Friday, October 05, 2007

Perth and Kinross Council tumbles over parking tickets

... and the domino effect is likely to follow.

A few days ago we reported that Scottish Councils were about to be plunged into parking fine chaos ... again!

This arose from the fact that many Scottish Councils were using non-compliant Notices which did not allow the 28 days PLUS service for an appellant to reply, rather, they just allowed 28 days thereby shortening the period in which to appeal.

Our case, Mary Watson v Perth and Kinross Council was one where this defence was to be used. We had submitted evidence that the Notice to Owner was non-compliant.
The letter adjourning the case last Friday created the Sunday Post story here

And now ... after 7 months of hair-pulling frustration ... with Mary desperately awaiting a date for her case to be heard after the adjournment last Friday ... she got a letter yesterday from Perth and Kinross Council.

The have decided, after all this time with no explanation as to the reason, to not contest the case and have cancelled Mary's ticket.

As you will probably appreciate, Mary Watson is far from happy. Once blood pressure has returned to normal a civil case is expected but she has also insisted on a ruling by the adjudicator.

Perth and Kinross meanwhile will be rapidly redrafting their paperwork. Let us see what they are prepared to do with all other pending tickets.

For the avoidance of doubt see below ...

  • A driver has 28 days to pay or 'informally challenge' a Penalty Charge Notice after being issued with a ticket in the street. A 50% discount is available should the driver pay within 14 days.
  • If the PCN is not paid then a Notice to Owner will be sent to the Registered Keeper of the vehicle which allows them another 28 days beginning with the date of service of the Notice to Owner to either pay or formally appeal to the Council.
  • If the formal appeal is rejected they are sent a "notice of rejection" and another 28 days beginning with the date of service of the Notice of Rejection to either pay or appeal to the independent Scottish Parking Ajudication Service, otherwise they will be sent a Charge Certificate which will increase the Penalty by a further 50%.

It is the law that the notices must state that the 28 days begins from the date of service of the notice not from when they are issued.

The relevant sections of the law are shown below (with main points emphasised) with a link to the legislation (when it makes reference to the London authority this will have been amended when the council was granted Decriminalised Parking Enforcement powers).

The case which caused the beginnings of the rumblings was Lukha v Aylesbury Vale.

Trouble is that councils are too busy fining people to get the law right, but not many motorists have sympathy for them or their crocodile tears when they are caught breaking the law themselves.

1991 Road Traffic Act
Parking Penalties

The notice to owner

1 (1) Where—
(a) a penalty charge notice has been issued with respect to a vehicle under section 66 of this Act; and
(b) the period of 28 days for payment of the penalty charge has expired without that charge being paid,
the London authority concerned may serve a notice (“a notice to owner”) on the person who appears to them to have been the owner of the vehicle when the alleged contravention occurred.

(2) A notice to owner must state—
(a) the amount of the penalty charge payable;
(b) the grounds on which the parking attendant who issued the penalty charge notice believed that a penalty charge was payable with respect to the vehicle;
(c) that the penalty charge must be paid before the end of the period of 28 days beginning with the date on which the notice to owner is served;
(d) that failure to pay the penalty charge may lead to an increased charge being payable;
(e) the amount of that increased charge;
(f) that the person on whom the notice is served (“the recipient”) may be entitled to make representations under paragraph 2 below; and
(g) the effect of paragraph 5 below.
(3) The Secretary of State may prescribe additional matters which must be dealt with in any notice to owner.

Rejection of representations against notice to owner

4 Where any representations are made under paragraph 2 above but the London authority concerned do not accept that a ground has been established, the notice served under paragraph 2(7) above (“the notice of rejection”) must
(a) state that a charge certificate may be served under paragraph 6 below unless before the end of the period of 28 days beginning with the date of service of the notice of rejection
(i) the penalty charge is paid; or
(ii) the person on whom the notice is served appeals to a parking adjudicator against the penalty charge;
(b) indicate the nature of a parking adjudicator’s power to award costs against any person appealing to him; and
(c) describe in general terms the form and manner in which an appeal to a parking adjudicator must be made,
and may contain such other information as the authority consider appropriate.

More information and standard letters can be found at

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