In Lyndhurst Avenue there were works to the road such that a motorist with a blue badge could not access their property. They therefore parked in the road and got a parking ticket. The adjudicator said "the traffic management purpose defeats me, the lines were worn well beyond the point at which they could be said to be substantially compliant" and the parking ticket was cancelled.
In a case where a residents permit had expired by one day the appeal had to be refused but Barnet Council were recommended to cancel the parking ticket all the same.
There was an appeal based upon the hours of a CPZ zone in St Margarets Rd, Edgware. One CPZ entry sign was behind a bus stop and the other was behind foliage. The parking ticket was cancelled.
Now one of my favourites. Every time this motorist parks their car they take their own photograph of the visitor voucher on display because of previous problems. The traffic warden took a photo of the back of the car only which seems well dodgy. The parking ticket was cancelled by the adjudicator.
Another interesting case. The adjudicator was not satisfied that the record of the tax disc number was taken at the time that the parking ticket was issued. Of course if you have previously had a parking ticket the number will be on file. You could have, of course, renewed it since the previous parking ticket. The parking ticket in question was cancelled.
A man who helped his heavily pregnant daughter into her flat along with 2 very young children and returned to the car with a visitor's voucher found a parking ticket on the car which had been issued after 1 minute. This was held to be too quick and was cancelled.
Friday was very busy. The first 10 parking tickets were cancelled by Order of the Adjudicator which usually means that NSL have not provided the evidence pack.
On the Saturday there was a case where Barnet Council had failed to deal with formal representations. This is a procedural impropriety and so the parking ticket was cancelled.
In the next case the evidence pack, produced by NSL, did not contain all of the letters and so that parking ticket was also cancelled.
It is pleasing to see so many cases being heard in one week. If you can keep putting your appeals in as they cost you nothing then everyone has a better chance of winning.

Yours appelingly

Miss Feezance

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

3/5 still OK

Not as good a week as last week but still worth the time and trouble to fill out the simple form for PATAS. There were 47 appeals and 28 parking tickets were cancelled. Notable cases as follows:
Car supposedly next dropped kerb. The council evidence was described as "poor and uncertain", it is NSL who produce this evidence under a One Barnet contract. Parking ticket cancelled.
An unwell driver was not on the section of yellow line shown in the library photograph. If you are to be pursued for a parking ticket the least you would expect to see is an actual real photograph of where your car was. Ticket cancelled.
In a case where there was a single yellow line next to a zigzag the adjudicator suggested the council should put up a sign to make the position clear as the yellow line might operate for different times to the zigzags. Ticket cancelled.
Although the appeal was refused the adjudicator suggested to the council that they should cancel a parking ticket in respect of a now redundant dropped kerb in Leeside Crescent and consider removing the lowered kerb itself to prevent furrier confusion.
In Ambrose Avenue a CPZ sign was at 90degress to where it should have been and thus not visible when driving so the parking ticket was cancelled.
Will traffic wardens say anything to slap a ticket on your car? The traffic warden said the lady motorist returned with shopping and that he handed her the ticket. She said certainly not to both, she was trying to pay when the warden appeared. the lady was believed and her parking ticket was cancelled.
It was a wet day and the fuse for the windscreen wipers failed. The motorist went to a shop to buy another one and got a parking ticket. He didn't get a receipt as the item was only £1 and that didn't matter as the adjudicator believed him. If you are claiming breakdown a receipt is handy but the truth is just as good. Parking ticket cancelled.
There seems to have been a Data Protection failure as the evidence pack, which goes to PATAS and the motorist, contained evidence about another motorist. That was enough for the PCN to be cancelled.
A parking ticket for parking next to a dropped kerb in Oakleigh Road North (quite a long road) was cancelled because the location only said "outside Tesco express" and there were no photos. All too vague.

Keep those appeals going.

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

4 out 5 of is pretty good (for you!)

