Saturday, May 10, 2008

Parking Victory over Southwark Council

When Donna became so frustrated a Southwark Council's refusal to believe that she had not overstayed parking using her Blue Badge (for her registered blind son) she contacted Parking Appeals.

What makes this case even more offensive is that Donna, a busy Mum with three children one of whom has a disability and a full-time job, supplied video evidence as proof that she was not at the location in question during the period alleged. She had gone to school where she works as a teaching assistant after dropping him off and then returned to pick him up for lunch some three hours later. The Council claimed she had been parked there all that time.

When appeals fell on deaf ears we passed the case over to Oliver Mishcon ... aka Judge Tread.

Southwark capitulated and cancelled the ticket.

This is a warning to all councils out there who think that their glory days of picking on and abusing motorists and vulnerable members of society are going to continue ... you could not be more wrong. Game's up guys ... and all those years where you have thought you were above the law are now going to come back and haunt you.

To the whistleblowers ... keep the information coming, its only a matter of time before this out of control, lawless highway robbery that passes itself off as 'civil parking enforcement' is brought to an end.


Anonymous said...


Perphaps the Council should get some decent Solicitors, then again, how would they defend the indefensible.

Anonymous said...

Will it be brought to an end? If anything, I suspect that it is just beginning to get going.

There are now powerful commercial interests behind this industry (as it has become). NCP Services, which runs civil enforcement schemes for many councils, is owned by 3i (a prominent private equity and venture capital investor). Why? Not only because there is a LOT of money in it, but also because there is excellent potential for GROWTH.

It is entirely possible that, in many cases, councils themselves are not actually reaping that much financial reward from civil traffic enforcement. The private contractors probably pocket a good proportion of the revenue.

The problem is that once you introduce a commercially sensitive contract into the mix, true accountability becomes very complicated and increasingly out of reach. Especially since public bodies are not well known for their expertise in drafting such contracts to their own advantage.

Private companies are, by their very constitution, inherently lawless. Their only duty is to make money for their owners. They make commercial calculations as to which laws are worth complying with and which are not.

Sometimes it is more beneficial for them to pay a small fine (ie. lose an appeal or two) than to strictly comply with the law.

As long as there is no easy, effective mechanism for requiring the retrospective repayment of any and all penalty charges which were not lawfully levied without each individual having to fight their own separate case, there is really no incentive for a private contractor to bother too much about the detail of the law.

Lets face it, most people just pay up and move on.

Bruce said...

A bit of direct action doesn't go amiss:

All it needs is a camcorder and some brass neck ;-)

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