Sunday, 11 January 2015

PATAS - w/c 5 Jan 15 - got it taped

This week was a busier one although not yet full speed. There were 826 new Appeals registered of which 68, that is 8%, came from Barnet. This was twice the rate at which appeals should arrive for Barnet cases. I keep saying that and eventually the council will get things on an even keel.

There were 40 Appeals actually heard and the council threw in the towel on 16 of them thus wasting PATAS fees of about £500 (it is usual over the holiday season for them to decide not to bother as they are short handed, probably). That helped the motorists win 31 out of the 40 cases which is a win rate of 78%. It doesn't matter to the motorist if they win after or without a fight, you just want your PCN cancelled and the result is the same, nothing to pay.

There were three cases of note.

In the first one the motorist was delivering what was described as a cassette player, which if it was the size of a paperback book, wouldn't qualify for the loading/unloading exemption unless it was being delivered in the course of trade. The council put in evidence a photo of the cassette player but it is hard to assess scale without anything else in the picture, as in mine above. However, I don't think they said it is really a boom box and weighs 6.8 kilos. The motorist was allowed the loading/unloading exemption and the PCN was cancelled.

In the second one the council (NSL) said the motorist never had a residents permit which he, of course, produced a copy of to the adjudicator. Once an adjudicator sees an untruth they tend to turn against that party as they don't know what they can rely on. The PCN was cancelled. Note that you therefore need to stick to the same truthful story throughout all three rounds of challenge.

In the third case a car was partly in a bay and partly on a single yellow line. The PCN was for being parked outside of the bay marking. Here is what the adjudicator said:

It is not disputed that the Appellant's vehicle straddled a shared use bay and a single yellow line. It is also not disputed that the Appellant had a permit entitling him to park in the shared use bay, and that the yellow line was not operational.

The Appellant said that he had made more than one enquiries with the Authority and he had been told that the above manner of parking is permitted. The Authority disagreed. It said that is was not permitted and that even if the advice was given, it was erroneous and the Appellant should have followed the terms and condition on the permit.

Despite the Appellant asserting that parking in such a manner does not constitute a contravention, the Authority has not indicated what provisions in the Traffic Management Order creates such a restriction. I have found a reference to parking outside bay markings in Article 23 of the TMO but the Article also refers to parking places for which special provisions are specified. There are no special provisions specified for the bay at Alba Gardens. There is therefore a reasonably strong argument that no contravention had occurred and that the advice given to the Appellant was correct.

I do not agree that the Authority can disclaim any erroneous advice by reference to its terms and conditions. First of all, the Authority has not provided evidence of the terms and conditions. Secondly and by reason of what I have said above, there is no evidence that such a term and condition is legitimate. Thirdly and bearing in mind that it is a shared use bay, the Authority's argument would mean that the restriction applies to permit users but not those who pay for the parking. The suggestion is untenable. In any event, a general proposition that an enforcement Authority may penalise a motorist who has acted on its erroneous advice cannot be right.

I am allowing the appeal.

If you are telephoning the council for vital advice it might be best to tape the call.

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance

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