Tuesday, 30 July 2013

PATAS - w/c 22 July 2013

A bus lane but no bus
Another fairly typical week at PATAS led to 39 parking tickets being cancelled ("canx") and 36 being upheld.
In a bus lane case from 2012 there wasn't any cctv evidence. I wonder if it has all been stored properly or if room was needed on the hard disks for more recent footage? The problem in this case was also that a Charge Certificate was issued a month after the appeal was scheduled at PATAS and nothing further should have been done for the council. This alone was enough to cancel the PCN.
A bay wasn't reinstated after roadworks and so without lines PCNs should not have been issued at that location. PCN canx.
A PCN was issued to someone which related to the period before they owned the car. Why that wasn't sorted out without a PATAS hearing is a mystery. PCN canx.
In another location the Traffic Management Order that was produced and the local sign were for different times so the PCN was canx.
Someone had a sprained ankle and this was found to be compelling mitigation for the cancellation of their PCN. The adjudicator has a heart even if Barnet Council and NSL don't.
Near to Tally Ho there is a closed pub which is now a closed restaurant called Googoosh. It looks private with 3 spaces marked out for parking. The council issue parking tickets there but as this motorist had parked there for years without receiving a PCN he had a reasonable expectation he would not be ticketed and so his PCN was canx.
In a technical case a motorist parked on the pavement but partly outside of the lines. They were given a PCN for parking outside a parking bay but it isn't a parking bay in this situation so they should have been ticketed for pavement parking. Result, the PCN was canx.
The council failed to prove the signage for a 3 hour restriction and so that PCN was canx.
The description of some suspended bays was misleading and so the PCN was canx.
The adjudicator is getting rather bored with pointing out to the council that the signs in Nursery Walk and the Traffic Management Order do not agree with each other and he keeps cancelling PCN. He has suggested they fix the problem.
A case in which the council didn't deal with formal representations at all (they have to respond within 56 days) led to the PCN being canx.
I am not sure that enough appeals are being done. Could you appeal every ticket you get please. remember you can appeal 3 times, once informally in response to the PCN, once again on the same grounds when you get the Notice to owner and finally to PATAS when the council send you a Notice of Rejection of Representations. No doesn't always mean no when the council reject your appeal; the adjudicator might say it means yes. There is only one way to find out; appeal!
Yours appealingly
Miss Feezance

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

PATAS - w/c 15 July

The pendulum bridge
This week started with Barnet Council getting their nose in front at PATAS on Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday but then on Thursday and Friday the superior organisation and argument of motorists saw the pendulum swing back. The score ended up with 37 PCN cancelled and 31 upheld.
Notable cases included one where a Regulation 9 PCN was sent in the post, the only snag being that it should have been a Regulation 10 PCN which has different wording. PCN cancelled.
The double yellow lines stopped at the vehicle. PCN canx.
In another case the photographs were described by the adjudicator as "rather useless" and evidently there wasn't enough other convincing evidence to enable the PCN to live on.
Mr Mustard is rather concerned by Barnet Council's actions in dredging old PCN out of dusty corners of their hard discs and pursuing people who think that the PCN is at an end or who have never heard of it because they aren't the correct person. Here is what the adjudicator said on a really old case:
enforcement authority has referred a statutory declaration made by Mr Foran over a bus lane infringement on 20 April 2011. The Enforcement Notice was sent to a Mr Forcan at the above address on 18 May 2011. It is clear from the letter sent by the son that Mr Foran does not own the vehicle nor does he drive. I am satisfied that if any further action is to be taken the enforcement authority will need to make proper investigation as to where Mr Forcan resides and to ensure they are wholly satisfied as to who is the registered keeper of the vehicle. Bearing in mind the evidence supplied by Mr Foran he should not be sent a further Enforcement Notice as he is not the registered keeper.
In another case a lady was given until the end of the month to pay and then the council reneged on that agreement. This led to the council getting £zero instead of 50%.
The Notice to Owner was not served. PCN canx.
Poor photographs. Case not made out. PCN canx.
PCN not served. Photographs of rear of car only. PCN canx.
Unloading Xmas groceries. PCN canx.
Notice of Rejection of Representations not served. PCN canx.
PCN issued at 16;33 in a 11-12 zone as the council's own photographs showed! PCN canx.
Traffic warden noted that the PCN was both put on the windscreen and handed to the driver. The adjudicator threw it into the waste paper basket!
The council provided inconsistent evidence. PCN canx.
The next case indicates the lengths to which people will go to contest a PCN:

Mr A has appeared in person.

