Tuesday, 23 April 2013

PATAS w/c 8 April 13

More than 3 points required to turn this beast
Another good week at PATAS, the home of the independent adjudicator, where 37 parking tickets were cancelled, 212 were upheld and 2 were sent back to Barnet Council to think about offering some clemency. So that was a 75% win rate for the motorist.

Interesting cases include:

A vehicle had broken down. The PCN was cancelled. Why couldn't NSL or Barnet Council have cancelled the parking ticket? There was another case like this later in the week.

In Fredericks Place a vehicle was parked on the pavement which is normal for that location. The PCN was cancelled.

In an argument about pay-by-phone the records of Verrus were described as being of limited evidential value so it is worth arguing if you have paid.

A motorist doing a 3 point turn, which included going onto a crossover, received a PCN except that he was never served with it so the PCN was cancelled.

A suspension sign was poorly sited so that PCN was cancelled.

One of my favourites. A PCN was issued at 10:18 and payment was made at 10:19 so they evidently were both taking place at the same time as both the act of paying and the act of issuing a PCN each take more than 60 seconds to process. Trying to carry on and collect a penalty charge in such a situation is ridiculously mean. The joke is that the motorist only wanted 10 minutes of parking which they had paid for. If Eric Pickles gets his way they would be allowed 10 minutes grace and the lives of everyone would be improved.
Another case of delayed payment which took 7 minutes which I would say is not that unusual for pay-by-phone. The adjudicator felt bound to refuse as the PCN is legally correct but recommended to the council that they cancel the ticket all the same. The spirit of the parking rules had been complied with.
Inside a CPZ a parking ticket was given to a motorist on a single yellow line who had looked at the bay times and they were over. Thus the assumption was made that the single yellow lines were also OK to park on. It is not always the case. Often at junctions a single yellow may be for longer than the CPZ bays. In Woodside Close for example there is a single yellow line which is from 7am to 7pm and yet the zone is 8am to 6.30pm (I think, but is certainly of shorter duation). Keep an eye out when driving.
A parking ticket was cancelled as the motorist wasn't given enough time to collect a voucher.
The final case shows you the level to which NSL & Barnet council will stoop. It relates to a case of parking with 2 wheels on the pavement. Here is part of the adjudicator's comment:
There is no dispute as to the whereabouts of the vehicle at the time, on the material date. The Enforcement Authority assert the said vehicle to have been parked otherwise than wholly on the carriageway; the Appellant denies liability for the ensuing Penalty Charge Notice on the basis of the prevailing circumstances as set out in his written representations.

The Enforcement Authority's adduced evidence of the location bears out the Appellant's explanation that he had adopted the parking position so as to be parallel to other vehicles parked at the rear of the bank. The photographic capture endorses the fact that there is provision for legitimate parking at the rear of the premises.

In light of my foregoing observation on the evidence, and by virtue of the fact that I had the opportunity of meeting and assessing the 88 year old Appellant, whose oral evidence I found to be cogent and credible and I accepted it in its entirety, I make a recommendation to the Enforcement Authority. (to cancel the parking ticket)
Those stroppy eighty eight year olds have got to be kept in line.
Please keep submitting your appeals to PATAS. It is worth the slight effort.
Yours appealingly
Miss Feezance

Friday, 12 April 2013

Post Easter party time at PATAS

71% chocolate
In the slightly short week after Easter there were 28 appeals heard and of those 20 led to parking tickets being cancelled, a 71% success rate.
In a quarter of the cases the towel was thrown in.
There was a very naughty case in Hutton Grove. A motorist parked in a bay where there was not a sign on the bay so the warden calmly photographed the next bay along. The adjudicator is not easily fooled by such trickery and checked on google streetmap to see where the bay sign photograph was taken and that it was not where the car was parked. I do hope that motorist claims expenses.
In Stanhope Rd there was still a pay and display machine in November 2012 (I do hope we have not paid a fee for its removal) and unsurprisingly it wouldn't accept any money. The adjudicator would cancel the parking ticket though.
In a fascinating case someone had their credit ca5rd stolen. They rang Verrus for advice and were more or less told to park, not pay and appeal. The wrong advice was a good basis for appealing.
A bus lane sign was covered in graffiti and so the ticket was cancelled.
It was a very quiet week. Please keep on appealing and increase the volume of appeals for future weeks.
Have I mentioned that I am a friend of Mr Mustard? He has written a short guide to appealing. You can download it here.
Yours appealingly
Miss Feezance

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Happy Easter from PATAS

A quiet week in the run up to Easter (from 25 March ) at PATAS with only 37 cases heard. 31 of them led to cancelled parking tickets so 83% of motorists were happy. 8 of the cases were allowed by Order of the Adjudicator so they are probably cases in which evidence was not submitted or where Barnet Council threw in the towel (or NSL threw it in for them).
Winning arguments were:
that the lines in the loading bay were very faint
that the car was only stopped due to a medical emergency which was that the driver was suffering severe chest pains (Barnet Council are all heart to have contested this one all the way to the end!)
that the CPZ signage in Edgwarebury Gardens was inadequate (it is)
that footway parking in Second Avenue is historically not enforced
that unloading when parked across a dropped kerb is OK
that a reasonable time must be allowed to go into a property to get the blue badge 
that unloading to a hospice charity shop is an exemption
that the council's photos were poor quality & didn't prove a contravention

Feel free to use any of these arguments, that apply, when submitting your appeal.

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance

Monday, 8 April 2013

de minimus non curat lex (Trifle to you)

The wrong sort of trifle
(picture: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1354650/ )

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

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Still on a role - 77% of appeals won

There were fewer cases at PATAS in the week commencing Monday 18 March 13 but still 51 parking tickets were cancelled and only 15 were upheld.
Interesting cases included one where the motorist stopped due to a nosebleed and were more than 50cm from the kerb (this rule is to prevent double parking). It seems that Barnet Council expect you to have your medical emergencies at the same time as parking neatly; luckily the independent adjudicator takes a more reasonable approach.
A parking ticket issued for parking on double yellow lines did not reveal any in the traffic warden's photographs. Result; ticket cancelled.
A motorist who was given a dispensation over the telephone was not told that it would not start until the following day. Given that payment information can flow from the Verrus Pay-by-Phone system to the traffic warden's equipment it is very disappointing that the council haven't bothered to also get dispensation and new permit info onto the handheld equipment in almost real time. Please all note that a dispensation you are given starts on the following day when, for example, you take delivery of a new car.
A parking ticket issued after 3 minutes grace and supposedly 7 minutes of observation for a motorist who took 4 minutes to pay, was cancelled. the adjudicator said that payment had clearly been made,  just not as quickly as the council would have liked.
A parking ticket issued for being parked in a bus stop was cancelled as there was not the usual single thick (about 15cm) yellow line marking out the extent of the bus stop.
A section of bay was suspended. A parking ticket was issued. the motorist successfully argued that they were outside of the section of 15m which was suspended. What a resident could do if a section of bay is suspended for, say, your removals van on moving day, is to take down the signs once the action for which the bay was suspended is over and done with. This would be helpful to other motorists to bring the spaces back into use at the earliest opportunity.
Keep those appeals coming. My friend Mr Mustard has written a quick guide to the procedure to follow as he thinks most people don't understand the three stage process. You can download it here for free.

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance