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dylanp
Hi guys,

I have today won an appeal with PATAS against being towed away by Hackney Counil.
(I was parked on a badly worn yellow line - issued with a PCN and towed away shortly after)

Patas rulled that the line was in such a state to be deemed unenforcable and directed council to cancel PCN and refund PCN + tow.

Now, given that at the time of being towed away I had a client's server in the car (I'm an IT consultant) - which I had to deliver and install that evening i suffered all sorts of financial losses - namely:
- taxi home to get the log book (as can't retrieve car from pound without a V5)
- taxi to the car pound (in the middle of nowhere!)
- most importanly - missed project deadline as I wasted 4 hours to get the car back - had to refund client £800 +vat and still ended up losing the client!
- total quantifiable loss = approx £1000 (not to mention emotional stress)

Given that they unlawfully removed my car - am I able to take the council to small claims court and recover my losses?

Has anyone done this in the past? Is there any legal technicality that would prevent me from doing this?

Thanks,
Dylan
Neil B
Short answer is , sorry I don't know. Makes sense to me but only from a common sense viewpoint. The eagles on here will answer at some point.

Sorry if that's not much help but I have a question for you.

Apologies for detracting from your question but i am helping with another Hackey towing case at the mo. I assume when you say "middle of nowhere" you mean the pound at Excel?

Can you please tell me what paperwork you were given when you collected your car?

Thanks in advance.

-
bama
you may want to find out how many other cases PATAS has ruled on over those same lines. If the council already knew the line was crap....

(I am not an eagle)
Teufel
did you ask for these costs at patas

difficlut in any case to get jurisdiction - high court may be only option
and they will say why not use patas

counicl would have had to act wholly unreasonable in any case (you may think this
but as legal standard itis hard to prove)
dylanp
QUOTE (Neil B @ Thu, 21 Aug 2008 - 17:04) *
Short answer is , sorry I don't know. Makes sense to me but only from a common sense viewpoint. The eagles on here will answer at some point.

Sorry if that's not much help but I have a question for you.

Apologies for detracting from your question but i am helping with another Hackey towing case at the mo. I assume when you say "middle of nowhere" you mean the pound at Excel?

Can you please tell me what paperwork you were given when you collected your car?

Thanks in advance.

-


Neil, the only thing I was given was a receipt for payment for £260 - very similar to a receipt from a dodgy petrol station or sandwich shop.
Certainly no official paperwork, form, instructions on how to appeal, etc.. (I had to research everything online - on forums like this one!)

QUOTE (Teufel @ Thu, 21 Aug 2008 - 17:17) *
did you ask for these costs at patas

difficlut in any case to get jurisdiction - high court may be only option
and they will say why not use patas

counicl would have had to act wholly unreasonable in any case (you may think this
but as legal standard itis hard to prove)


My understanding was that only costs that Patas can award is travel costs and petty stuff like that (unless like you say the council acted wholly unreasonably).

However, I am not after costs - I am after compensation for damages suffered as a result..

The bit that I need help with is jurisdiction - no point in wasting claim money if the claim will get thrown out on a technicality..

Help!!! Any eagles here?
southpaw82
I'm not sure the jurisdictional point need arise. The adjudicator has jurisdiction over a parking matter but can not award compensation, only costs. The adjudicator has ruled on the matter and declared it null and void. So I'm not sure the county court would decline jurisdiction because you're asking for them to look at a separate matter, albeit based on a decision of the adjudicator.

You could look at suing the council for negligence and/or misfeacance.

Alternatively, make a complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman asking for compensation (though I don't know the scope of their powers to award compensation or what they can award it for).
Neil B
QUOTE (dylanp @ Thu, 21 Aug 2008 - 18:12) *
Neil, the only thing I was given was a receipt for payment for £260 - very similar to a receipt from a dodgy petrol station or sandwich shop.
Certainly no official paperwork, form, instructions on how to appeal, etc.. (I had to research everything online - on forums like this one!)


More eagles will be along mate. I think you might be right about the nature of costs - so you're looking for other avenues. Sure I've read on here that County Courts normally refuse. I certainly think there should be avenues - especially when you can clearly quantify matters like this.