In the week commencing Monday 28th January of the 48 appeals heard by PATAS, the office of the independent adjudicators, 39 were decided in favour of the motorist i.e. their parking tickets were cancelled. Now those are good odds. Filling a form in has never looked such good value - it is free to go to PATAS and there is no downside if you lose, you simply pay your ticket at the £60/£110/£130 level at which it was issued.
East Barnet School put in an appeal against one ticket. Barnet (NSL) failed to produce the evidence as they also did on 8 occasions, fail, that is.
I see a lot of dropped kerb cases where there are not any photographs. Given the scope for argument about whether a car is adjacent to a dropped kerb or not one would expect to see photos every time. Without some other compelling evidence the council loses.
There are lots of examples of motorists who make a one digit error in the location code and so their payment does not show up on the traffic warden's hand held equipment. The adjudicator said "One might have thought that discretion might have been exercised" but it wasn't and so the adjudicator noticed that the council said "payment had not been made for the vehicle" which was not true, payment had been made but for the wrong place. The adjudicator found that to be sufficient reason to cancel the parking ticket.
Another pay-by-phone fiasco. The motorist made 20 attempts to pay. The adjudicator cancelled the parking ticket. Why commonsense didn't prevail before that point is hard to say.
Another motorist was well represented and knew that the wording on the parking ticket was incorrect, as it has been for 4 years (now corrected). The adjudicator said that was a persuasive argument.
The old dropped kerb, a favourite of traffic wardens, came into question. It wasn't for a vehicle and it wasn't for pedestrians, the absence of tactile pavement was noted, and the parking ticket was cancelled.
Another dropped kerb, this time the car was there in order to collect the disabled father of the driver. S86 (Traffic Management Act) allows for the boarding of passengers so this parking ticket was cancelled. More lack of commonsense and reasonableness from NSL and/or Barnet Council.
A sign was facing the wrong way in Talbot Crescent, Hendon was enough for a parking ticket to be cancelled. The lines look pretty faded in that road and are a possible extra grounds of appeal.
Another bash at the disabled. A motorist was setting down a disabled passenger which by the nature of the disability can take longer than for an able-bodied person. The adjudicator cancelled the parking ticket. No quarter given by NSL and/or Barnet Council whose decision makers all need to spend some time pushing someone round in a wheelchair to get in tune with society.
A parking ticket was given to someone who drove away as they were trying to pay and the traffic warden was the final straw. This motorist was a lawyer and so was believed. The parking ticket was cancelled.
A disabled badge was on the driver's of the windscreen, which is only natural as it is closer to hand. The traffic warden only managed to photograph the passenger side of the windscreen and this left the necessary room for doubt in favour of the motorist. Parking ticket cancelled.
NSL failed to deal with informal representations. This led to the parking ticket being cancelled.
This next case is a beauty:

There seems to me no reason at all to doubt the Appellant's evidence, amply supported by documentation , that he was unloading gardening tools as he describes. The very brief observation period does nothing to suggest that some other activity was in progress.

The Council does not appear to doubt that this was so. Its case is, as stated in its case summary , that "loading and unloading is not permitted in a residents bay at any time." It maintains this position having complied with my direction to produce the Traffic Management Order.

This is simply wrong. It is permitted. The Traffic Management Order produced by the Council shows that it does indeed contain such an exemption, as these Orders invariably do - see Article 22(1)(h). I am satisfied the vehicle was within the exemption and that the PCN was incorrectly issued.

The Council's persistent failure to read its own TMO and apply its mind to the law correctly is  not only a procedural impropriety ( and the Appeal could have been allowed on this  ground alone) but conduct which is  wholly unreasonable. The Council has been put on notice of the Appellant's application for costs and given the specific invitation to respond to it over the adjournment. In the absence of any representations this seems to me one of the clearest cases I have seen for the making of such an Order. I order the Council to pay the £10 costs asked for by the Appellant. The Council may consider itself a little fortunate that the Appellant is claiming such a modest amount.
So the council give a motorist incorrect information and anyone less robust than this very reasonable person (£10 for being messed about is very little) might have given in and paid.
Finally another dropped kerb in Mays Lane and the council were unable to say why it was dropped, and it is in the slip road near the width restriction at the bottom of Manor Rd, and it does not have any purpose that I can see either, so this led to the cancellation of the parking ticket.
What you can see from the above is that Barnet Council & NSL acting together are a long way short of a dream team. They score own goals and need to be looked over regularly by the third umpire (the independent adjudicator). Do keep putting those appeals in.
Yours appealingly
Miss Feezance

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Beat the traffic warden - #1 Pavement parking

Naturally I am referring to beating in the sporting sense because if you encounter rudeness from a traffic warden the answer, in Barnet, is to make a formal complaint to NSL. One would think that on the NSL website there would be a section for complaints because people must want to complain about traffic wardens all the time, but no, there isn't. That is an odd omission but not as odd as the fact that NSL list all the councils they work for and don't include Barnet Council in the list, perhaps they don't think they are going to hang on to the contract for long enough to make it worthwhile changing the web page. It is probably best to send your complaints to or in writing to NSL, 2nd Floor Centre Tower, Whitgift Centre, Croydon, CR0 0XB (The PO Box in Worthing is not the NSL office, that is where RR Donnelley are located who scan all the appeal letters).

So to beat the traffic warden, and avoid having to make three appeals against your ticket (informal, formal and to PATAS) it is best not to get a ticket in the first instance.

One of the favourite traps is parking on the pavement. Except where the pavement is clearly marked with bays to permit pavement parking never ever ever parking on the pavement is the best way to avoid getting a parking ticket. Don't put even the tiniest piece of tyre anywhere but on the carriageway. So stay off the pavement, off the kerb stones, off the ramped section of tarmac that lead across the grass verge to a residence, off grass verges, off central reservations etc, stay on the carriageway itself.

