11 October 2013

Parking ticket pursued in breach of Human Rights Convention

Here is a recent adjudication decision in respect of a PCN issued on 24 June 11 by Barnet Council. The pursuit of the PCN has been by NSL Ltd since they took over on 1 May 12 (although they may not have picked them up immediately which could be part of the reason for the delay). 

There has been a great deal of unexplained delay in this case.

The Notice to Owner was issued on 24th August 2011.

However the Charge Certificate was only issued on 22nd March 2013.

The Council has not given any explanation for the level of delay before issuing the Charge Certificate and obtaining registration of the debt at Court.

In my judgement there is a compromise of Article 6 of the Human Rights Convention here.

It is a problem for the Adjudicator to give a fair hearing in the case if the delay has potentially affected the recollection of events by either the Appellant or the parking attendant.

Also, for this enforcement to be lawful the Council has a duty to exercise its powers with reasonable expedition and fairness.

I note the case of R-v- Secretary of State for Home Department ex p. Doody (1994) (House of Lords) per Lord Mustill: "Where an Act of Parliament confers an administrative power there is a presumption that it will be exercised in a manner which is fair in all the circumstances".

I have also considered Davis-v-Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (PAS 1970198981) where it was considered that a delay of more than 2/3 months in responding to an appellant's representations was prima facie evidence of unfairness in the absence of explanation.

I am not satisfied that the local authority has conducted the timetable of this enforcement with reasonable expedition and that, as a result, there is an unfairness.

For both of these reasons I find that the appropriate Direction here is that the Penalty Charge Notice must now be cancelled.

If Barnet Council are chasing you for a 2011 PCN and you are appealing to PATAS then quote this case (PATAS ref 2130453008) in support of your case. Any delay at any stage of the process of 6 months or more is in the Code of Practice issued by London Councils  (paragraph 170e) as a PCN that should be cancelled. The other phrase to quote is "justice delayed is justice denied". How can you be expected to now remember the circumstances of your parking on 24 June 11?

Don't take these old tickets on the chin; appeal against them and complain to your ward councillors about your Human Rights being abused. 

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

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