This PCN was issued for the alleged contravention of being parked without payment of the parking charge. It is clear from the evidence produced by Mr A that he did make payment of the parking charge. His mobile telephone records show that he made a call to the number shown on the parking restriction sign at 16:17 on 12 April 2013. The number was 0203 362 2000. Mr A's bank records show that a payment was taken from his account for parking on street that day in the amount of £3. Mr A says that he received verbal confirmation of the payment.

I find on this evidence that the alleged contravention did not occur.

Mr A travelled 410 miles by car from Manchester for the purpose of attending this hearing and also incurred an underground rail fare of £8. He claims the cost of his travel expenses. He says that the cheapest method of travel from Manchester would have been a pre-booked rail fare at a cost of £67. He therefore claims that sum rather than the cost of mileage. He claims a total of £75 including the underground fare.

In Mr A's notice of appeal and in a subsequent letter dated 4 July 2013, he explained that Barclays Bank had been given a unique reference number prior to taking the payment for the parking charge and this reference number was 090605. Mr Cohen says that the Bank explained that this number comes from the beneficiary prior to payment and he submits that the Council has behaved in a wholly unreasonable manner in continuing to resist his appeal having been provided with this further information.

The Council is therefore required to address this application for costs which the Adjudicator is presently minded to award.

Car not more than 50cm from the kerb. PCN canx.
PCN fixed to the vehicle and served by post. Two PCN became zero PCN.
A description of "Ballards Lane" was found to be inadequate due to the length of the street. The notes were also inadequate. PCN canx.
The council didn't prove that the Event Day zone was properly signed.
A number of vouchers were displayed. Following the instructions they were all scratched off with the same arrival time. Apparently they should be scratched off with sequential times but that isn't what the instructions say. PCN canx.
Motorist was in Harpenden just before the PCN was issued. PCN canx.
Unloading a large amount of coin at the bank. PCN canx.
What you can see form these appeals is that the independent adjudicator applies a much more commonsense and reasonable approach to parking than Barnet Council do because the adjudicator does not have a vested interest in your appeal failing; they provide an impartial service. You should keep those appeals coming. We seem to be stuck at around the 75 per week mark and 100 would be much more fun.
Yours appealingly
Miss Feezance

Monday, 22 July 2013

PATAS - w/c 8 July

Leap Year causes PCN
Another week rolls by and 70 cases are heard. Of those 55% or 39 are found in favour of the motorist who gets their parking ticket (PCN) cancelled. So that is 39 errors made by NSL and/or Barnet Council.
The cases were not at all revolutionary this week and so the blog post will be briefer than usual.
In one case the Verrus PayByPhone system refused to take payment. PCN cancelled.
The Council didn't prove how they knew who the keeper was was an unusual reason for a PCN to be cancelled. This is what the independent adjudicator said:

I note that the enquiries of DVLA made by the Enforcement Authority resulted in an address only; I therefore Adjourned this Case to afford the Enforcement Authority an opportunity to address me as to how it established the Appellant Company as the registered keeper of the said vehicle at the relevant time.

The Enforcement Authority was reminded of the consequence of a lack of, or lack of adequate response.

In the absence of reply from the Enforcement Authority I am unable to determine that liability lies with the Appellant Company , accordingly I allow this Appeal
My guess is that the council googled the address and then pout 2 & 2 together, wrongly.
A vehicle which wouldn't start was given a parking ticket. It has now been cancelled after wasting everybody's time.
The council rejected a double yellow line argument but the car had been on a single yellow so that PCN was cancelled.
The adjudicator said: I observed there to be an overt failure to adequately identify/rebut or retort to the Appellant's issues, which equates to the council have blundered and I now cancel the PCN.
An evidence pack submitted by the council was defective which leads to only one result; cancellation of the PCN.
Lines were missing so that means free parking.
Yellow lines were too faded to count as substantially compliant.
The photographs didn't show the offending dropped kerb so that parking ticket could not stand.
The one losing case worth a mention is where someone scratched out 29 February and it wasn't a leap year. As it would be about 28 years before that voucher could be used again the council could have exercised its discretion but they don't as money is at stake.
Do keep those appeals coming. Remember that you can be knocked back twice by the council and still win at PATAS. If the council have been frivolous, vexatious or wholly unreasonable then you can claim costs.
Yours appealingly
Miss Feezance

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

PATAS - w/c 1 July 13

leg it before the parking ticket is affixed
Another week has already flown by. A good week for the motorist with 70% of appeals leading to cancelled parking tickets ( 47 out of 67 ). Cancelled tickets worth mentioning include:-

- a copy of the PCN was not produced so that was that (twice)
- motorist drove away before the PCN was even started
- Photographs not dated/timed. Boarding exemption applied anyway
- the council failed to respond to informal representations (the PCN says they will)
- see what the independent adjudicator said about signs:

The motorist is required to comply with all lawful regulations relating to parking controls, but this requirement is subject to the Enforcement Authority erecting signage that accords with its legal obligations under Regulation 18(1)(a) of the Local Authorities Orders (Procedure) (England and Wales) Regulations 1996 which obliges a traffic authority to take such steps as are necessary to secure that, where a traffic regulation order has been made relating to any road, traffic signs are placed and maintained "on or near the road... in such positions as the order making authority may consider requisite for securing that adequate information as to the effect of the order is made available to persons using the road."

