‘Tis the Season of Appeals

November 25, 2007

1yo.gifWell, the first anniversary of this website went unmarked on November 12th. I was so busy preparing for the next few weeks that I didn’t have time for retrospection. That will have to wait for the Christmas break now.

The postal strike played havoc with applications for appeal and at one stage PATAS were receiving mail posted one month previously. Many people were served Charge Certificates by over eager councils because appeal applications were not received on time.

From my point of view it means that I have delayed appeals all stacked up between now and Christmas. Read the rest of this entry »


Significant Adjudication

November 6, 2007

Finally, after many unsuccessful attempts we have managed to get an Adjudicator to rule on the wording of an Islington moving traffic PCN. The appeal was allowed. All Islington moving traffic PCNs issued since early December 2006 are unlawful.

The Adjudicator’s reasons were simple. If the legislation says something must be stated on the PCN then it is a mandatory requirement. Ignore it or modify it at your peril.

This was no snap decision either. The Adjudicator reserved his decision so that he could go away and think about it and, presumably, consult his colleagues.

The implication is that Islington, Hillingdon and Waltham Forest PCNs are unlawful and can be challenged on the basis of their wording. Read the rest of this entry »

Islington’s Department of Dirty Tricks

August 11, 2007

“Speak when you are angry–and you will make the best speech you’ll ever regret.” (Laurence J. Peter)

I have chosen the quotation above to remind me to remain objective as I write. I was furious yesterday after the PATAS hearing, but having mulled things over and had a good night’s sleep I am now in a more philosophical frame of mind.

The facts of this case are simple. The wording of Islington’s moving traffic PCN has been unlawful since November/ December 2006 when, in the words of Christine Weeks, Senior Administrative Officer, Parking and CCTV Services:

“Islington Parking Services changed the wording on the Moving Traffic Contravention Penalty Charge Notices to reflect the wording on our other CCTV Penalty Charge Notices. We were re-ordering stationery and it was felt that this was the best time to make the change. The extra wording was as a result of London Councils issuing a new set of documents in its Code of Practice guidance. For your information, I have attached a copy of the sample notices that the London Councils provided.”

I inspected the sample moving traffic PCN that she sent me and compared it to the wording of their new PCN. As far as I could see they did not correspond – chalk and cheese. I even rang up Christine to point this out. The above statement, obtained in response to a Freedom of Information Act request is a lie. Read the rest of this entry »

Significant Appeals

August 7, 2007

When I first started this blog I never really thought that I would join the ranks of the “real-time” bloggers, but so much is happening this week that I feel a need to document it as it unfolds.

Last month was a downer with all pending appeals cancelled, but this week I have two appeals that are definitely being contested. On Wednesday (8th Aug) we are up against Transport for London (TfL) and on Friday (10th Aug) we take on Islington.

The TfL appeal concerns the box junction at Battersea Bridge Road and Westbridge Road. This is being contested on four grounds:

  1. The confusing and ambiguous wording of the PCN renders it invalid
  2. The Wording of the Notice of Rejection does not conform to the legislation
  3. The yellow box marking does not conform to the legislation
  4. The contravention was unavoidable due to “unforeseen obstruction”.

TfL have not submitted anything to counter our arguments for points 1 and 2. They have strongly defended point 3, and would appear to be leaving the video evidence to speak for itself in support of point 4.

The Islington appeal concerns the box junction in Liverpool Road. That’s not really important because this is a test case to determine whether the wording of the Islington Moving Traffic PCN is lawful or not.

Experience has shown that previously, this kind of case would have ended up as a ‘no contest’. The fact that Islington Parking Dept has the courage to defend its actions does seem to confirm the commitment to put its house in order following the appointment of a Parking Advocate.

On top of this there are challenges taking shape against Ealing, Hammersmith and Fulham, and Waltham Forest.

Next instalment tomorrow…

When Things Go Wrong

July 29, 2007

“Bureaucracy and social harmony are inversely proportional to each other.” (Leon Trotsky)

Generally speaking Local Authority Traffic Enforcement Departments are extremely good at doing two things; giving out ‘tickets’ and collecting money.

If you do anything, like daring to challenge a PCN, that disturbs this well oiled machine, beware – the consequences are unpredictable.

The only way for a Parking Department to deal with a problem when it arises is first of all for them to admit that there is a problem. But that can’t happen, can it? They are perfect; they never make mistakes. Nothing can ever go wrong in their world.

But things do go wrong, all too frequently, and when it happens you can get sucked into the dystopian world of local government bureaucracy. If you don’t know what I’m talking about then rent a copy of Terry Gilliam’s film Brazil, or read some Kafka.

(© 1985 Embassy International Pictures NV. All rights reserved.)

I have recently been trying to contest some parking tickets of my own with Hackney Council. Whenever they send me a Notice to Owner and I make representation, they just send me another Notice to Owner. It’s quite surreal. Round and round we go. Read the rest of this entry »

Innovative Islington

June 7, 2007

Although this site perhaps reads like an anti-enforcement polemic, I like to think that I can see the other party’s point of view. After I read the following press release from Islington Council I found my belief being stretched in two completely opposite directions.

On the one hand the cynic in me says it’s just a publicity stunt, and a good one at that. On the other hand a voice in my head says “Give it a chance; it might just work.” In the spirit of the latter I have already written to Ms Naylor and I will report back on the outcome in due course.

New Parking Advocate is First in London

Date: 25-May-07 by Verity Cork (Islington Council Press Office) Read the rest of this entry »

Score Sheet

May 31, 2007

I realised that this website has now been in operation for a little over 6 months. The lack of postings in May is mainly due to the fact that I have been busy helping a number of ‘victims’ appeal against their Penalty Charge Notices.

I thought that now would be an appropriate time to review achievements to date; not for any egotistical reasons, but to encourage others to stand up for their rights and challenge “The System”. Read the rest of this entry »