I must apologise for the gap in the blogging brought about mostly by the transformation of PATAS into London Tribunals which led to the register not being available for a few weeks. I will catch up asap.
Here are the stats for the week in question:
so as you can see Barnet were responsible for more than their fair share of new Appeals and contrived to lose more of them than the usual 50%.
There were four cases of note, which all led to the PCN being cancelled:
- A dropped kerb was not proven
- The Saracens Event Day Zone was not proven (the council struggle with this)
- 3 spaces in a bay were suspended. The bay had space for 4 cars; the 3 which were suspended was not made clear.
- My favourite, this one, in the words of the adjudicator;
The Appellant's vehicle was parked in a restricted street displaying a badge that had expired and a fairly detailed note explaining that the badge was in the process of being renewed.
Despite that note I would not criticise the CEO for issuing the PCN ( as motorists cannot write themselves exemptions from parking restrictions). However it transpires that the reason there was no valid badge on display is that the Council's agents Capita, had failed to issue him with one at the proper time.
Having heard the Appellant in person in detail there is no doubt at all that the sorry history of his attempt to renew the badge in very good time is correct; and that his request to Capita for the required renewal forms was, as he was informed by Capita when chasing the matter, "lost in the system". When the forms were eventually received on a Saturday morning, he completed them and put them in the post that same morning.
It appears that Capita could learn something from the Appellant's efficiency.
The Council states that the Appellant should have applied for a temporary dispensation. He was never informed of this by the Council when he made his initial renewal enquiry or at any subsequent stage by the Council's agents Capita. All he was told to do was to display a note, which he did. In my judgement in these circumstances the law follows common sense and does not allow a Council to enforce a penalty for a contravention which occurred entirely as a result of its own failings (Capita being the agent of the Council for these purposes). Allowing it to do so would be the equivalent of an abuse of process and in these circumstances no contravention can be said to have occurred (see the dicta in Camden v The Parking Adjudicator and BHS t/a First for Food Service Ltd  EWHC 295 Admin EWCA Civ 905)
The Appeal is therefore allowed.
The Appellant has shown to me today a charge certificate issued in respect of a very similar case, and where he never received a Notice to Owner. He has of course the right to follow the statutory procedures to set this aside. I am not seized of that matter today. However, if it is the case that the situation in that case is indeed identical, the Council might be well advised to cancel that PCN without further ado, since if the matter ever came to appeal it might well find itself at risk of an order for costs on the Appeal being allowed.
Keep those Appeals coming.