Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Massive boost for motorists against unlawful parking fines

High Court boost for Sunderland parking campaigner
Sunderland Echo ... 16 June 2009
By Jane O'Neill

Parking campaigner Neil Herron has been given a boost in his legal battle.
The Sunderland businessman claims parking restrictions in Sunderland city centre are unlawful and has taken the matter to London's High Court.Mr Herron, of The Westlands, is fighting a personal battle against a number of parking fines.He also
runs Parking Appeals Ltd, a company which helps those who feel they have been on the wrong end of a parking attendant's decision.

Now a High Court judge has given him permission to continue his fight against what he claims are illegal parking restrictions. Speaking after the hearing, Mr Herron said he was ready for a "David and Goliath" struggle. "This is fantastic news, not just for Sunderland, but for UK motorists who are facing an uphill struggle against local authorities." Finally we have this matter before the highest court in the land and we are looking forward to a judicial ruling on matters that many, many motorists have complained about."

Lawyers for Mr Herron – whose company has registered the personalised number plate F1 NED – yesterday argued that Sunderland city centre's Controlled Parking Zone was unlawful.

Barrister Oliver Mischon, for Mr Herron, also said that the National Parking Appeals Service, where Mr Herron has attempted to have decisions of Sunderland City Council overturned, has the "appearance of bias". He said that Mr Herron's right to a fair trial – as enshrined by Article 6 of the Human Rights Act – had been violated. Mr Mischon told the court that, under the strict letter of the law, controlled parking zones are not allowed to have certain line markings or signage. It is Mr Mischon's case that, because those "signs and lines" are in place in Sunderland, parking restrictions governed by the use of single yellow lines are "unenforceable". Describing controlled parking zones as "extremely confusing", Mr Mischon added that they have been put in place all over the country in a bid to tackle cars being parked in residential areas, but have left many motorists fuming because restrictions are not clearly set out. The barrister added that the National Parking Appeals Service was not "independent and impartial" because it represented every local authority with controlled parking zones, including Sunderland City Council.

Expressing "real doubts" about its independence, Mr Mischon added that it was funded by money raised by parking fines.Mr Justice Keith agreed that Mr Herron had an "arguable" case and granted him permission to pursue his judicial review challenge at a more in-depth hearing, a date for which has yet to be set.

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