Friday, 25 April 2014

PATAS - week of 14 April 14

It was a slow week at PATAS and I think that has been caused by the changeover of parking enforcement software by NSL on behalf of Barnet Council. So slow that only 28 news cases lodged at PATAS in the week out of 926 related to Barnet. So slow that I am not even going to illustrate the story with a picture this week; please simply imagine "slow" painted on the road in big white capitals.

For a while the number of appeal hearings at PATAS was running at about 100. Last week it was 55 of which 32 led to the PCN being cancelled so that was a 58% success rate.

There were 6 cases which you need to know about.

A gas fitter attending an emergency had his PCN cancelled for obvious reasons. Whilst trying to make a property safe you haven't got time to stop and do anything else.

NSL, on behalf of the council, were unable to produce a copy of the PCN even after an adjournment of 2 weeks. Bye bye PCN.

A person is allowed to alight (get out of) a car that is stopped on double yellow lines. Stopping for up to 2 minutes for the able bodied would be perfectly permissible and longer for your children, the elderly and disabled.

The council produced their evidence at the last minute. it should be with you 4 days (excluding Sundays) before the hearing. If not, your Human Right to a fair trial has been breached as the Evidence pack may contain some evidence that you then don't have the time to investigate. The PCN was duly cancelled.

There were two cases of alleged prevention of service of PCN. Unless you have physically restrained the traffic warden by force there has not been any prevention.

Some kerb flashes (blips or marks, call them what you will) which are painted across the kerb and are about 300cm long were not sufficiently clear so the PCN was cancelled. these flashes mean both no loading / unloading and no parking for blue badge holders. Please take care.

Now the software is up and running again I expect the appeal numbers will rapidly go back up to the usual levels.

Yours appealingly

Miss feezance

Friday, 18 April 2014

PATAS - week of 7 April 14 - no free transfer

your bus lane ticket is not transferable
It has been quiet at PATAS with the number of Barnet cases dropping. This is probably because the council has been busy changing its parking ticket processing software and so haven't been sending out any Notices of Rejection which are accompanied by the PATAS appeal form. This hiatus period might mean that the council have taken longer than 56 days to reject your representations (the challenge you made once you had a Notice to Owner) and if that is the case they have no right to reject you, they have accepted the challenge by default. Do make sure you use this as one of your Grounds of Appeal on the PATAS form (the council will have committed a procedural impropriety so you can tick that box) as well as all the other points you have found. When you sit down at PATAS and the Adjudicator has introduced themselves, and told you in brief how your hearing will proceed, you should raise the delay as a preliminary point and you'll probably find yourself having hardly warmed the seat and on your way back out of the Appeal centre with a grin on your face. You could then apply for costs as the council could be considered to have been wholly unreasonable in not following a law that they know very well.

Anyway, there were 33 PCN cancelled and 23 upheld in the week which is 59% of them won by the motorist.

One case that was lost was a bus lane PCN which was given to a car hire company. They tried to have liability transferred to the driver. They cannot do so, it is in the legislation. It seems like an anomaly as parking tickets can be transferred but the law is the law.

Some of the features of winning cases were:

The council denied receiving an informal challenge when they clearly had and the Adjudicator was unimpressed with a failure of a local authority to tell the truth (as they equally are when a member of the public tries to pull the wool over their eyes).

Not seen very often now in the light of the hammering they were taking but an old PCN slipped through the net from 20 July 12 and won't now see its second birthday as it is cancelled.

A sign was facing the wrong way. You have to be able to see CPZ entry signs as you drive along the road and signs next to a parking bay have to face the road.

More woes in the Saracens zone. This time someone trying to get a permit getting the answerphone machine and didn't get called back. Not just the once either. The PCN has been converted into a meaningless piece of paper now.

The photos taken at night time weren't good enough to show the contravention. A traffic warden could make enough notes to otherwise prove such a case, but they didn't.

In Armitage Road a line painted on the road was found not to be substantially compliant. Lines don't have to be perfect but they should be clear as to the restriction they convey.

I know next week isn't much busier at PATAS but expect numbers to keep rising as you all start to get those latent Notices of Rejection. You know what to do, appeal!

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance

Monday, 7 April 2014

PATAS - w/c 31 Mar 14 - mostly routine

Last week at PATAS there were 103 cases of which 64, that is 61%, were won by the motorist. There were an incredible 31 witness statements to the TEC that merely slowed down the inevitable.

There were the usual cases where the motorist was accused of preventing service of a PCN but saying you won't take it and driving off is not prevention for which some physical force is required.

Here is how nurses in the community are treated by NSL / Barnet Council.

I have accepted the appellant's evidence about taking in to the patient an oxygen tank together with respiratory inhalers. The oxygen tank in particular seems to me to attract the benefit of the unloading exemption. I am satisfied that she did not take an unreasonable time in connection with this unloading and I have accordingly allowed the appeal.

Why can't the council use common-sense and accept that nurses have a hard enough job and that they should cancel parking tickets in such situations?

The Saracens Event Day zone saw a number of cancellations. The problem in the Traffic Management Order is now going to be fixed by the council.

More presumed guilty behaviour by Notice Processing Officers which lead to appeals to PATAS that invariably result in a cancelled PCN.

I have accepted the appellant explanation that he was simply visiting another clergyman and the stop was no longer than was necessary for the collection and loading of bags required in connection with funerary rites to be performed. I am satisfied the case properly attracts the benefit of the loading exemption that was available at the time and place concerned at the time and place concerned. I have recorded this appeal as allowed.

Can't NSL / Barnet Council accept that a clergyman is likely to tell the truth?
Some signage was hidden by foliage so the PCN was cancelled.

Finally, Barnet Council (NSL) are fond of insisting that if you have a garage bill for repair work or for being recovered that it must have a VAT number on it to be acceptable. That is unreasonable as the VAT registration limit is now £79,000 p.a. and so it is quite possible for a one man band garage, or mobile mechanic, to operate a business without being registered for VAT. So, if they reject your invoice as proof, carry on with your Appeal to PATAS.

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance 

Thursday, 3 April 2014

PATAS - w/c 24 Mar 14 - 100 cases

a century of cases
A really busy week at PATAS starting on Monday 24 March. There were 13 witness statements which I'll ignore as they are just delaying the inevitable. There were 100 cases which had followed the usual route and of those 68 led to cancellation of the PCN. Even if you are not good at maths you can see there was a 68% success rate last week. Keep those Appeals flowing.

The following cases all resulted in the PCN being cancelled:

- Kara Way, a sign is inadequate.
- PCNs often go missing and the reason is unknown, traffic wardens removing them is oft suspected and not often proved, the following is an extract of the adjudicator's decision in which it was:

Further the Enforcement Authority assert that a Penalty Charge Notice was subsequently issued by post as a result of the said vehicle having been driven away before the civil enforcement officer had finished preparing the Penalty Charge Notice for service by affixing it to the said vehicle or handing it to the person appearing to be in charge of the said vehicle.

Mr. L indicated the purpose of his business at the location and described a sequence of events regarding the questionable behaviour of two civil enforcement officers. Not only did Mr. L dispute the alleged position of the said vehicle, he also vehemently denied driving away. On the contrary he remained in situ waiting for his passenger and observed the civil enforcement officer print out a document and place it in his breast pocket as he photographed the time plate.

- those PCN which arrive in the post are often suspect. The adjudicator's decision shows that there is concern at PATAS about these Regulation 10 PCN in Barnet:

This appeal concerns a Penalty Charge Notice issued under regulation 10(1)(b) of the Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (England) General Regulations 2007. This regulation enables a penalty charge notice to be sent by post after a Civil Enforcement Officer has attempted to serve it either by fixing it to a vehicle or giving it to the person appearing to him to be in charge of it, but was prevented from doing do by some person. In his notes at the time, the issuing Civil Enforcement Officer stated that he had told the returning driver that he had got a Penalty Charge Notice and he got into the vehicle and drove away.

In her representations, the Appellant disputed the alleged contravention by reference to a number of matters, in particular that at no time was a Civil Enforcement Officer prevented from issuing a Penalty Charge Notice. The representations were rejected, and the reduced penalty was reoffered for a limited period, but the offer was not taken up. Similar issues were raised on appeal.

A driver removing a vehicle is not "preventing" the issue of the Penalty Charge Notice. The PCN should refer to the ground at Regulation 10(1)(c) of the Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (England) General Regulations 2007, not 10(1)(b).

As the PCN does not correctly state the grounds on which it is issued it is defective and its issue is a procedural impropriety. Indeed strictly speaking it ceases to be a PCN at all in law. So long as the Enforcement Authority issues PCNs in this form, in these circumstances appeals will be allowed and the question of costs may fall to be considered.

- there were a few Saracens Event Day PCN and of course the Traffic Management Order does not define what an "Event Day" is. That mistake is now being corrected but will still take a few weeks during which every Saracens Zone PCN should be appealed.

- a type of PCN that isn't often seen is for selling goods from your van or car. That can be forbidden but people in the street must be told about it by signage. Here is the adjudicator again:

Before reaching a determination in this matter I Adjourned the Case to afford the Enforcement Authority an opportunity to elucidate upon the statement in its letter of 12th November 2013 to the Appellant regarding the motorists' knowledge of the prohibition, and how that is achieved.

Although Article 17 of the Traffic Management Order conveys such a restriction the Enforcement Authority were requested to address the issue of the means by which such prohibition is communicated to the motorist.

In so Adjourning I also asked the Enforcement Authority to address its reference to 'grounds' in correspondence where its consideration can encompass mitigation.

I interpret the absence of reply from the Enforcement Authority as an indication that this Appeal is no longer contested, accordingly I allow this Appeal.

- In Heathfield Rd there was obscured signage
- In Woodstock Avenue the signage was unclear.

Remember that once you have the Notice to Owner there is nothing to lose by making representations and then Appealing to PATAS. The opportunity to pay at 50% has gone and won't come back so make the council work for their money.

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance