23 May 2022

Barnet put a PCN camera at a goldmine

Mr Mustard recently read his first tribunal decision at a new location 'Ballards Lane Junction With Nether Street And Chaville' which is the crossroads adjacent to Finchley Central tube station. Whilst there is an exemption for turning right and being prevented by other vehicles waiting to turn right, he can see this is going to be problematic as the road is painted to allow a right turn from the middle lane and it is easy for the car in the right hand lane to block your exit because it is has to swing and is accordingly much wider that when alongside. People are going to get stuck as they can't see what their exit is like and the merciless cctv computer will be churning PCNs out by the thousand.

Mr Mustard will avoid turning right from Nether Street into Regents Park Road (i.e. over the tube bridge). If you look like you might get stuck, just go straight on, turn around in front of the tube station and then come back up to the lights and turn left. You will save yourself £130.

The turn right markings should be changed to remove the right turn advice from the middle lane.

The end.

Hackney Council are hilarious

Whilst looking for something else Mr Mustard fell over this decision (2210093938) and then fell about laughing at the pathetic defence Hackney mounted, which they would have instantly rejected if made against one of their PCNs.

20 May 2022

Hackney Council - do they or don't they like PCNs?

Mr Mustard had long harboured the idea to publish an evidence pack in relation to a hearing to take place about a Penalty Charge Notice. This was to help people udnerstand the process.

It is hard to know what Hackney Council really think when they waste time taking themselves to the tribunal? with a win or a loss both being equally futile.

Thus when Mr Mustard saw that the London Borough of Hackney were defending a PCN issued by London Councils (the umbrella body for all councils in London including Hackney) he thought he really ought to see what it was all about.

It was a simple matter to send an information request to the London Borough of Hackney and was done on 18 February, just 2 days after the hearing, when the matter would be fresh in the mind of the relevant council officer.

One expects a request to be answered within 28 days (Hackney only manage that 72% of the time) and they failed in this case, only responding on 26 April (they did apologise). However, the response was unexpected.

Mr Mustard doesn't stand any nonsense. He followed up the following day.

The sample evidence pack Mr Mustard provided was for a case in which Hackney Council were opposing Mr Mustard at the tribunal that very day - they lost, the main part of the decision simply saying 'I am not satisfied that the Enforcement Authority have rebutted the fact that the Appellant was actively unloading for the time in which he was observed.'

Mr Mustard is looking forward to seeing all the internal documents about his information request to see who doesn't know what an evidence pack is when the council produce between 500 & 1000 of them a year.

Mr Mustard doesn't let the grass grow under his feet so decided to request a copy of the evidence pack from the body which produced it, London Councils. They also made a bit of a mess of his request and passed it on to London Tribunals, a body not subject to FOI law. Mr Mustard asked them to withdraw their request and happened to see a member of the administration staff whilst at the tribunal hearing centre and point out that he had not made a request and it should be ignored.

That problem pushed aside London Councils responded well within deadline, although they did carry out some pointless redactions, such as the PCN reference and vehicle registration, both of which are published in the tribunal register.

When Mr Mustard studies an evidence pack he leaves sections E and B to last.

The cover sheet A lets you see what sections you have.

Section C gives you a copy of what the contravention is all about although you have to put it together from the heading 'London Lorry Control scheme', the alleged contravention, 'restricted street during prescribed hours without a permit' and 'exceeding 18 tonnes MGW'.

Section D didn't contain what it should have done, the DVLA record, but ownership was not disputed.

Section E is where we find out what fabulous argument Hackney were deploying in order to try and escape from liability for £550 (ouch). The argument was that the refuse lorry was being used to remove refuse. All well and good but why didn't it have a permit? no mention of that and thus not actually a challenge which fell within any of the categories on which challenge is specified as allowed on the PCN (which follows the stipulations of the law). It was a request for a goodwill cancellation. Do Hackney themselves show much latitude when you the motorist makes a mistake, not in Mr Mustard's experience with them sending PCNs, which they have illegally issued, to bailiffs (a story for another day).

London Councils flatly rejected the challenge on the grounds of a lack of a permit. They offered to accept 50%, being £275.

Hackney decided to chance their arm at the tribunal. Their Grounds of Appeal are set out in the final 3 paragraphs of the case summary at B. They are, in essence, a request for mitigation (mitigation which London Councils should have really granted as this is a highly technical error, a simple permit oversight, but them's the rules). The problem for Hackney is the law which says that adjudicators cannot take mitigating circumstances into account, they have to consider if the contravention occurred and it certainly did (if you accept that there is a control on lorry weight).

As it happens the decision shows us that the adjudicator also thought the PCN shouldn't be pursued as he invited London Councils to walk away.

When they didn't he had no choice but to uphold the PCN. Mr Mustard notices that the relevant Traffic Management Order wasn't in evidence and that is the defence he would have run in a skeleton argument filed with 3 days to go (although London Councils are more nimble than their members and would probably have made good the lacuna in their evidence) as before advancing your defence the enforcement authority have to prove their case.

None of this administrative waste of time made London a better place. All council tax payers have been badly served by this nonsense.

The end (until the further information arrives).