Department of Constitutional Affairs....Nothing to do with us Guv
What needs to be bourne in mind is that Paul Stockton appears to be one of the Government Tribunal Policy Makers!!
Subject: National Parking Adjudication Service (NPAS)
Dear Mr. Stockton,
Please find below a copy of an e-mail sent to the Law Society.
My concerns are that the National Parking Adjudication Service is misrepresenting its position which is obviously a very serious matter. The video clip referred to can be viewed here
I would be grateful if you could clarify a number of points in the first instance:
1. Is NPAS a Court of Law?
2. Would the Department of Constitutional Affairs consider NPAS to be independent in light of the fact that it is solely funded at the rate of 60p per ticket issued by participating Local Authorities?
3. Can you clarify who was responsible for creating NPAS?
4. Can you clarify which body is responsible for monitoring and regulating the behaviour of NPAS?
5. Can you please provide me with DCA's clarification of what is meant by the terms 'Court of Law' and 'Tribunal' and define the roles, powers, jurisdiction and responsibilities of each?
Tel. 0191 565 7143
The Law Society
13 Chancery Lane
Dear Sir / Madam,
Following on from my telephone calls today with Christopher Dehame and
Mandy Verdee of the Law Society helpline, who were both very helpful, I would like to initiate a formal complaint against the National Parking Adjudication Service (NPAS) which I believe will require investigation by the Law Society. I believe that NPAS are misrepresenting their position and misleading the public. Concerns were first raised following my complaint as to the legality of Sunderland City Council's parking regime operated under the 1991 Road Traffic Act. I was told that there was a 'right of appeal' to an 'independent' parking adjudicator. To keep the complaint brief:
1. NPAS claim to be independent yet are funded by participating Local Authorities at the rate of 60p per ticket. They receive no other funding.
It is misleading therefore to claim to be independent.
2. In the <http://www.parking-appeals.gov.uk/welcomeEN.asp video clip the woman states, " My name is Sian Cole and I am an adjudicator...I am a solicitor and I am completely independent...I have no connection whatsoever with the Local Authority."
Calls to the Law Society showed Christopher Dehame could find no record of a solicitor by this name. However, the Department of Constitutional Affairs confirms that Sian Cole was admitted on 1st 0ctober 1987. Can you now confirm that this is the case?
There is an obvious connection between the Local Authority and the adjudicator because of the funding aspect as mentioned in 1 and therefore serious doubts as to whether the tribunal can call itself independent.
3. Again in the video clip (viewed on this <http://www.parking-appeals.gov.uk/welcomeEN.asp> link) she also claims that the hearing is a 'court of law.' She states, "This is in fact a Court of Law and as such I expect you to tell the truth..."
They are very clearly not a court of law. Can you confirm if it is an offence to make such a claim? I have evidence from NPAS which confirms that they are not a court of law but merely a tribunal.
I have a great deal more documentary evidence which can be made available including NPAS sharing advice and opinion with Local Authorities.
I would be grateful therefore if you could confirm that the Law Society will investigate this complaint and keep me fully informed as to your findings.
Reply from Paul Stockton
Dear Mr Herron
1. There is no fixed definition of what constitutes a "court of law"
2. It's not for us to say. NPAS has been established under an Act of Parliament. As part of the governemtn's tribunal reform programme there will be a review of local authority-based tribunals but the timescale for that review has not yet been established.
3. Sorry but we don't know enough about NPAS to be able to answer this.
4. NPAS is subject to the oversight of the Council on Tribunals.
5. There is no standard definition of either "court of law" or "tribunal". There is some overlap between the two concepts - eg some tribunals are by statute courts of record. Roles, powers etc are defined by statute for both courts and tribunals.
Monday, September 26, 2005
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