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News and Comment February 2012

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14 February (Part 2) - Not only is Bexley’s mobile CCTV uncertificated their penalty notices are iffy too

You would think that all the high salaries Bexley pays its executives would at least buy in people who know their rear ends from their elbows, but it would appear not. The Parking Adjudicator has allowed an appeal from someone who claimed the wording on Bexley’s Penalty Notices doesn’t comply with the law. It’s a bit technical, I had to read it more than once but this is part of what the Adjudicator said…

4) The second of Ms. Green’s submissions appears to me to carry more weight. The Bexley notice to owner form states, “ should return your representations and any supportive evidence to… within 28 days of the date of service of this Notice to Owner, (which is the date it was delivered)”. Ms. Green submits that this does not reflect Regulation 3(3) of the same Regulations, which reads, "A notice to owner… must,…. include the following information (a) that representations… against payment of the penalty charge notice may be made to the enforcement authority, but that any representations made outside the period of 28 days beginning with the date on which the notice is served (“the payment period”) may be disregarded…" Ms. Green makes the submission that “within” has a different meaning to “outside the period of”.

5) Such a technical and procedural argument, causing no prejudice to Ms. Green, is not immediately attractive when there is such clear evidence of a contravention. However Bexley has not responded to the argument, and I find that it at the very least a reasonable argument. The Notice to Owner is an important document in the enforcement process, and there are statutory requirements for the form. I find that Ms. Green has raised a potential legal or drafting issue with Bexley’s form. In the absence of a cogent argument from Bexley as to the legal accuracy of their form, I am finding that the form is not valid, so that reliance upon it causes a procedural impropriety, and am allowing this appeal. This decision is taken on the strength of the arguments in this appeal. It may be that Bexley would be able to provide a contrary argument in another case.

The issue here is that the law says representations in mitigation of any offence may be made at any time but after 28 days those representations may be disregarded. Bexley arrogantly considers itself to be above the law because it says representations must be made within 28 days full stop. That is not as flexible as the law says such notices should be and was ruled to be wrong. Thank goodness we are paying the highest salaries to get the very best people to run Bexley council. Just think what a mess we would be in if Eric Pickles and Elwyn Bryant had their way.

The case is numbered 2110700079 and concerned parking in front of a dropped kerb. Yet another reason to appeal about parking tickets issued by Bexley council


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