17 May 2024

October 2022 PCN finally resolved


Dennis, not his real name, has a permit to park in bays in Havering in order to carry out social care tasks. He didn't realise he was in a car park, it just looks like a wide High Street. He received a PCN in October 2022.

He made another error in not telling Mr Mustard when he moved, twice.

Mr Mustard kept a constant eye on the PCN, and made a subject access request so that he had the complete file, which culminated in this email being sent in as a complaint.

Mr Mustard knows that councils don't much like criticism but fair play to Havering, they took this one on the chin. 

Of course, they may simply have realised the futility of trying to recover a PCN which Mr Mustard has completely under control and gone off to look for easier pickings.

The end.

15 May 2024

Bluff and nonsense in Redbridge

A double decker bus weighs between 11 and 14 metric tonnes. Will you therefore play chicken with it when two lanes go into one and you might end up impaled on a traffic island and traffic light? No, nor would Mr Mustard.

Miss Careful (not her real name) came to Mr Mustard for help as she had been sent a PCN for stopping in a box junction. She did stop, but to avoid being squashed and possibly killed. Redbridge Council have a video of the way in which she crossed the box which clearly confirms the facts. In order to preserve secrecy Mr Mustard is just going to give you 5 stills from the cctv, in time order, from which you can see what happened.

Where is the car? You may well ask, masked by the bus.

The car still isn't visible

Now, finally you can see the car

In this frame you can see that the car has sensibly given way to the bus

Onwards we all go

Mr Mustard made the representations as follows and set out the law to save the council the bother of looking it up:

Lots of representations get rejected for two reasons. The first is that the person considering the matter doesn't know what they are doing. The second is that many recipients of rejections worry about the discount, which Mr Mustard doesn't as he is aiming to pay nothing at all, and meekly pay up if knocked back. Mr Mustard is not meek.

An uninformed rejection duly arrived:

The exit probably was clear on entry but the cctv doesn't show it and it does clearly show bullying behaviour by the bus and that the stop was not caused by a stationary vehicle.

Mr Mustard ploughed on, much like the bus, an unstoppable force. He started an Appeal to the tribunal. Redbridge threw in the towel because they could see they were going to lose.

It shouldn't be like this.

The PCN should never have been sent. If the car was leased the PCN might have been paid by the lease company which would penalise an innocent driver.

The Notice of Rejection should never have been sent as it didn't impartially consider the facts.

The message for motorists is that if you think you are correct you should ignore the discount and continue to the tribunal stage where you will get a fair hearing from an adjudicator who does not seek to benefit from a refusal, as councils do.

The end.

14 May 2024

Enfield of London Borough

Before you think from reading the title that Mr Mustard has lost his marbles he knows the words are in the wrong order, but then so were Enfield's on moving traffic PCNs listed at all these locations:

Mr Mustard thinks that the first two descriptions are near enough but not the rest. What would an honest broker have done? - yes, that's right, they would have cancelled every incorrect PCN and refunded everyone who had paid in error (which would include some lease companies who just pay everything and pass the charge on).

However, this is the world of PCNs in which honest brokers are hard to find. What did Enfield Council do? They quietly changed the descriptions and soldiered on. What did Mr Mustard do? He tore them off a strip in his skeleton argument at the tribunal. This map may help understand why being in The Crest cannot be a contravention (his client had gone wrong, in fact they had realised and reversed out but too late they were technically guilty).


Now follows the edited highlights (lowlights) of the skeleton argument.


Having spent a good amount of time producing the evidence pack Enfield did a very rare thing after receiving Mr Mustard's skeleton, they decided that rather than having all their dirty linen aired in front of an adjudicator and receiving an adverse decision they would avoid all of that and cancel the PCN which obviated the need for a tribunal hearing.

His second case, in Hamilton Crescent (as alleged but actually in Hazelwood Lane) never got as far as the tribunal. The council folded early.

If you had a PCN which you paid for any of the above locations from F0007 to F0017 then you should demand your money back if the location description on the PCN mirrors that in the first column. 

You can email PCNs or use Facebook or Twitter (@EnfieldCouncil) or simply because the council don't give out an email address for complaints send your email instead to the head honcho for the Environment, Simon Pollock to encourage them to do so (explain why).

Mr Mustard will be looking to force refunds for everyone but lots of individual requests will help.

The end (for now).

Ding ding, hold on tightly in Tower Hamlets


You can't just start running a bus service in London, you need a permit from TfL. That includes approval of the route. That is predictable.
What you can't predict is that a London borough included on the route will decide you aren't running a local bus service when you clearly are and will try to stuff you for £130 a day each way.

Here is part of the timetable for the bus in question, a bit early for Mr Mustard


Here is part of the route at East India DLR

The reason that Mr Mustard is writing about this is as he randomly opened the following London Tribunals adjudication decision just because he liked the name:

Don't you just love it when a lawyer rips into someone (apart from yourself):

The Enforcement Authority's submissions at to why the vehicle was not a local bus were not of great assistance.

Centaur have 100 vehicles and clearly know what they are about.

Despite the comprehensive drubbing Tower Halmets let subsequent hearings go ahead when it would have been diplomatic and sensible to withdraw. There may yet be more.

The end, for now.

9 May 2024

Haringey LTN = GBP

Mr Mustard is neither for nor against Low Traffic Neighbourhoods as a sweeping generalisation. The planned purpose is laudable but the way in which they have eliminated in some places appears to be designed to extract the maximum amount of money from the motorist. If traffic isn't wanted in them then they should be blocked, either permanently by physically barriers or temporarily by rising bollards as are extensively used in, say, France whereby delivery lorries can gain access as required by using the intercom. Yes, they cost money but that shouldn't be the primary consideration. It does appear to be when a road is left invitingly open (for emergency services and permit holders) and there are no diversion signs to direct you to the legal route, instead a camera goes kerching at every error.

Mr Mustard looks at the environment and traffic tribunal (at London Tribunals) decisions most days and clicks on the detail of any case which might be of interest. When he saw 20 refusals for the same person yesterday he decided to take a look and here is what the adjudicator said.

The problem for the adjudicator is that they have to apply the law, they cannot use their discretion.
Haringey Council can use their discretion but are blinded by the potential income of £2,600
It shouldn't be like this.
The end. 

30 April 2024

Trebles all round in Haringey

Mr Mustard's client received an Order for Recovery and when Mr Mustard looked at it he could see that something had gone wrong and he had a good idea what it was.

Mr Mustard can add up and knew that 195 + 9 was not 222, but 204. He also knew that 195 +9 +9 +9 did = 222.

He asked Haringey under FOI to explain what had happened and how many people were affected. They answered fully without trying to wriggle.

There were 512 entries in the list, which is probably the maximum number agreed with the TEC for registration in one go. Haringey have to pay a fee of £4,608 to register these PCNs, many of which will get returned to an earlier stage once witness statements or statutory demands are filed, thus burning the £9.

Having identified the error Haringey Council cancelled the PCN on which Mr Mustard was instructed and as you can read above they planned to refund everybody who paid the bogus amount. Interestingly in the file with which Mr Mustard was concerned there was a note to the contrary.

If you know anyone who had a PCN in Haringey in 2023 you should get them to check the list below and demand a refund by emailing corporate.feedback@haringey.gov.uk (not sure that is the best email for parking but Haringey Council simply don't want you to email them).


Haringey Council PCN Court ... by MisterMustard

18 April 2024

Hackney Council bullying


The PCN was issued in a simple situation. A 3 year old was being alighted to the adjacent nursery i.e. within the same street.
This is the third PCN in respect of the same child/car. All three PCNs have been cancelled, this time in 3 days.
An apology is more appropriate than the bullying content of the Notice of Acceptance. The PCN starts badly because there is zero observation time so any argument about alighting gives Hackney Council a problem. The challenge also included a copy of the nursery childcare contract.
Yellow stripes on the kerb do not mean no parking (which should read no waiting in any event although they are sort of the same) as the law about signs clearly states they mean 'no loading/unloading':

Rule 247 of the Highway Code explains this is an easier to find form, councils are fond of spouting from the Highway Code, Hackney Council staff need to actually read and understand it.

