Resisting1

Millions of Penalty Charge Notices (parking and moving traffic contraventions) and Fixed Penalty Notices (speeding and traffic offences) are issued every year. Considerable numbers of these have been shown to have been unlawfully imposed and it is NMAG’s position that as a matter of justice and fairness that such unlawfully imposed penalties should be automatically refunded once proven.

As detailed here, enforcement authorities are often not very forthcoming with refunds despite it being shown that they had either acquired the money unlawfully through incorrect practice or process.

In some cases, authorities do make refunds, after varying degrees of pressure have been applied and in these cases NMAG’s position is one of support and praise for the authorities and their elected members.

However, those authorities who are entrenched in their belief that they can retain unlawfully derived income once it has been proven that they are not entitled to it will be reminded that this position is not acceptable.

NMAG will be the force that will ensure justice and fairness prevails.

LET NMAG EXPLAIN
Q.
But it was a fair cop. I did the crime and got caught. Isn’t that the end of the matter?
A.
It may be, but what if something that was wrong about the enforcement that led to your mistake or unfairly prejudiced you? There are very detailed rules about signage for example, designed to ensure that motorists aren’t confused.

Q.
Well yes, there was a sign and if I’m honest it was pretty clear. Do you think that it should have been clearer?
A.
As we say, the rules are very specific so that motorists don’t have to spend important time and concentration recognising and evaluating signage. If the sign was even slightly wrong, maybe that contributed to you being misled.

Q.
But wouldn’t that just be a technical loophole?
A.
Well if you are expected to conform to the law so should the enforcing authority. Their rules are also there for a reason. They cannot break or bend the law to enforce it.

Q.
Are there other ways in which my penalty may have been unlawful?
A.
Certainly. Sometimes the contravention of offence alleged didn’t even happen a parking adjudicators often decide.

Q.
What do you mean?
A.
Well there are many cases where the sign is right, but the traffic order that you supposedly contravened is wrong.

Q.
Wrong?
A.
Yes. Wrongly worded or even not actually in existence where you parked. With the exception of some signs like No-entries and Stop signs, if the local authority hasn’t actually set the law accurately, you can’t have broken it.

Q.
But then they wouldn’t have issued the penalty would they?
A.
You’d like to think so but there are many reasons why they get it wrong so often. A common cause is incompetence and maladministration mainly arising from the fact that their ‘parking’ and ‘highways’ and ‘legal’ have no joined up processes.

Issuing penalties in their knowledge that there is no traffic order is a very serious matter.

Q.
You’re saying that the authorities can get all this stuff wrong?
A.
You wouldn’t believe it!  That’s why so many parking appeals are allowed.

Q.
What else do they get wrong?
A.
The wording on their enforcement notices and their enforcement procedure is another popular area they struggle with and often get wrong.

Q.
Does that make much difference?
A.
NMAG takes the position that rather than allowing each local authority to ‘interpret’ the legislation to produce their enforcement documents such as Penalty Charge Notices, Orders for Recovery, Notices to Owner, Charge Certificates, Warrants of Execution etc. the Government should actually prescribe the exact correct wording in law (excepting the contact details and logo of the issuing authority). That would prevent ambiguity, create absolute consistency and avoid many challenges.

Q.
So I could have been prejudiced?
A.
That maybe so.  It often happens.

Q.
So what can I do?
A.
If you register with NMAG we intend to keep you informed when a particular enforcement has resulted in refunds and when we find enforcement issues that could be subject to challenge.

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