I am not satisfied that the provision of payment information facing inwards to the footway accords with this requirement and find that the alleged contravention cannot be pursued.

So, all those PayByPhone signs that face the pavement are the wrong way around and are the grounds for your appeal quoting PATAS case number 2130230750 in support. The idea being for PayByPhone that you can do it all without leaving your seat in the car and if one sign faces the road and the other faces the opposite way, then you can't.
- the Notice to Owner was served more than 6 months after the PCN. This is expressly forbidden.
- marginal overhang of a dropped kerb.
- Loading (always good if you can produce genuine paperwork)
- The traffic management order and the sign about loading were different
- no proof that a bay was suspended
- dropped footway not visible (photos taken after dark are useless)
- a June 11 PCN was cancelled as the sign faced the hedge.
- the council didn't prove 3 March 13 was an Event Day (Saracens Zone)
- more notes by an independent adjudicator
One of the issues raised by the appellant was that a Penalty Charge Notice issued on 2 nd October 2012 had been removed by a civil enforcement officer and therefore it was not received by the appellant depriving him of an opportunity to settle the Penalty Charge Notice at the discounted rate. The local authority has not dealt with this issue. In the absence of a response from the local authority I allow this appeal on the basis that there has been a procedural impropriety.
- failed to deal properly with representations by an agent
- a 6 month delay had occurred in the process
- vehicle had broken down (two of these)
- the dropped kerb was that of the motorist
- the dropped kerb was to a bin store so not for a vehicle, cyclists or pedestrians.
- cctv evidence for a bus lane was poor

Keep on putting those appeals in. They are fun.

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance


Monday, 15 July 2013

PATAS - w/c 24 June

So another week passes at PATAS and 67 appeals were heard. 64%, which equals 43 of them, result in happy campers with their parking tickets cancelled. Notable wins for the following reasons:
- Inadequate evidence that the whole car was more then 0.5 of a metre from the kerb.
- No proof the car was adjacent to a dropped kerb.
-  The Council merely provides an undated photograph lifted from streetview  showing a length of carriageway where the vehicle is said to have parked. On balance I am unable to be satisfied the contravention is sufficiently proved and the Appeal is therefore allowed.
- Delivering 5kg of walnuts (don't all try this one please)
- The no loading kerb flashes were very degraded
- The vehicle was in a locked garage at the time of the alleged contravention (cloned vehicle?)
- Trivial overhang of dropped kerbs (2 cases)
- Suspended bay signs unclear
- Misleading voucher notes. All were scratched off with the same time - this is when multiple vouchers are employed, the rules don't say that the scratch off time should run concurrently.
- Unloading decorating equipment
- This vehicle was parked at this location on a Sunday afternoon. I am satisfied that it was so parked adjacent to a dropped kerb but am also satisfied the appellant raising the issue that the presence of the yellow line drawn at the edge of the carriageway across the dropped kerb potentially misleads motorists into believing that they can park at this location on Sunday afternoons when, very frequently, waiting restrictions are not in place. I acknowledge that there is both a yellow line restriction and a dropped kerb prohibition on parking at this spot but if the council wishes to enforce dropped kerb infringements it should to my mind remove any accompanying yellow line. I am not satisfied against this background that the prohibition on parking adjacent to a dropped footway at this location was clearly communicated to the appellant and find that the contravention did not therefore occur.
- Did not get the Notice to Owner from 12 March 2012. No explanation as to why no action taken for 6 months = a pretty automatic cancellation.
- Bus lane case from 9 September 2010. Justic delayed is justice denied so do fight old tickets on the grounds of a delay over 6 months at any stage prior to the bailiff being appointed (the bailiff gets a year and can apply to renew the warrant). If in doubt consult mrmustard@zoho.com as he is the expert on the timetable.
- Vehicle had left by 10.00 when the restricted hours started.
- Blue badge correctly set at 12:15 for an arrival time of 12:05. Set to the next nearest quarter hour is not fiddling.
Quite a good week.Plenty of appeals and a higher than 50% win rate is better than the London average.
Keep them coming.
Yours appealingly
Miss Feezance

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.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

