Saturday, August 09, 2008

More refunds ... more excuses

Another council another 'inexplicable' error. Who will be the next to confess?

As more and more councils start to realise that this outrageous abuse of power is being scrutinised now from all angles, civil parking enforcement is being brought into national disrepute.

There are going to be no excuses and no hiding places for those who have been fully aware that THEIR actions have exposed others to a risk of loss ... and therefore an offence under the 2006 Fraud Act.

It is only a matter of time before this episode of disgraceful behaviour by councils and council officials is aired before a court of law. I understand that many Parking Services Managers are now being called to account for their actions and being asked to 'confess' any wrongdoing, potential errors that may affect the council and their fellow officers. The Chief Executives, Heads of Legal Departments, Treasurers and Heads of Services are all likely to be implicated and afected by the fall-out ... for failure to exercise due diligence in ensuring not only that the actions of their council were lawful, but also that the monies unlawfully derived were refunded.

The next year is likely to be very interesting indeed, especially in light of pending legal matters.

Council owes £8k in wrong fines

The council has known about the mistake since 2003

Council officials forgot to paint double yellow lines on a side street in Bristol but still handed out fines to motorists who parked in the area.

The lines should have been painted in a street in Kingsdown five years ago but never were. Dozens of drivers who unwittingly parked there were fined.

The city council is now trying to trace 70 drivers to repay a total of £8,000 in parking fines and tow-away fees.

The lines have now been painted in as it is illegal to park in the area.

David Bishop, of Bristol City Council, said: "In 2003 a parking adjudicator told the council that we should make changes to the yellow lines and the enforcement in this area of Montague Hill South and allow some appeals against parking tickets.

"At the time she said the yellow lines were misleading and we shouldn't be enforcing.

"We took the steps necessary to put things straight except for redoing the yellow lines which is an inexplicable error."


Anonymous said...

Fraud Act 2006 ... potentially councils are commiting fraud by false representation, and (possibly) fraud by failing to disclose information (such as their knowledge that their parking restrictions ar unenforceable)...

And how about the Protection from Harrasment Act 1997? There are civil remedies under the Harrasment Act.

1. - (1) A person must not pursue a course of conduct-
(a) which amounts to harassment of another, and
(b) which he knows or ought to know amounts to harassment of the other.

References to harassing a person include alarming the person or causing the person distress.

A “course of conduct” must involve conduct on at least two occasions. -(But not neccessarily against the same person?)

Damages can be payable and injunctions can be obtained to prevent further harrassment. Breaking an injunction is a criminal offence.

A Council is a Person within the meaning of the law.

Don Erskine - I Am Not A Lawyer.

Anonymous said...

A little bird has whispered to me that there has been a written challenge to the 2007/2008 accounts of Kirklees Metropolitan Council in Huddersfield. The challenge is for PCN's illegaly issued on unlawful parking signs and lines within the Kirklees Area.
It is also said that if this challenge is upheld, some of our pals in the Town Hall may be in for a shock, which in my view cannot come quick enough.
As we all know that a well known Kirklees Councilor thinks that ignorance of the law is a defence to a Council acting ultra vires.
That we will have to see.

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