|Customer - the model of efficiency|
The adjudicators at PATAS vary greatly in their approach but one is, despite decades of parking ticket minutiae, always ready for some dry humour, indeed on finding Mr Mustard in the reception area recently he said "Good morning, I see you are here to amuse us again, Mr Mustard*" and now here he is returning the compliment (Mr Mustard is actually deadly serious with his appeals but also tries to keep it light, although there is always that tingle of nervous anticipation as he can't tell which way an adjudicator will think on a particular case, they often come at him from left field, although they nearly always end up in the same goal)
*Mr Mustard's real name was used by the adjudicator. Mr Mustard always calls them Sir or Madam, as the case may be, as those are the rules of the tribunal. Nor does one try to shake hands on meeting.
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. (i.e. the PCN is cancelled)
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.
The adjudicator is a solicitor or a barrister. They tend to talk in code but make no mistake about that last sentence, the adjudicator is steaming mad and will make the council pay for their stupidity if they continue to exhibit same. The barrier for costs is set very high "shall not normally allow" which speaks volumes in the context of this adjudication finding.
Anyway, the report amused Mr Mustard. If it brought a smile to your lips, then all well and good.
Do have a nice weekend and make sure you attend on time to any PCN paperwork.
Please also park properly as Mr Mustard currently has 75 PCN to handle and if he gets sent many more will have to give up his day job.