Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Commons Transport Committee in Bill of Rights 'Cover-Up'

House of Commons Transport Committee:

"Finding a Space for Parking Policy":

Formal Complaint by Neil Herron

Committee Clerk: Doctor John Patterson
Transport Committee
House of Commons
7 Millbank
9th November 2005

Dear Doctor Patterson,

Re: Transport Committee..."Finding a Space for Parking Policy"

The Press Notice (04/2005-06) was issued by the House of Commons Transport Committee on 9 August 2005.
Titled "Finding a Space for Parking Policy," it invited submissions of written memoranda to the Committee from interested parties.

The Metric Martyrs Campaign submitted evidence by the 2nd october 2005 deadline, including reference to the fact that the Bill of Rights Act 1689 does not allow 'fines' except by a court. I have included the relevant section of the submission as text at the end of this e-mail.
The full text of the submission can be read here

In the Press Notice of 9th August 2005, the Transport Committee referred to 'parking fines' and this added weight to the gravity of the constitutional argument, which is expected to ensue. Many local authorities operating Decriminalised Parking Enforcement (DPE) also refer to 'parking fines.'

Recently, Parkwise (DPE operators for Lancashire County Council in partnership with the 12 other Lancashire Local Authorities) admitted that under the Bill of Rights Act, no-one may issue fines "except by judgment of a court."

The actual letter from Parkwise on behalf of Chorley Borough Council, one of the partnership authorities, can be read here and this letter goes on to say that "However, this council does not issue fines it issues Penalty Charge Notices."
If you click here you will also see that Chorley Borough Council website refers to 'parking fines.'

On 1st November 2005 I submitted further evidence, on behalf of the Metric Martyrs' Campaign, to the Transport Committee detailing this very point. That further evidence can be viewed here.

I had already requested permission from Clare Maltby (Transport Committee Specialist) to submit further evidence to the Committee in light of unfolding events concerning the unlawful activities by a number of local authorities. I have also requested that I am able to give oral evidence to the Committee.

Upon checking the Transport Committee's website today, 9th November 2005, this Press Notice, still dated 9th August 2005, has been altered, and now refers to 'parking charges' and not 'parking fines.'

It greatly concerns me that the Transport Committee has done this, in what appears to be a serious and deliberate attempt to mislead or obfuscate what is rapidly becoming a major and fundamental constitutional issue involving administrative bodies acting unconstitutionally.

Indeed, yesterday's announcement of Lord Faulkner's White Paper highlights the fact that fundamental and constitutional rights are being ignored with proposals for more 'administrative bodies' to levy fines.

I am copying this e-mail to a number of interested parties and I would like answers to the following (please treat as a Freedom of Information Act 2000 request where necessary):

  1. Who is responsible for altering the press notice?
    If you were not responsible for authorising it, were you, Dr. Patterson, aware that this had been done?
  2. When was it done and for what reason?
  3. Can you please supply copies of all communications (written, telephone and e-mail) in relation to the drafting of the text of the Press Notice (04/2005-06) and the names of all those involved in the drafting of the Press Notice?
  4. Can you please supply details of how, and to whom, a formal complaint should be raised regarding this matter?
  5. Can you please supply copies of all communications (written, telephone and e-mail) internally between Transport Committee staff and externally between the Transport Committee and any other body regarding and relating to the matters raised in the submissions by the Metric Martyrs Defence Fund, and in particular matters relating to the Bill of Rights Act?
  6. Can you please confirm the number of submissions to the Transport Committee regarding Parking Policy made before the Press Notice was altered, and the number submitted after the Press Notice was altered?
  7. Has anyone, including the bodies who have submitted evidence, been made aware of the alteration of 'parking fines' to 'parking charges?'

I wish for you to treat this as a formal complaint.

Can you please confirm that you will supply a copy of this e-mail to all the Members of the Transport Committee?

Yours sincerely,
Neil Herron

Campaign Director
Metric Martyrs Defence Fund
12 Frederick Street
Tel. 0191 565 7143
Mob. 07776 202045


Transport Committee Officials:
cc. Committee Clerk, Annette Toft
cc. Committee Specialist, Clare Maltby
cc. Inquiry Manager, Philippa Carling
cc. Committee Assistant, Tony Catinella
cc. Committee Secretary, Michelle Edney
cc. Senior Office Clerk, Henry Ayi-Hyde
Members of the Transport Committee:
cc. Mrs. Gwyneth Dunwoody
cc. Mr. David Clelland
cc. Mr. Jeffrey M Donaldson
cc. Clive Efford
cc. Mrs. Louise Ellman
cc. Mr. Robert Goodwill
cc. Mr. John Leech
cc. Mr. Eric Martlew
cc. Mr. Lee Scott
cc. Mr. Graham Stringer
cc. Mr. David Wiltshire
Other interested parties:
cc. Paul Rowen MP (Liberal Democrat Transport Spokesman)
cc. Oliver Heald MP (Shadow Constitutional Affairs Secretary)
cc. Alan Duncan MP (Shadow Transport Secretary)
cc. Alistair Darling MP (Transport Minister)
cc. Tom Brake MP (Liberal Democrat Transport Secretary)
cc. Chris Mullin MP (Sunderland South)

Extract: Legitimacy of DPE / Bill of Rights 1689

For the avoidance of any doubt in the following matter it is very useful that the Houses of Parliament Transport Committee Press Notice ( 04 / 2005 – 06, 9 August 2005 ) refers to ‘parking fines’.

There can be no argument.

If the Committee, the public, the Bulk Traffic Enforcement Centre at Northampton County Court and the legislators consider parking penalty charges as fines then the attempted justifications put forward by local authorities that it is not a fine but an ‘excess charge’ or other play on words, it is clear to all that what we are dealing with here is a fine.

Therefore, I wish for the Committee to now consider and address the legality of DPE itself in light of the following...

As no doubt members will be aware, on 21 July 1993, the Speaker of The House of Commons issued a reminder to the courts. Betty Boothroyd said: ‘There has of course been no amendment to The Bill of Rights…the house is entitled to expect that The Bill of Rights will be fully respected by all those appearing before the courts.’

There is a provision in the Bill of Rights Act 1689 which states;“ That all grants and promises of fines and forfeitures of a particular person before conviction are illegal and void.”

This states that a conviction is necessary before a fine or forfeit can be imposed. As you will be aware, the Bill of Rights is a "constitutional statue" and may not be repealed impliedly.

This was stated in the case Thoburn vs City of Sunderland, the decision commonly referred to as the "Metric Martyrs" Judgment. This was handed down in the Divisional Court (18th February 2002) by Lord Justice Laws and Mr Justice Crane (I will paraphrase, but have included a copy of the judgment's relevant sections 62 and 63):

62."We should recognise a hierarchy of Acts of Parliament: as it were 'ordinary' statutes and 'constitutional statutes.' The special status of constitutional statutes follows the special status of constitutional rights. Examples are the ... Bill of Rights 1689 ...

63. Ordinary statutes may be impliedly repealed. Constitutional statutes may not…"

This was upheld by Lords Bingham, Scott and Steyn in an appeal which went to the House of Lords on Monday, July 15 2002.I am not aware that the Road Traffic Act 1991 makes express reference to repealing the Bill of Rights Act 1689 therefore there can be no fine except for one that is imposed by a court.

It is therefore important that the Transport Committee considers the implications of any attempt to override the provisions of the Bill of Rights and the constitutional considerations of doing so. It will then be necessary to understand the constitutional considerations of ignoring the Declaration of Rights.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well, the cat's certianly out of the bag.Is this not a blatan attempt of a cover up? I can't see how anyone, with a right mind could believe that such acions would make the BoR go away.

Even if a PCN weren't fine, it most certainly is a forfeit.

Keep it up Neil, I only hope the good people of Sunderland recognise your efforts at the next election.

Blog Archive

only search Neil Herron Blog