In 'claryfing the rules' the writer introduces irrelevant information about the elderly and disabled. The law does not say the driver must stay with the car, the High Court decided differently in the case of Makda in which a cab driver had to go looking for his passenger who it turned out was not to be found and whose PCN was cancelled by the Court.

Please don't start sentences with 'And', it makes you look like an illiterate, which you are. (I do make grammatical errors but not that one!)

Whether or not the PCN was 'correctly issued' which it was on the face of it, as soon as the facts are accepted that establish that the PCN was not warranted, in the event & unknown to the CEO (traffic warden), then it was no longer correctly issued and in any event whether it was thought to be correct at the time and date in question became irrelevant. This is the council self-justifying the actions of their CEO against whom the only complaint is that he/she should have waited 2-5 minutes in a street where there is a nursery and when the time is between 9am and 10am at which hour it is likely that children are being dropped off for the day.

The simple reasoning for cancelling the PCNs are that the evidence was overwhelming and that Mr Mustard is acting. Hackney Council know from his long history that Mr Mustard will also make formal representations against the Notice to Owner once issued and if those representations are rejected he will start a tribunal Appeal. That Appeal will cost Hackney Council c.£30 which they will never see again and 99.9% of well documented Appeals like this one will be won.

Adjudicators decisions don't set a Precedent (with a capital P, as in a legal precedent) so council decisions certainly don't, but councils should be consistent. All documented cases of dropping off at a time when the nursery is opening (or picking up at closing time) should lead to a cancellation.

When Hackney Council write of 'future contraventions of this nature' they can't be referring to this case as THERE WASN'T A CONTRAVENTION. Please excuse my shouty behaviour. The staff who write letters about PCNs really need to get one thing straight about a PCN, it refers to an 'alleged' contravention, by law, as in this case:

The end, until next week when yet another PCN gets issued, probably.

12 April 2024

PCN Cameras - my observations

Cameras are (almost) everywhere you look and are used to send out over 3,000,000 PCNs in London each year.

Given that the stated aim, as stated by the Secretary of State, of parking (and presumably traffic) enforcement is this:

then one might think that the location and purpose of every traffic camera should be publicised widely.

There are some that Mr Mustard knows about:

 You can look at a sample video it took here


You can look at a sample video it took here


42 Bow Road






What Mr Mustard has witnessed from TfL is a reluctance to let the public see real detail about the cameras they use. There have been PCN Appeals which have cast doubt upon the certification or approval of various cameras and TfL's approach to this is to try and avoid providing any details of the actual camera used as part of a certified system and there is therefore no way of knowing if they are using the actual equipment which has been certified as a whole with the individual detail hidden away in a technical construction file.

If they, or other enforcement authorities, aren't doing anything wrong they shouldn't be worried about the public seeing that.

Trying to hide the locations of cameras is a bit silly, stand on the street corner, look up and there they are.

Whilst we are here, please stop vandalising cameras, it is a pure waste of money.

27 March 2024

Parking use standard letters

This is funny. When a PCN goes to the independent adjudicator, based at London Tribunals, the council in question have to produce certain documents which include a copy of the Notice of Rejection which refused the representation made in response to the Notice to Owner. Technically the Appeal is against the Notice of Rejection but naturally also against the alleged contravention itself.
In a case due to be the subject of an in-person hearing next week (Mr Mustard likes to eyeball the adjudicators and it is the most effective forum rather than by telephone or cases decided upon the papers alone) Newham Council have, in error, and amusingly, exhibited the template from which the Notice of Rejection is produced. There will be similar templates for most situations. The failure to produce a true copy of the Notice of Rejection should lead to cancellation for that reason alone.

The dates, times and alleged contravention are all inserted automatically. The template includes a reference to mitigation which was not pleaded. That is a giveaway that a template was used even without this proof.

What is interesting to note is that the discount is always offered again (unless there is a second template for rejecting at 100% which seems possible).

The paragraph about not paying and appealing at the same time is not legally correct. The Appeal will always be against 100% of the PCN. If you pay and file an Appeal, perhaps to be heard on the papers because you are going on a round the world cruise and so wouldn't want to miss the payment date, the Adjudicator will automatically order a refund if you win. What you can't do is make an Appeal and pay 50% in full settlement. Having your cake and eating it isn't allowed.

The unique appeal verification code isn't actually unique, it identifies a date and a type of PCN. Lots of people get sent the same code on the same day. If you lose your code you can get help to Appeal on line here. You can also start an Appeal by letter without needing a code.

Councils love to frighten motorists. When they write about an extra fee for registering the PCN as a debt at the County Court (which doesn't incidentally appear on your credit record) they are hoping you will think it is large. They are referring to the princely sum of £9. Also because of previous bad behaviour by bailiffs their fees are now set by law. £75 for notifying you they have a warrant they will enforce. £235 for any number of home visits. So, not a blank cheque to charge their 'own costs and fees'; only the fees set by law (still best avoided though).

The line 'it will then be too late to appeal further' is designed to put your off from doing anything but pay up. It is unfair. It is technically correct that if you miss a deadline you can be liable by default and that councils may disregard any representations made out of time but if something has gone wrong, such as you were in hospital or in prison for a short while, the council should give what you have to say some thought. The system is not intended to punish the innocent, although it often does.

It is a common error to write back to the council if you don't like what they say and by that means to time yourself out of an Appeal. Don't do it. Just start an Appeal as there is a one in 4 or 5 chance that the council will give up at that stage anyway.

The end.


26 March 2024



Mr Mustard owns a few shares. Mr Mustard is jolly pleased that he doesn't own any in Capita.

Mr Mustard did think, for a brief period, that once the conglomerate was stripped back to a much simpler corporate structure, running such lovely repeat business as the Red Route, ULEZ and Congestion Charge charging schemes and processing the hundreds of thousands of PCNs  that capita might we worth a punt.

Whilst Capita negotiated themselves a marvellous deal with Barnet Council, which gave them lots of juicy billing for extras, it looks like TfL are better at negotiating.

One thing that Capita have to do is to present the case for the prosecution (so to speak) for TfL when a motorist takes his PCN to Appeal. Mr Mustard bumps into them occasionally and this is a summary sheet of the evidence which TfL (or any other enforcement authority) have to produce for the adjudicator which includes the evidence of both parties.

What takes the most time is section B. TfL have to produce a case summary. One Mr Mustard looked at recently was 3 closely typed pages and another was 14 pages. Naturally these take time.
Even getting out the statutory documents, the photographs, the representations which were made, the rejection letters, the traffic order, a marked up map, photographs of the locale, perhaps a video.
Mr Mustard doubts that even with the maximum automation, an evidence pack can be produced in less than a couple of hours and maybe four for a complicated case, perhaps also including a transfer of liability from a hire company. They usually run to between 50 and 100 pages.
For preparing these, and there about 5,500 TfL PCN appeals a year, TfL pay Capita the princely sum of £16.66 per case. 

If Capita are being similarly lowly paid for other services under this contract, they don't appear to be making money.

Mr Mustard will put his savings into something a bit more blue chip and a lot less risky.

The end (and possibly not far off for Capita?).

19 March 2024

Barnet Council trip on the kerb


The above is a badly parked car which, despite the driver being in attendance and ready to move, was given a PCN for being adjacent to a dropped kerb.
What you can probably tell from the council's own photograph is that the kerb isn't dropped.
How, therefore, the traffic warden justified issuing a PCN for an alleged contravention of being adjacent to a dropped kerb when there simply isn't one, only they know.
The motorist made their own informal challenge saying that the PCN was ridiculous as there isn't a dropped kerb at the location but that, despite being true, cut no ice.
Barnet Council's response included that the vehicle was adjacent to a dropped footway and, in a line which surprised Mr Mustard, that 'The CEO has a legal obligation to issue PCNs to any vehicle seen parked in contravention'. That tells you a lot about the thinking which goes on in the parking back office which can be summarised as motorists must be punished.
In this case the punishment is not merited.
Mr Mustard wrote the formal representations in response to the Notice to Owner. They were very simple and pointed out the lack of a dropped kerb in Heather Gradens NW11 and included an image taken from google street view.
That didn't convince Barnet Council either who opined that the image I had provided is not conclusive.
Mr Mustard therefore had to pop to the location in question and take photographs. Here is one of them, anyone who can see a dropped kerb here needs their eyes tested.

What the council have forgotten is that at the tribunal the council have to prove their case before any argument needs to be presented by the keeper. This will be fun. Mr Mustard has started an Appeal at the tribunal. He expects the towel to be thrown in pretty quickly.

The end (for now).

p.s. Please don't park this close to junctions.

17 March 2024

Nonsense from Newham


Parking departments don't live in the real world. It isn't the intended function of penalty charge notices to make the life of people with limited mobility any harder. It is as many motorists would say, all about the money.
Here we have a case of a good son collecting his dad, who uses a stick, from the mosque on a Tuesday evening towards 8pm. The son parked as near as he could which was on the double yellow lines in Hilda Road just out of picture (which was excluded as it is pixellated for some reason).
Whilst he went inside to find his father and then slowly come out to the car due to his use of a walking aid, a PCN was issued with a 2 minute observation. The son made his own challenge, probably expecting it to be accepted (reasonable but optimistic these days) but it wasn't, as follows:
The rejection makes it sound like Newham Council only very rarely (exceptional circumstances) cancel a PCN. They are required to have due regard to the statutory guidance of the Secretary of State which includes:

Authorities should take account of the CEO’s actions in issuing the penalty charge but should always give challenges and representations a fresh and impartial consideration.

Under general principles of public law, authorities have a duty to act fairly and proportionately and are encouraged to exercise discretion sensibly and reasonably and with due regard to the public interest. Failure to act in accordance with the general principles of public law may lead to a claim for a decision to be judicially reviewed.

Enforcement authorities have a duty not to fetter their discretion, so should ensure that PCNs, NtOs, leaflets and any other advice they give do not mislead the public about what they may consider in the way of representations.

They should approach the exercise of discretion objectively and without regard to any financial interest in the penalty or decisions that may have been taken at an earlier stage in proceedings.

What Newham Council have also forgotten is their own traffic order, which has this section:

The two minute rule doesn't apply as this is a little side road (not in Schedules 5 and 2) and not within the 2 minute limited times.

Therefore the time which is allowed, for a person who uses a stick or a frame or who simply walks slowly without any aids, due to age or infirmity, is as long as it takes. Newham Council have therefore unreasonably rejected a perfectly fair challenge (and also tried to put the motorist off a further challenge by the usual reminder that the discount will be gone at the next stage).

Mr Mustard doesn't much care for the discount expect for one of 100% as he fights to the end and generally knows the parameters an independent adjudicator, who makes decisions without an eye on the income, will apply. They will generally allow at least 5 minutes for assisted boarding. The frailty of a passenger can be demonstrated by a medical report, a photo of them with their stick or frame or a 10 second video of them walking.

Mr Mustard doesn't fear Newham Council. He has fought 38 of their PCNs since 2017 of which 24 went as far as the independent adjudicators. He has lost 2. He isn't about to lose a third case.

To their credit, Newham Council weren't 100% unhelpful, they did add this to their letter:

We only know that father walks with an aid, we don't know whether or not he could make his own application, which would be a more respectful way to write.

The end (for now).