If the road is so narrow that parking on both sides of the road with your entire car properly on the carriageway means that a fire engine would not get through the gap, then go and park somewhere else. It is not an acceptable excuse that to avoid causing an obstruction you then parked improperly.
Don't think either that as it is 8pm the traffic wardens will have gone home. They are roaming about on their scooters until at least 10pm and possibly 11pm and I wouldn't put it past the council to send them out all night if that means a few more tickets can be issued. The traffic wardens drive around their patch of an evening hunting for cars parked on the pavement. They are easy to spot as the roof is clearly leaning at an angle.

It is against the law to park on the pavement in any London borough so take my advice with you whenever you go anywhere else in Barnet. The pavement is for pedestrians, wheelchairs, the blind, pushchairs etc etc, it is not for cars. Think how annoyed you would be if a person stood in the middle of the road all day and then reverse your thinking to your car being on the pavement in the way of the pedestrian. You've got the idea now I think.
There are limited grounds of appeal even against this contravention but it is still best to avoid getting the parking ticket in the first place.
Barnet Council should of course be spending some of the £millions that they rake in from parking on full page newspaper articles explaining some of the lesser known or observed rules for the benefit and education of new drivers (and old ones who have forgotten) but they won't as they want to issue more and more parking tickets every year.

If you do get a parking ticket, then appeal three times. The grounds of appeal can be the same at every stage. Just because Barnet Council reject you twice doesn't mean PATAS will do the same.
Yours appealingly
Miss Feezance

Monday, 4 February 2013

75% success rate at PATAS

Worth the effort to complete the PATAS appeal form
So here we are in the week commencing Monday 13 January 2013. PATAS heard 53 cases (numbers seem to be rising which is good) and 40 of them led to parking tickets being cancelled and the huge effort that Barnet Council are putting into appeals, except the 16 they didn't bother preparing an evidence pack for, which would have take one person a week to do, must, in the light of the results be making them wonder whether the light is worth the candle.

Notable cases were Mr C who stopped to check directions and spoke to a traffic warden who didn't give him a ticket in his hand for stopping - no, the paperwork arrived in the post. Can you feel the rage? Ticket cancelled.

More missed paperwork in a case where informal representations were not dealt with, this is a procedural impropriety and led to the parking ticket being cancelled.

In a cul-de-sac called Garden City off Manns Rd in Edgware one of the CPZ entry signs was at such an angle that it was almost facing the opposite way. The council have to prove that their signage is correct if challenged and the council plainly failed to do so, not even producing a map of the zone. If you have had a parking ticket in the Edgware zone this is your escape route. Walk round the zone and look at the pairs of large CPZ signs which tell you the hours of the zone, take photographs and then you have your evidence. Although some adjudicators will cancel your parking ticket because the absence of a sign does invalidate the zone (only in respect of single yellow lines and bays which do not display individual time plates) others will expect you to say that was the way that you entered the zone so it would be helpful if you could remember where you had been beforehand such that the entry point forms a natural route.

Although photographs are not mandatory they are persuasive. So if the council don't have any for a certain parking ticket you have to ask yourself why. A driver who argued that he had parked up to the lowering kerb stone and not across the lowered one got the benefit of the doubt because the photos were of poor quality and hence not useful as evidence of the alleged contravention.

On the next case to be decided that day there was no contemporaneous entry by the traffic warden about Verrus, no contemporaneous photos and an image purporting to show the location of the vehicle and a claim that the parking ticket had been "handed to driver" which was denied. Given the accumulation of doubt the parking ticket was cancelled.

Barnet Council & NSL are not ingratiating themselves with PATAS as their evidence "is presented in an extremely unhelpful manner - very difficult to read each page unless it is enlarged".

It is worth checking that the signs in situ agree with the Traffic Management Order as sometimes they don't as was the case with four parking tickets for the same motorist in Nursery Walk NW4 (near the Garden Hospital) and all four tickets were cancelled.

We hear a lot about the hated pay-by-phone system which Verrus supplies. It seems that it has trouble telling a V from a B (presumably voice recognition software) and the adjudicator came down in favour of the motorist although with paying for the wrong registration or getting the wrong bay number the outcome is always uncertain. It all depends upon the facts.

A loading case that was slightly different to the usual ones. The sign says "loading only" but does not specify lorries. The motorist was unloading goods for a charity shop. The parking ticket was cancelled.

Another busy week at PATAS that the motorists found worthwhile on the whole.

If you appeal to PATAS there is a simple form to complete. It costs you nothing. The parking ticket does not increase from the £60 or £110 level (bus lanes £130) until 28 days after PATAS have decided the case so you get the chance to pay the original amount (you lose the half price offer but if you are innocent why should you pay?).

The council have to pay £40 to PATAS for each appeal.

The small effort has to be worth your while?

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance