We are about to force another local authority to hand back hundreds of thousands of pounds to motorists after unlawfully issuing parking tickets.
Didn't think it would be long before the lawyers began circling...there is a smell of blood in the water.
Read here how we began breaking the story after being contacted by Wayne Farrington
4th October 2005
Parking blunder sparks fine mess
A LEADING lawyer has urged motorists to demand their money back from Rochdale Council after it emerged that thousands of parking tickets may be invalid.
Nick Freeman, the ‘solicitor to the stars’, whose clients include David Beckham, Sir Alex Ferguson and EastEnders’ Steve McFadden, says the way in which the council has collected its parking fines since it took over control of parking enforcement is open to legal challenge.
Under the new decriminalised parking enforcement regime introduced in Rochdale in July last year, penalty charge notices should be issued to the owner of the vehicle.
But the council has continued to issue tickets addressed to the driver.
Rochdale Council has now changed the wording on tickets and says tickets issued before have been accepted by the National Parking Adjudication Service.
But Mr Freeman, dubbed ‘Mr Loophole’ after successfully representing various celebrities in a number of high-profile motoring offence cases, said: “If the council has been enforcing fines from tickets that are out of date they must refund.
“They are also liable for any damages incurred. I think this is a case of trying to take advantage of Joe Public.
“They should contact the council and say ‘I want my money back’.”
Although council chiefs say the previous wording is acceptable to the national organisation in charge of such matters, motorists’ campaigner Neil Herron claims to have successfully had thousands of parking fines overturned after he discovered a blunder in parking systems in Sunderland and Blackburn.
He claims that at least one motorist in Rochdale has not had to pay up after challenging the council over the wording of tickets.
He said: “Under the decriminalised parking enforcement, the driver is no longer liable if they fail to pay the ticket.
“The authorities will demand payment from the owner.
“But the notices in Rochdale have been to the driver of the vehicle.
“All the tickets in Rochdale since the decriminalised parking enforcement was introduced have been invalid.
“The old tickets have been carried over into the new regime.
“The ticket has to say owner, no ifs or buts.”
Motorists issued with a parking ticket are fined £30. If the money is not paid within 14 days it goes up to £60 and then £90.
Claims that thousands of tickets are invalid could now trigger a huge number of appeals to the council from motorists and if their appeals are upheld tens of thousands of pounds would have to be repaid.
Earlier this year, Kevin Mayor, the council’s parking boss, revealed that 26,000 fixed penalty fines were expected to be issued in Rochdale in 12 months, netting almost £½M.
Commenting on the latest controversy over parking tickets, Mr Mayor said: “Since decriminalised parking was introduced in Rochdale, the ultimate liability has always been with the registered keeper of the vehicle. There has never been a fixed legal wording of notices.
“Last month Rochdale Council was asked by the National Parking Adjudication Service to make minor changes to the wording of our penalty charge notices. We acted immediately to amend the wording, which now follows the adjudicator’s recommendation.
“Penalty charge notices issued before this time have been accepted by the National Parking Adjudication Service. It is hoped that the amendments will make the notices clearer to motorists.”
A spokeswoman for the National Parking Adjudication Service said it is an independent tribunal and cannot give legal advice.
First published by the Rochdale Observer
Submit your comments
Wednesday, October 05, 2005
- ► 2011 (51)
- ► 2010 (174)
- ► 2009 (115)
- ► 2008 (179)
- ► 2007 (210)
- ► 2006 (392)
- Formal complaint lodged with Audit Commission...re...
- Chorley Borough Council and Parkwise now in their ...
- Dam starting to crack...Chorley Borough Council ad...
- Penalty Claws
- Not long before this happens here
- Rebellion Grows
- Press Release ... Council guilty of Parking Cover-...
- Parking fines on verge of collapsing across the co...
- Rochdale's ship ready to sink
- Remember that Glowing Report on Decriminalised Par...
- What part of 'No' do these people not understand!
- News From the Front Line 10th October 2005
- Town's parking ticket 'blunder'
- Vaux Site...Sunderland Council and 'Who Built the ...
- Smell of Blood in the water...another victory comi...
- Another Fine Mess
- Parking fine refund fight continues
- Illegal parking fines could cost city council up t...
- City in fine mess ignored advice
- Another Bill of Rights Victory...This time in Sund...
- Sunderland City Council's Parking Regime in its fi...
- Media Statement by Sunderland City Council: Parkin...
- Parking Fines and Bill of Rights issue on Radio 4
- EU places illicit ads for itself
- Here's how to haul down those EU flags
- "It's Hard Being a Cowboy in Rochdale"
- ▼ October (26)