9 October 2015

Let's twist again, like we did last summer

You don't need to go back to 1961 to do the twist if you are a Barnet Council / NSL traffic warden. You can try and twist motorists out of money in the summer of 2015 and simultaneously shoot yourself in the foot.

His client, who Mr Mustard always believed, but apparently her husband was sceptical, parked in Finchley Road, Temple Fortune and displayed her blue badge, but the council claimed the bay was suspended. The lady did not see the suspended bay sign (and it was not the triangle shape that they often are in order to try and attain all round visibility) and challenged the PCN on the following grounds:

"As you will see from my photos not only was the sign turned to face away from the road but it was not at all visible from the bay in which I parked my car."

The council refused the challenge and said:

Please be advised that the signage taken by the CEO (sic) at the time of the contravention is facing the correct way. The council can confirm that the signage in place is complaint (sic) with the relevant legislations (sic) and deem you liable for the charge incurred.

Several points here. What matters is which way the sign was facing at the time that the lady parked not at the time that the traffic warden wandered along and (innocently?) turned the sign to get a better photo. (A complaint is about to be logged as that is tampering with the evidence).

The council meant to say "photos of the signage taken by the CEO" not that he took the sign away!

They mean that the signage is compliant with the legislation. It isn't as it omits some mandatory information.

The council cannot deem you liable for the charge. Until you either fail to contest a PCN in time or an adjudicator finds against you a PCN and associated documents are just that, so much paperwork. It is language designed to induce you to pay up (not likely when you are being represented by Mr Mustard, or are on your own but know that an injustice has been done to you).

The case has now reached the adjudication stage and an evidence pack has been received in good time (Barnet are actually much better than many councils, they send a pack to Mr Mustard and another one to the motorist so they can pat themselves on the back for that) but it contains something that hurts their case (and the duty is to submit all evidence good or bad. Mr Mustard is obliged as a regular representative to assist the tribunal which means saying when something is against him. Amusingly, he withdrew a point recently and the adjudicator asked him why he had done so and Mr Mustard told him the argument was pants (he didn't exactly say that) and the adjudicator then responded that it was and he had been looking forward to a good argument about it!) and it is this sentence in the case summary: 

Furthermore, the council would add the signage was in fact directly next to the appellant's vehicle also seen in Google Street View the position of the suspension signage.

The vehicle was not "directly next to" the signage, she was in pole position in bay #1 and the sign is perpendicularly placed alongside bay #2.

Off to google went Mr Mustard and here is what he found, from two angles:

the view from where the lady parked, you wouldn't see the suspension sign unless you were an eagle
The view from bays #2/#3
Mr Mustard had to be helped up from the floor where he was almost laughing his feet off (even funnier than laughing your socks off).

What does the council's own evidence show? It shows (in black & white when it should be in colour) a similar street map image as Mr Mustard's one, with the sign turned to the left. 


A complaint is about to be made to the council as the traffic warden must have put the sign straight, a member of the public wouldn't touch it. If the council continue to oppose the Appeal Mr Mustard will be claiming costs for vexatious and/or wholly unreasonable behaviour (costs are rarely awarded but this is a deserving case) and he has spent time visiting his client and she will attend at the tribunal to give evidence in person so between 5 & 10 hours in total at the legislated flat rate of £18 per hour.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard


  1. "in total at the legislated flat rate of £18 per hour."

    No such legislation exists.

    Practice Direction 46(3)(4) provides:

    "3.4 The amount, which may be allowed to a self represented litigant under rule 45.39(5)(b) and rule 46.5(4)(b), is £19 per hour."

    A PD is not legislation, it is not the law, it is a weak guide.


  2. Mr Mustard... On the validity of the white line markings....
    As the line of parking is divided in to individual bays, isn't there an anomaly at the end of the parking area.
    Don't the regulations insist that the end of the last parking bay be marked with a PAIR of broken white lines, one to mark the limit of the last individual parking bay and a second one to mark the end of the parking allowed area. ...???

  3. In theory Anon you are correct but an adjudicator will apply substantial compliance and say that the motorist is not mislead and find against a motorist who tries that argument.


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