PATAS w/c 10 June

If you run out of fuel your appeal will fail
What a busy and varied week it was at PATAS from Monday 10 June. There were 90 appeals of which the council won 40 and the motorist 50 some 56%. The council will have paid out £3,600 in fees to London Councils for the PATAS service and will get back about £3,900 if they collect on every ticket, which they won't manage to do. When faced with a resistant motorist who is making their second appeal it might be a quicker and better outcome to cancel the PCN before the PATAS stage is reached, especially for lower rate contraventions where the upside is only £60.
Well done to motorists everywhere for getting 90 appeals in. If that keeps up that would be about 4,500 in a full year out of c.150,000 or 3% which is a much higher rate than in other London boroughs. The more the PATAS appeals mount the more the council will have to think about scaling back the number of PCN they issue and the less economic the contract will become for NSL.
Interesting cases which were won by the motorist:
A notice of suspension sign was only put out 24 hours before it came into effect. At least 5 days was required and even that I think inadequate as you could be on a week's holiday, or longer if you are lucky.
Someone tried 7 times to PayByPhone and the location code was rejected so they had done their best.
An example of our caring sharing council:
The Appellant is the London Ambulance Service. It submitted that the vehicle was an ambulance and being used for an ambulance purpose. The Authority submitted that the exception only applied to ambulances on emergency calls.

The Authority has not provided any justification for its submission. The Appellant has referred to another decision in their favour but the Authority's response was that each case must be decided on its own merit. While this is correct as a general statement of principle, where one case does not appear to be different to another, one would look for reasons to justify a different conclusion. The point here is that the Appellant have argued that their interpretation of the nature of an exemption has been accepted by an Adjudicator (and I am aware that this has been has indeed been accepted by more than one Adjudicator), the Authority should therefore put itself in a position to say why such an interpretation should not apply in the instant case.

The Appellant submitted that the exception is for all vehicles used for ambulance purposes. The Authority had not accepted or challenged the wording of the exception. It has not supplied the relevant extract of the Traffic Management Order. It has not submitted why, if the wording is as described by the Appellant, a requirement of emergency can be read into the exception. In other words, it has not in any way drawn any distinction between the instant appeal and other appeals which had been resolved in the Appellant's favour, but it wants a different conclusion. I am not bound by those previous decisions, but I am certainly in agreement.
Unloading exemption granted. The PCN dated from 2 June 2011 and was probably being pursued invalidly due to the lapse of time.
A receipt was produced for a new battery and as it was a sudden failure, and not an issue of lack of maintenance, this came under the breakdown exemption.
Only the bumper was adjacent to a dropped kerb, or crossover, and even then only next to the sloping part of the kerb which is fine. PCN cancelled.
The traffic warden's notes said that the PCN was both affixed to the windscreen and handed to driver which patently could not be true.
PayByPhone allowed a vehicle registration of GSWGK to be registered which is an obvious error on the council's part so the PCN was cancelled.
Signage for a suspended bay was found to be inadequate.
A parking ticket was issued for the wrong contravention. The motorist may have been guilty but you have to be penalised for what you actually did wrong, not what you didn't.
The next case is brilliant and again I reproduce some of the notes from the independent adjudicator.
The Appellant says that she paid to park, by phone, having followed the instructions to do so on the post next to which she parked her car. She received a confirmation of the payment to park and so left her vehicle. She has produced photographs of her vehicle, the post next to her vehicle, which was not signed with any suspension, and shown the distance between the sign (headed "advanced warning sign") relied on by the local authority and her car.

I have carefully considered all of the evidence from which I am not satisfied that the contravention occurred of that the signage was adequate.

I find as a fact that the Appellant paid to park, and that this was accepted. The local authority cannot both accept payment to park and say that the right to park on payment is suspended. Further, the point of paying by text is that a motorist looks only to that sign and can sit in the car to do so. It is the nearest sign, and no other sign would influence what the motorist would do. I find that the signage was not adequate to alert the motorist to the purported suspension of this sign.

I therefore allow the appeal.
Then a complete horlicks was made of another case:
I allow this appeal for a number of reasons.

Firstly, the allegation made in the Penalty Charge Notice appears to be contradicted by other information contained within it, so that the allegation is unclear and misleading. I say this because it is alleged that at 15:59 the vehicle was parked for longer than permitted, and then it is said that the vehicle was observed from 15:59 to 16:25. It leaves me in doubt as to the time of the alleged contravention - which is the crux of the issue.

Secondly, the local authority rely on a photograph of the location at which the vehicle was said to be parked - which has double yellow lines - but which contradicts other evidence which suggests that it was parked within a marked white box.

Thirdly, the Appellant made detailed representations in response to the Notice to Owner, and the local authority failed to address them at all in the Notice of Rejection, which is a statutory obligation and amount to a procedural impropriety to not do so.

I therefore allow the appeal.
Let us see if we can get over 100 appeals a week going in to give NSL something to do.
Yours appealingly
Miss Feezance