Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Norwich Council's 'illegal' parking tickets

The story below hit the Eastern Daily Press and the Norwich Evening News
Parking fiasco could cost thousands

The letter sent to Norwich Council's Parking Services can be seen below:

Robin Hare
Parking Services Team Leader
Norwich City CouncilCity HallNorwich
24th August 2006

Dear Mr. Hare,

I have just been forwarded a Norwich City Council Penalty Charge Notice.

I wish to put you on notice that your Penalty Charge Notices do not comply with the requirements of Section 66(3) of the 1991 Road Traffic Act and request that you suspend your Decriminalised Parking Enforcement operation immediately until you have corrected this fundamental error.

It is a requirement of the Act for two dates (notice and contravention).

In the recent case heard before Justice Jackson on 1st August 2006 (Moses v Barnet) the Judge mentioned in his judgment that the requirement of the two dates had been mentioned by adjudicators on more than one occasion. He emphasised that the statutory requirement of the form of the PCN were simple and clear - compliance was not difficult and a specimen had been available for more than 10 years. Enforcing authorities therefore had no excuse for non-compliance.
He deemed non-compliant PCNs a nullity.

I would be grateful for answers to the following (please treat as a Freedom of Information Request wherever necessary):

1. Can you please confirm that Norwich City Council will suspend enforcement of its DPE regime forthwith?
2. Can you confirm that Norwich City Council will not pursue ANY outstanding PCNs which are incorrectly worded and will withdraw any bailiff's actions?
3. Please confirm the date Norwich City Council received the National Parking Adjudication Service Circular MacArthur v Bury (BC 188) regarding the wording of PCNs and why the PCNs were not altered then and the contents of the circular not acted upon?
4. What does Norwich City Council intend to do with regard to non-compliant PCNs issued which have been paid?
5. Can you please advise as to the number and value of PCNs which have been issued since the inception of DPE which do not bear the two dates described above?
6. Can you please advise as to the number of Norwich City Council PCNs that have gone before the National Parking Adjudication Service?
7. Do you intend to challenge the competence of the National Parking Adjudication Service who have similarly failed to identify the flaws in the Norwich City Council PCNs, the most fundamental piece of evidence in the whole process, despite, in the words of Justice Jackson, 'a specimen being available for more than 10 years'?
8. Can you detail the amount of money paid to the National Parking Adjudication Service by Norwich City Council since the inception of DPE?
9. Can you please provide details of any communications from members of the public or any other source which have advised Norwich City Council that their PCNs were unlawful and did not comply with the requirements of the 1991 Road Traffic Act, and the provide details of officers actions on receipt of this information?
10. Can you please confirm that Norwich City Council's PCNs should not be addressed to the driver as this also creates a potential prejudice to the registered keeper, the person responsible for the contravention?

I appreciate the enormity of the task of suspending DPE but as non-compliant PCNs have been declared a nullity by the High Court any attempt to continue to enforce using such unlawful documents is a very serious matter indeed and may lead to formal complaints of Misfeasance / Misconduct in Public Office being made to the Police and complaints of maladministration to the Local Government Ombudsman.
I trust I will receive a reply by return to the main points raised as the matter is most certainly in the public interest.
Please confirm receipt of this e-mail and confirm that a copy will be forwarded to elected members, David Lowens and the Chief Executive.
Yours sincerely,
Neil Herron
12 Frederick Street
Tel. 0191 565 7143

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