23 November 2012

Another satisfied customer

Holy cow!
Mr Mustard likes to help people with their parking ticket problems. It is very satisfying when an obvious injustice can be rectified.

He was a bit late to the party in respect of a man who we shall call Mr Monday as he received a parking ticket on bank holiday Monday, on a single yellow line in Whetstone where he simply wasn't doing any harm; no-one was trying to drive northwards past B&Q that day. Such traffic as there was flowed well. The case had already been through all 3 stages, informal, formal and PATAS, when Mr Monday's mini twitter storm was brought to Mr Mustard's attention.

Mr Mustard likes nothing better than some tedious detail and he got to work. He found a procedural error in the paperwork (he has found another one since but that devastating blog will have to wait) and then he wrote to the Parking Manager at Barnet Council. What Mr Mustard expected a council to do once a procedural error was pointed out was to accept that they were in the wrong, were not legally or morally justfied in keeping the penalty charge, and for them to make a refund. That was what he expected. Did it happen? Let's see.

Dear Parking Manager

I am sure you will be pleased to know that this is, for a change, going to be a short email. I am now assisting Mr Monday with his parking ticket (PCN).

PATAS rejected his appeal which was on the grounds that a Bank Holiday Monday is a normal Monday for parking purposes.

His appeal against the PATAS ruling will be that Barnet Council have operated in a manifestly unfair manner by relying on a Notice to Owner that is not compliant with Reg 19(2)d and which they knew, from previous PATAS cases, was not compliant with the Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (England) General Regulations 2007 and thus the council have committed a procedural impropriety and so the PCN must be cancelled.

As the deadline for challenging the PATAS decision is this week I would be grateful if you could please confirm by close of business on Monday 8 October 12 that you will cancel the PCN and send Mr Monday a refund.

Yours sincerely

Mr Mustard

A reply came a couple of days later.

Dear Mr Monday

Apologies for my lateness in replying.

I have noted the decision at Patas and also your permission to correspond with Mr Mustard.

It is also noted that you have now paid.

As I have said the case has already gone through a statutory process, and the established process does allow for you to appeal against the Patas ruling.

The council should not be seen to obstruct the wishes of the appellant who has a legal right to appeal against the Patas ruling and this decision is yours.


Parking Manager

It is quite interesting to note that the council think it perfectly OK to treat your payment, even if made because of  their procedural improrpriety, as now belonging to the council. The moral attitude of the council is a poor one.

Mr Monday was not put off. Mr Mustard drafted a letter for him to send to PATAS and away it went within the 14 days that are allowed for an appeal against a PATAS decision. This is what it said.

I request the Adjudicator to review his decision on the grounds that the interests of justice require such a review. After the decision was made on 27 September I discovered that the Enforcement Authority have committed a procedural impropriety in that The Notice to Owner does not meet the requirements of Reg 19(2)d Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (England) General Regulations 2007 in that the date on which the Penalty Charge Notice was served does not appear in the Notice to Owner. You will not be surprised to know that I had never heard of these regulations until I was told about them very recently.

I am also told that the following three Barnet Council cases have been decided (since my PCN was issued) on the above grounds and the PCNs have been cancelled.

2110587624 on 4 May 2012
2120124393 on 25 July 2012
2120257681 on 9 July 2012

I am disappointed in the behaviour of the local authority in continuing to chase me for money when they knew, from your decisions, that they had been acting improperly.

Yours faithfully

Mr Monday

The case was accepted for a review and went back into the lists for another paper hearing. Doubtless the council are asked if they have anything extra to say. If they did, the content is not known. Here is their decision.

This case comes before me as a review.

Having considered all the evidence I am satisfied that it is in the interests of justice for me to perform this review.

The appellant now puts forward legal argument concerning a procedural impropriety relating to the Notice to Owner. This was not pursued before the original Adjudicator but it is unanswerable. I therefore conclude that it is in the interests of justice to deal with it now.

On the basis of the evidence before me it is clear that the Notice to Owner was defective and unenforceable as it did not comply with the mandatory requirement of Regulation 19(2)(d)) of the Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (England) General Regulations 2007 (the General Regulations). 

This provides as follows:
(2) A notice to owner served under paragraph (1) must, in addition to the matters required to be included in it under regulation 3(3) of the Representations and Appeals Regulations, state (d) the date on which the penalty charge notice was served. It is clear that the Notice to Owner in this case, whilst it specifies the date of the alleged contravention, does not expressly state the date on which the Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) was served.

By reference to the precedent cases of PATAS 2120257681 & 2120124393, this constitutes a procedural impropriety and I must therefore allow the review and consequently this appeal.

the original response, wording as above

Look at the wording that the adjudicator has used. He has simply smashed the council's case to pieces. The parking manager must have known this was going to happen and yet he was so desperate to hang on to Mr Monday's £110 that he refused to issue a refund. If the parking manager didn't know this was going to happen then he shouldn't be the parking manager. He is only a temp. The sooner we get our own permanent manager the better.

Mr Monday was pleased. Here is the email he sent to Mr Mustard when he found out the good news.

Holy cow you did it!

Mr Mustard, that is very impressive indeed

How you gathered all that knowledge in your spare time is beyond me.

Not only is it impressive but it's for an enormously important and socially beneficial cause; helping uninformed and exploited individuals fight back the increasingly aggressive (corrupt dare I say) establishment that is the local council.

Highly commendable and I can't thank you enough.


Mr Monday 

Incidentally, if your Notice to Owner is wrong in the same way, and most of them are, you can also get your parking ticket cancelled.

Parking is a One Barnet contract. The outsourcing providers are meant to be experts in their field and better than Barnet Council for less money. Well NSL clearly aren't as otherwise they would not have sent out a Notice to Owner that was patently defective. 

Outsourcing is not the solution.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

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