Wednesday, 11 November 2015

London Tribunals - August 15

Chancery Lane tube; the nearest to the tribunal (do not go to Angel)
This is the first report on the decisions of London Tribunals, formerly PATAS.

Since the previous month the tribunal has moved premises, changed its name and started to use new computer software. Inevitably things did not go smoothly as ideally those 3 changes would each have been implemented separately. The adjudicators are largely the same people and they are starting to find their way around the two screen computer system.

My perception is that the playing field has slightly tilted in favour of the council, this may be a function of attempts to knock cases out more quickly or it could be that Barnet Council (NSL) are starting to get their act together or it could simply be that the motorists concerned weren't very good at doing Appeals or that the fewer the Appeals the easier the system is to manage.

The end result for the month was 47 cases won by motorists and 54 by the council. Doubtless the parking manager is breathing a sign of relief that the number of cases has dropped form its peak and that he has fewer tribunal fees to pay out. Each hearing costs the council the thick end of £40, win or lose, and the motorist nothing except some time. My advice to motorists is to have a personal hearing every time (make a day out of it and go for a nice meal afterwards to either celebrate or drown your sorrows) and to avoid Saturdays when results tend to be worse.

The cases of note are these:

Ingram Road had a footway parking amnesty, the nearby Wildwood Rd did not. The case was lost.

A vehicle broke down and was scrapped. The value received was £80. The adjudicator found for the council but recommended they do not collect the £110 penalty. Why he didn't allow the appeal for circumstances beyond the control of the motorist is not known but it may be that the car was on its last legs anyway (it was worth £300) and so a lack of maintenance was the reason.

The parking meter (credit/debit card machine) refuses to let you pay early (before operational hours) for your parking (a bit inconvenient if you want to get on a train) but it only does this on the days which follow a bank holiday. This is an anomaly which must be easily fixed.

A PCN was given out 6 months after a car was scrapped by an insurance company. The old owner ended up with the paperwork to deal with and the PCN was cancelled. In a second case there had been an insurance payout. If you prove these things to the council they really shouldn't be making you go to PATAS.

A motorist presented the same witness evidence as in a case from May 2014. Adjudicators are sharp as tacks, do not lie to them.

Knowing that a disabled bay was redundant and due to be removed someone decided to start parking in it. That was an expensive decision as they lost, the bay was still legally in force. On a different day another adjudicator might somehow find for you.

The Met police said a car had been cloned. The council still contested the Appeal. The adjudicator cancelled the PCN. Anyone would think it was all about getting money from you, this PCN lark. The council are now out of pocket as they had to pay the tribunal fee.

Please make some efforts to get the number of Appeals back up. Fight every PCN you receive to the end if you have any sort of argument.

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Final PATAS report - July 2015

Miss Feezance has been resting whilst the tribunal moved, changed its name and its software. The dust now seems to be settling although the register for November's decisions are missing for some unknown reason.

The tribunal's new home near Chancery Lane tube
It is not now possible to tell you how many new Appeals are registered by local authority each week or month. You will have to curb your excitement and get those statistics in the annual report of the chief adjudicator.

What I can tell you is that 82 Appeals were heard in July 15 and the council and the motorist both won 41 of them so it was honours even which is the usual state of affairs.

There were a mere four which are worth mentioning:

Two bus lane PCN were issued at 18:36 which was enough for them both to be cancelled as neither could be relied upon. It disclosed an unacceptable level of greed on the part of Barnet Council.

A Solicitor collecting a work laptop gained the benefit of the loading exemption. This would not have been the case if he had been collecting his personal laptop.

The back of the PCN was put into the evidence pack twice and the front not at all which meant that the council tripped over their shoelaces as the entire evidence is based upon a PCN having been issued of which there was no proof.

My final case of note which clearly was a narrow escape for the motorist. It is not usually a good idea to park across two types of marking or restriction as you can expose yourself to three contraventions at one and the same time.

Keep those Appeals coming. The local authority seem to be doing better and the trend seems to be downwards in numbers of Appeals which given how low they already are is a worrying trend.

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance