Tuesday, 30 October 2012

PATAS - 48 to 17 - w/c 22 October

A Schwinn with 48-17 gear ratio
Another disastrous week for Barnet Council / NSL with motorists winning 48 cases and the council's parking tickets being upheld in only 14. In the year to March 11 the usual result pattern was about 50/50 but in the following year the outcome changed a little in favour of the council with a typical 64/36 ratio in favour of the council (we could call that 2 to 1 for round numbers)

Now either the council have got better at issuing tickets or motorists are contesting more and not doing a very good job of it. They should look for help from either a professional firm or friends who are expert. The council & NSL do make plenty of errors, you simply have to spot which one they made this time. Start with signs and lines; are they clear, correct and compliant?

Is the PCN (parking ticket) for the correct offence as if not it is immediately invalid? I have seen parking tickets given for not displaying a blue badge when the car was in a loading bay.

The next question is has the process been followed correctly? When I have time I will draw up a flowchart of stages and time limits to assist you.
The interesting cases last week were as follows.
The evidence (of Barnet Council) is at best unreliable and misleading - from the notes of the adjudicator. In addition the photographs were not adequate.
A parking ticket was cancelled for the "contravention" of parking across a dropped kerb with the consent of the resident. Why oh why this has to go all the way to PATAS is a question that Barnet Council & NSL should be asking themselves. They aren't hoping that the motorist will give up and pay are they? (Don't park across a dropped kerb in a CPZ though and not to business premises either).
The danger of postal orders was illustrated when one sent to Worthing for £55 was said not to have been received and now the penalty is £110. I hope the person kept a photocopy of the Postal Order so that they can reclaim their money.
In another case a resident parked across their own dropped kerb and due consideration was not given to representations (I think NSL reject all representations as a matter of course as most people then give in. Don't. Follow the process. The parking ticket was cancelled.
Yet another dropped kerb case where only the bumper was across the kerb and it didn't stop anyone using the access. The overhang was described as "de minimis" or in English, "not worth bothering about". This was over zealous ticketing by NSL. Ticket cancelled.
It was all dropped kerbs last week. Perhaps that has been one of NSL's recent campaigns to get ticket numbers up. A single yellow line across a dropped kerb at Vineyard Ave (off Bittacy Hill) was described as confusing and misleading and so the parking ticket was cancelled.
Formal representations have to be dealt with within 56 days, which is 8 weeks and more than long enough to reply to a letter. Longer was taken and so the ticket must be cancelled as that is a procedural impropriety. Did that happen to you, did you respond to a Notice to Owner and not hear within 56 days. If you did, then demand the parking demand be cancelled. If you paid, ask for your money back + postage and any costs you incurred.
Lots of parking tickets cancelled by Order of the Adjudicator as usual, which usually means that evidence was not submitted by Barnet Council / NSL which was actually highlighted by the Adjudicator in one case noting that he had granted a 2 week adjournment for that very purpose.
In another cracking piece of work photographs of the wrong car were submitted as evidence. The inevitable result was the cancellation of the parking ticket.
Another dropped kerb in Trinder Rd near Barnet Hospital in which the parking ticket was cancelled. This location has been in the local papers and might be again soon. If not, I will write about it.
One lucky motorist could not safely get his car onto his snow covered drive on or around 8 February (Why are traffic wardens out in the snow issuing tickets? - wouldn't they be better deployed actually clearing snow off of the pavements to help pedestrians - if that was considered to be a good idea the trouble now is that would have to be in the contract with NSL and it isn't and would be a variation which would doubtless be the subject of a demand for extra money ) and so he left it in a residents bay and the Adjudicator did not find that to be an appealing argument. I advise all motorists with sloping drives to lay in a supply of gritty sand and/or rock salt and a large snow clearing shovel (Costco have some) and grit/salt their drive so that you do not get stuck in the same way. Use the council supply of grit to grit on the road outside your house. Go and look now for the nearest yellow grit bin.
Having lost the argument the motorist won the day because the Adjudicator noticed that the date of service of the parking ticket was recorded as 8 February 12 (when there was snow) and the date of the parking ticket was recorded as 30 May 12 (when I hope it doesn't snow). Oops, that is a procedural impropriety and so the parking ticket was cancelled.
In Sunny Gardens Road, the signage was found to be unclear with the signs for single yellow lines considered to be too far apart. Every 60m is recommended. The council / NSL also did not produce clear information about the situation and in such a case ambiguity is usually considered in favour of the negatively affected party i.e. the motorist whose parking ticket was thus cancelled.
Yet another dropped kerb case this time involving a delivery. That is the fourth exception listed in S.86 of the Traffic Management Act 2004. The parking ticket was cancelled. Why didn't the traffic warden know this, NSL know this and act accordingly by cancelling the ticket, Barnet Council know this when they dealt with the formal appeal. It wouldn't be because of pressure to rake in extra money would it?
Possibly my favourite case was the last one that week. The wrong amount was demanded in the rejection notice of a formal appeal. the council/NSL argued that was simply a grammatical error. The Adjudicator was having none of it. It was a serious procedural error which prevented the council from demanding payment. This related to a parking ticket issued on 2 June 2012 so NSL have no-one to blame but themselves.

Please keep those appeals coming.

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Are NSL even trying to perform at PATAS?

the two secrets to outsourcing
In the week which started on Monday 15th October the cases which PATAS adjudicated upon finished with 51 parking tickets cancelled and 13 upheld. I am starting to think that NSL can't be bothered.
There were 28 cases where no evidence was submitted or where the Adjudicator ordered the cancellation of the ticket which is likely to be for lack of evidence.
The interesting cases included one where a parking ticket was issued for offering goods for sale from a vehicle. However it was the vehicle which was for sale so the ticket was cancelled as the Adjudicator felt this was too strict a reading of the applicable law as otherwise every sign written van would have to be ticketed.
I would be wary of trusting a traffic warden. He told one motorist she was lucky and went on his way and then later claimed he had served a ticket on her. She lost her appeal.
One motorist stood in front of the traffic warden so that the vehicle could not be photographed. There was no photograph showing a parking ticket stuck to the windscreen. The time plate photograph was at 45 degrees and so not clear. The bay and map and time plate were not clear relative to one another so the parking ticket was cancelled.
A motorist who paid for bay 9323 instead of 9324 was unlucky. This is mitigation which the Adjudicator does not deal with. Thoroughly mean spirited of the council though as there has obviously been an insignificant administrative error by the motorist.
My favourite appeal is the one which was allowed and where the Adjudicator said "The council's case appears to be in a state of hopeless disarray".
In another confused case the motorist was in a loading bay but received a parking ticket for being in a disabled parking bay. Thus, the parking ticket was cancelled.
Keep those appeals coming. There looks to be a more than evens chance that if you take your appeal all the way to PATAS you will get your ticket cancelled.
Yours appealingly
Miss Feezance

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Barnet FC woke up - Barnet Council still not scoring properly

Barnet FC gym
If I had known that all it would take to jolt Barnet FC into scoring action was last week's blog post, I would have written it earlier.

The latest score at PATAS (week ended 13 October) was 23-6 in favour of the motorist. It will take a lot longer to get Barnet Council to perform. Here is a day by day breakdown from PATAS along with any interesting points.

Monday's score was 7-2 to the motorist.
There were 5 cases in which Barnet Council / NSL did not supply any evidence so the parking tickets were cancelled.
One case that was refused was of a motorist who went to a shop to pay as there was no parking meter. There was queue in the shop and it took 14 minutes to pay. They were ticketed at 14.55 and paid at 15.06 and PATAS regarded it as too long. The council do of course worry that someone sees a parking ticket and then goes to pay i.e. they cheat. However I don't suppose that any Adjudicator has actually been to Barnet and tried the unavoidably slow Paypoint or Voucher systems for themselves. If they had, they might decide cases differently.
Another case lost was by a motorist who said they had parked on the pavement because their colostomy bag had burst. You simply cannot park on the pavement except in some limited unloading circumstances even though lorries are the last vehicles which ought to be allowed there.
A ticket was given to a motorist who did not see the obscured sign for bay 5940 so they crossed the road and used 5948. The adjudicator rightly regarded her as an honest motorist who had acted reasonably and cancelled the parking ticket.
In the final case 2 bays were suspended and although the motorist was next to the sign he said he was parked in the third bay along and there being no evidence to the contrary the parking ticket was cancelled.
Tuesday 9th - the first case was cancelled by Order of the Adjudicator. The second case was a hire car which was sold before the ticket was issued and so the new owner will be chased. The third case was very interesting. Someone moved the lady's car without her consent, the keys were in her property, the finger was pointed at the builders she had in at that time and probably wanted to get their van close. She had parked properly and so the ticket was cancelled. 
The one case which was refused was for a blue badge holder but as there was a loading restriction it is not acceptable to park there.
Wednesday was a rare day when the score was in favour of the council but it was only 2-1. A motorist claimed to be stopped to tighten their wheels nuts but as they were not visible in the photos they were not believed. The ticket that was cancelled was not properly issued and the council only had the barest of info. The final ticket sounds like it was deserved. The motorist was tired and hungry so stopped to buy food. They claimed the ticket was invalid but didn't state a reason. You really do need to present your case fully, the adjudicator will not look for you as they sit there all day looking at cases and appreciate clear argument.
On Thursday 11th motorists again gave the council a spanking. The first two parking tickets were cancelled by Order of the Adjudicator. The third one was for a vehicle which had been sold and the council / NSL agreed this was the case fairly late in the proceedings.
Another applicant who turned up for a personal hearing had not received his evidence pack from the council / NSL. There was uncertain evidence and stuff had been missed out of the pack that the adjudicator had received. There does not seem to have been any hesitation in cancelling the ticket.
You want the adjudicator on your side so it would pay to be polite. Mr R. did not do this. He denied having parked without his Blue Badge showing for which he was ticketed. The adjudicator wrote that the correspondence had been written in an unacceptable way and if there was to be a recurrence there would be a costs order. The legislation allows for costs based upon the behaviour of either party but is rarely used.
A ticket was issued because one wheel was more than 50cm from the car. The car was badly parked at an angle but the whole car has to be 50cm away which both the traffic warden should have known and the council / NSL. This case should never have reached PATAS.
After another ticket cancelled by Order of the Adjudicator the final case of the day concerned a parking ticket issued for not displaying a blue badge but the rejection letter from the council / NSL talked about foot way parking and the blue badge is evident in the photographs. More blundering.
Four cases were closed by Order of the Adjudicator on the Friday. Perhaps the council and NSL were all up the pub as it was a Friday.
The week finished with one more parking ticket cancelled as the council / NSL did not produce any evidence.
I expect that you are now getting the idea that it is always worthwhile to send your appeal to PATAS to be decided without you even needing to attend.
Yours appealingly
Miss Feezance

Monday, 15 October 2012

PATAS: has Barnet Council modelled itself on Barnet FC

Oh dear, I see that Barnet FC managed to lose again at the weekend, this time by a score of 4-1.
On Tuesday 2 October, Barnet Council had 5 cases listed for hearing at PATAS and NSL failed to submit evidence packs, a bit like not turning up to play at all, although the pitch was ready and the referee (adjudicator) had remembered the time of kick-off and so the score was 5-0 to the motorist. If the team has turned out the most likely score was 3-2 in either direction.
What else happened that week. On Monday 1st the score was 8-3 to the motorist and 6 cases were awarded to the motorist because of the lack of evidence from Barnet Council / NSL.
One sad case was where a young man borrowed his mum's car and simply texted the location number on the sign plate as instructed because he thought it was a premium rate number. The Adjudicator said he did not give the matter enough deep thought. As the detailed instructions were on the other side of the pole then I have some sympathy for the young man as the time plate does not tell you that there is a second sign on the other side of the pole and being narrow it isn't obvious. The young man has learnt an expensive lesson; not that parking is a tricky matter but that Barnet Council are slippery devils. They could have let him off a first contravention as he is unlikely to make this mistake again.
Another case concerns being parked more than 50cm ( 19 inches ) from the kerb. This offence is to stop double parking but it gets used to penalise sloppy parkers. There were no photographs or a sketch so the parking ticket was cancelled.
More trouble with pay-by-phone in the Bunns Lane car park as the charge was paid after the ticket was issued and the motorist doesn't appear to have made much of a case out so they lost. When appealing you need to provide a clear and comprehensive case.
In a case in Hodford Rd the motorist did not see the sign for their bay so used the one from the other side of the road which is a sure fire indication that the motorist wanted to pay for parking and has acted in a fair and reasonable manner. Not so Barnet Council who have put this motorist to time and inconvenience and made them go through 3-6 months of stress. The adjudicator found that the sign for the bay used was not well located and the siting was not for any obvious reason.  The parking ticket was cancelled. Barnet Council should agree to cancel tickets in reasonable circumstances like these rather than fret about the Special Parking Account being short.
On the Wednesday there was just one appeal and again the evidence pack was not produced so the parking ticket was cancelled.
The Thursday was one of the very rare days since 1 May when NSL took over when the score was in favour of the council, 3-2. It shouldn't have been.
The first case was where a motorist with a dispensation received a parking ticket. This must have been a postal hearing as the adjudicator said it should have been produced by the motorist. Well you don't get an actual piece of paper so you can't produce it but the motorist was not present to tell the Adjudicator that. The council should have been asked to confirm that a dispensation had indeed been issued and the ticket should have been cancelled.
A claim to have been loading was lost as no evidence was produced. A better prepared case might have succeeded.
There was uncertainty in the next case that the PCN was indeed given to the driver so the parking ticket was cancelled.
A case was lost for parking on double yellow where the kerb was marked with no unloading blips. Blips are short lines across the kerb. Even with a blue badge you are not likely to win this one. Don't park on double yellows. Picking up and putting down passengers is fine but don't hang around.
On the Friday there was only one listed case. NSL did not produce a copy of the parking ticket so it was cancelled.
The final tally was 17 to the motorist and 6 to the council / NSL. Another trouncing thanks to a poor effort by the council / NSL.
Will Barnet Council get relegated. It looks bad at the minute.
Will NSL get the sack. Boy do they deserve it. Parking should be kept in-house. It, along with dustbins and recycling, are the most frequent point of contact with the council; they are the human face of the council. Thus, the staff should be carefully chosen for their skill to do, in the case of parking, a difficult and unpopular job. They should not be chosen on the basis that they are prepared to work for the miserable sum of £8.20 per hour.
Keep sending those appeals to PATAS as it costs you nothing and each one costs the council £46. If you have already lost the chance to pay at the 50% rate you have nothing further to lose.
Yours appealingly
Miss Feezance

Sunday, 7 October 2012

PATAS - end September: 21-7 to public

Serbia beat GB 21-7 at water polo in London 2012 Olympics
So here we are at the end of of the fith month of the contract with NSL and you would really expect the contract to be running sweetly by now. If it was the score out of 28 appeals would be about 14 each but the public are stll giving Barnet Council / NSL a good seeing to.
Let us run through the week as usual and highlight any useful cases.
Monday 24. The first 3 cases were allowed by Order of the Adjudicator. This is for lack of evidence.
The next case was allowed because the signage was inadequate - plenty of that in Barnet.
Another case was refused as the motorist had put the wrong registration number into the system. A genuine error like that should not cost £60. You don't even get your parking charge back but I think people should write and ask for it. Once the council have extra work to do they might start to make less miserable and mean decisions. Imagine if senior management had to pay £60 for every mistake they made; even their excessive salaries wouldn't cope.
Another case was quite interesting as it centred on whether the 2012 or 2013 permit was showing in the car windscreen. Now let's think about this, there is no doubt that the resident had renewed their permit and all we are arguing about is whether it arrived on time and/or was displayed on time. Now that its what I would call a minor technical point (sounds like pettifogging bureaucracy) , the resident has done what is required of him/her and paid for their permit. They should not then have to go through a 3 stage appeal process to avoid payment of a fine that should have been cancelled as soon as it was seen that the permit had been renewed.
Two more cases of allowed by the Adjudicator.
The final case concerned pavement parking. It is allowed in part of the street that not the section that the motorist chose. Fair enough, your appeal failed.
Tuesday 25. Another appeal allowed by Order.
The rejected appeal is an interesting one. It concerned an out of date permit and was lost because there is no legal requirement to send a reminder, per Barnet Council (or NSL on heir behalf). That looks like it was due around the end of April a time when it is known that something went wrong with the reminder system and they were not issued. It is also custom and practice that the council send reminders and PATAS should have also been told this by the council. It is normal in court cases to have to disclose all material in favour of and against your argument. In my view the council / NSL have been less than honest in continuing with this case. If you get a ticket like this refer to custom and practice and that you were relying on the council.
What the council have done is profit from their own incompetence which is somewhat unsatisfactory.
Wednesday 26. Five appeals were allowed because the documentation pack was not produced by Barnet Council / NSL. On the sixth case the authority ( i.e. Barnet Council / NSL ) submitted a Do not Contest form on the day of the hearing. The applicant arrived for the hearing and this can only be because no-one from Barnet Council / NSl had the good manners to tell the motorist. What excuse can there possibly be for a public body to treat a citizen so badly (this is not the first time that this has happened and is contemptible behaviour. The motorist has lost half a day of their life and been put to expense.
Thursday 27. Eight cases. Four won / four lost.
The first case was allowed by Order.
The second concerns a civic minded person delivering donations to Barnados and as he has more readers than me I am telling Mr Mustard about this case and I hope he will blog about it this week.
The third concerned a person who tried to pay by phone and it didn't work and they were unable to speak to a real person. The photograph supplied by Barnet Council / NSL was after the event and you couldn't read the dign in it. There were no contemporaneous photographs. The appeal was allowed (must have been an easy decision).
In the next case and old gentleman working in his fruiterers was bit slow to unload his fruit and the traffic warden says he observed the vehicle for 6 minutes but the Adjudicator said he should have been given more leeway in view of his age. Older people everywhere note this for your appeal. The adjudicator is more human than the council.
The next case was a ticket issued on a single yellow line opposite Angelo's in the High Rd at Whetstone (just south of B&Q - I have eaten there, it is really good). Why does the council enforce on Bank Holidays? not just for the money surely?
The next appeal was lost as the motorist thought they were on private land and they were on the road. OK.
Case 7 was a motorist who said they were not on a yellow line but there are photographs. He lost. He was unlucky that he was one of the appeals that the council / NSL did manage to get their act together for. You did cost the council the £46 cost of the appeal though thus reducing their profit.
The final case was for being parked on the crossover section of the highway and although if the grass verge is wide enough for a car to park and not block the pavement or the road the council are still precious about it even though that piece of land is effectively yours to use alone.
On Friday 28 two appeals were allowed, one by Order. The second case related to an expired permit and the motorist had been told of the software failure by Barnet Council so why, when they knew of this failing, did they not simply cancel the parking ticket. The motorist attended the hearing and Barnet Council / NSL had failed to produce all of the appeal documents and that is why the appeal was allowed.
Saturday 29 was a lovely case. The motorist had paid by phone. They had been at a medical appointment. They came back to their car and felt a bit wobbly. They ran 2 minutes over on the time paid for. A warden wandered up, had a chat and said not to worry. Later, a parking ticket arrived in the post! I can feel the burning injustice from here. How mad would you be. Next time a traffic warden offers you something, get them to write it down or tape them on your camera phone.
Overall a good week for motorists and a bad one for Barnet Council / NSL.
Keep banging those appeals in.
Yours appealingly
Miss Feezance

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

PATAS - 17 to 22 September - another drubbing

This cute pig is picture 22-6.jpg
Yes, the score this week at PATAS was Barnet Motorists 22, Barnet Council 6. Another right drubbing for the council / NSL. The predicted score in a 28 goal game is 14 apiece.
Monday 17th saw four parking tickets cancelled by the Adjudicator for lack of evidence. The two refused appeals were of someone parking on the part of the crossover which leads to their property but that is still the road which seems harsh as they are out of the way. In future they will drive all of the way in. The other lost appeal was someone who claimed to have permission to park across the dropped kerb (which is OK outside of a CPZ) but they didn't produce a letter. Do so next time and you should be fine.
Tuesday 18th saw an appeal allowed whereby a Business Permit was displayed in a bay that said it was for Permit Holders (presumably just residents but signage must be clear and unambiguous). The council's evidence was uncertain hence the finding in favour of the motorist.
Another appeal was allowed that day where the motorist said they displayed a Visitor Voucher and the traffic warden did not photograph the sides of the vehicle despite claiming to have observed for 12 minutes.
The only lost case was withdrawn by the motorist who had parked across a dropped kerb.
Wednesday 19th was not the finest hour of Barnet Council / NSL. There was what was described as a catalogue of errors of dates and times. An email was even sent to an incorrect email address. Such incompetents.
Another bad case that day (except for the motorist) was because the council / NSL submitted evidence about the wrong car to PATAS. They were described as too quick to issue a ticket to a man getting a voucher from a house (I think we have all heard similar stories) and dates were described as all over the place.. The Notice of Rejection was sent after the 56 days were up. The council / NSL get 56 days in which to deal with formal objections. If they fail, you win. Keep on banging those formal appeals in, the ones you send in response to the Notice to Owner.
On Thursday 20th three parking tickets were cancelled by Order of the Adjudicator and another one because there were not enough photographs.
Friday 21st was a complete washout. Five parking tickets were cancelled by order of the Adjudicator. Barnet Council and NSL between them are a disaster.
Finally on Saturday 22nd two appeals were allowed by Order of the Adjudicator and one more because the Adjudicator was not satisfied that the parking ticket was properly served.
What this litany of woe tells you is that it pays to do the paperwork for the 3 appeals which may be necessary to get your parking ticket cancelled.
An informal appeal where you ask for the ticket to be cancelled.
A formal appeal which can simply repeat the reasons you gave earlier.
If that is rejected it costs you nothing to appeal to PATAS so why not give it a go. You have a 50% or more chance of winning (78% won this week)

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance