QUEEN'S BENCH DIVISION
Manchester Civil Justice Centre
1 Bridge Street West
B e f o r e :
| THE QUEEN ON THE APPLICATION OF HACKNEY DRIVERS ASSOCIATION LIMITED
|- and -
|THE PARKING ADJUDICATOR
|LANCASHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL
WordWave International Limited
A Merrill Communications Company
165 Fleet Street, London EC4A 2DY
Tel No: 020 7404 1400 Fax No: 020 7404 1424
Official Shorthand Writers to the Court)
Mr Rogers appeared on behalf of the Defendant.
Crown Copyright ©
His Honour Judge Raynor:
"...combine the essential requirements of the statutory regulations with principles of good practice and use of plain English. Inevitably conflicts have occurred between the desire to produce simple and easily understandable documents and the sometimes complex requirements of the regulations and statutory guidance. Whilst it must be for each enforcement authority to satisfy themselves that each document meets the statutory requirements as well as their own needs, it is hoped that the specimen documentation produced will nonetheless provide some guidance and assistance for enforcement authorities and motorists."
"(2) A penalty charge notice served under regulation 9 of the General Regulations must, in addition to the matters required to be included in it under paragraph 1 of the Schedule to the General Regulations, include the following information—
(a) that a person on whom a notice to owner is served will be entitled to make representations to the enforcement authority against the penalty charge and may appeal to an adjudicator if those representations are rejected; and
(b) that, if representations against the penalty charge are received at such address as may be specified for the purpose before a notice to owner is served—
(i) those representations will be considered;
(ii) but that, if a notice to owner is served notwithstanding those representations, representations against the penalty charge must be made in the form and manner and at the time specified in the notice to owner."
As I have stated, I concerned here only with whether there was compliance with Regulation 3(2)(b)(i). It is material to point out that, as is apparent from the Regulations, further requirements as to what must be stated in the penalty charge notices are set out in paragraph 1 of the Schedule to the General Regulations, and those include by (g) and (h) statements:
"(g) that the penalty charge must be paid not later than the last day of the period of 28 days beginning with the date on which the penalty charge notice was served;
(h) that if the penalty charge is paid not later than the last day of the period of 14 days beginning with the date on which the notice is served, the penalty charge will be reduced by the amount of any applicable discount."
Regulation 3(2)(b) of the Appeal Regulations provides for informal challenges to a penalty charge notice before a notice to owner is issued. As is clear from what I have quoted already, if a Notice to Owner is issued, representations may still be made against it, but those representations must follow the instructions in the Notice to Owner, as indeed is made clear in the penalty charge notice here. The Appeals Regulations provide for challenges on the ground of, among other things, procedural impropriety on the part of the enforcement authority, and regulation 4(5) provides that:
"...'procedural impropriety' means a failure by the enforcement authority to observe any requirement imposed on it by the 2004 Act, by the General Regulations or by these Regulations in relation to the imposition or recovery of a penalty charge or other sum and includes in particular -
(a) the taking of any step, whether or not involving the service of any document, otherwise than -
(i) in accordance with the conditions subject to which; or
(ii) at the time or during the period when
it is authorised or required by the General Regulations or these Regulations to be taken;"
"See Reverse For:
How To Pay. How to Challenge this PCN.
What happens if no payment is made.
The penalty charge notice must be paid no later than the last day of the period of 28 days beginning with the date on which the penalty charge notice was served. The full amount is £70.
If the penalty is paid no later than the last day of the period of 14 days beginning on the date on which the notice is served, the penalty charge will be reduced by 50%. The reduced amount is £35.00."
In the context of this challenge, very important provisions are then contained on the reverse, starting:
"IF YOU BELIEVE THAT THE PENALTY SHOULD NOT BE PAID AND WISH TO CHALLENGE THIS PCN [and then there is a postal address to write to or an email address]
Challenges must be made in writing."
Then it is stated:
"Details of the enforcement authorities policy and approach to challenges can be found [on its website] all cases will be considered on their individual circumstances. If you challenge this PCN within 14 days and the challenge is rejected the enforcement authority will decide in each case whether or not to extend the period within which the reduced penalty charge may be paid.
If the penalty charge is not paid on or before the end of the 28-day period as specified on the front of this notice or successfully challenged, the enforcement authority may serve a Notice to Owner...on the owner of the vehicle requiring payment of the penalty charge. The owner can then make representations to the enforcement authority and may appeal to an independent adjudicator if those representations are rejected. The [Notice to Owner] will contain instructions for doing this.
If you challenge this PCN but the enforcement authority issues a [Notice to Owner] anyway, the owner must follow the instructions on the [Notice to Owner]."
"If you challenge the PCN within 14 days and the challenge is rejected, the enforcement authority will decide in each case whether or not to extend the period within which the reduced penalty charge may be paid."
not only is the motorist not informed that representations received at any time before a Notice to Owner is served will be considered, but he may be misled into thinking that there is a 14-day time limit for informal challenges prior to the Notice to Owner being issued.
Mr Rogers: My Lord, the Adjudicator has no further requests.
Mr Brown: I would ask for leave to appeal on the grounds that this matter has not actually been before the courts before. There is clear evidence from the Parking Adjudicators that this matter has caused some disagreement between them and that it is of major interest to the general public.
HHJ Judge Raynor: You have nothing to say about that, I imagine?
Mr Rogers: My Lord, I will just take instructions.
Mr Rogers: My Lord, we have no observation on that.
HHJ Judge Raynor: On balance, I am not persuaded that there is any real prospect of success. If the Court of Appeal believes otherwise or that there is good reason to have the matter come before the Court of Appeal, no doubt they will grant you leave when you apply for permission to that court. But I need to fill in the form.