Thanks for the info. Same sitch on documents in case I'm on. You could have won on that! Was it mentioned at Adjudication at all. Also interested to hear why you got towed and what the alleged contravention was. Also where? - as bama said if there are previous cases it may strengthen your case for retribution if we find an avenue.
-
Neil B
Sorry, didn't see Southpaw's post.
-
dylanp
QUOTE (southpaw82 @ Thu, 21 Aug 2008 - 18:33) *
I'm not sure the jurisdictional point need arise. The adjudicator has jurisdiction over a parking matter but can not award compensation, only costs. The adjudicator has ruled on the matter and declared it null and void. So I'm not sure the county court would decline jurisdiction because you're asking for them to look at a separate matter, albeit based on a decision of the adjudicator.

You could look at suing the council for negligence and/or misfeacance.

Alternatively, make a complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman asking for compensation (though I don't know the scope of their powers to award compensation or what they can award it for).


Thanks Southpaw82!

That was my exactly my reasoning - so very happy to hear you confirm that.
Misfeasance grounds sound very appropriate for this particular case - the council are clearly guilty of mis-using their legal power against an innocent motorist (as ultimately ruled by Patas) - motorist who suffered financial and emotional losses as a direct consequence.
(what's to stop council contractors removing random legally parked cars from any street anywhere, getting £260 a pop and maybe some storage fees and then in the worst case scenario refund majority of the fees 6 months later.. Seems like a nice credit facility)

Southpaw - are you a solicitor? Don't mean to 'question' your opinion - but it would be very comforting to get your and someone elses opinion as to whether this route would be the most appropriate for me:
  • complain to the council and ask for £xxx to recoup my losses suffered as a result of their wrongdoings
  • once the council refuse me, send a letter clearly stating that unless I receive £xxx to cover my loses within 7 days I will file a claim in a county court
  • file a claim for misfeasance and follow the small claims route.
Any thoughts?

It almost strikes me that this might be a landmark case for something like this -motorist taking council to court over wrongfully issued PCN and subsequent wrongful tow (or am I wrong - has there been cases like this in the past?)

Thanks,
Dylan

p.s. I'm not a solicitor - just going on 'common sense'..



dylanp
QUOTE (Neil B @ Thu, 21 Aug 2008 - 18:41) *
Sorry, didn't see Southpaw's post.
-



Neil - see here for my original plea for help - shows where and photos of the line..
http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum...badly-worn.html
southpaw82
If you mean "have you been to law school?" the answer is yes. I don't practise as a solicitor though.

If you do go to court, I would make two observations:

1. Go to the LGO first.

2. Make your claim under as many "heads" as possible. Don't just sue for misfeasance but also negligence.
dylanp
QUOTE (southpaw82 @ Sat, 23 Aug 2008 - 17:02) *
If you mean "have you been to law school?" the answer is yes. I don't practise as a solicitor though.

If you do go to court, I would make two observations:

1. Go to the LGO first.

2. Make your claim under as many "heads" as possible. Don't just sue for misfeasance but also negligence.


Interesting that you recommend that I go to LGO first.. Must say I have never used them in the past so don't really know what powers they have - but - I always thought that courts are not too sympathetic towards people that have tried their luck at various places before coming to them (along the lines of - you've been to PATAS, then you've been to LGO and now you are wasting our time here.. Where does it end..?)

Am i wrong in thinking this? Or would a judge be more inclined to be helpful towards someone that has tried all other avenues first?


Dylan
DW190
QUOTE (dylanp @ Sun, 24 Aug 2008 - 10:32) *
Am i wrong in thinking this? Or would a judge be more inclined to be helpful towards someone that has tried all other avenues first?


Dylan


Courts are a last resort and any Judge should respect the fact that you have tried all other avenues before commencing proceedings in the Courts.

ftc001
Personally, i would not go 'shopping' at the LGO and I have not been involved with any case where a Judge has persisted or insisted that "one should have gone to the LGO first"; other problems with the LGO is that you will be having to follow the Council's procedures as opposed to those of a Court, I can assure you that having gone down this route myself, it leaves you with a head full of muck: You will be likely be fighting the Ombudsman as much as the Council, I have documentation of Bucks Council casually emailing the LGO for advice, addressing deputy Ombudsmen by their Christian names, all with an air and casualness of a walk in the park. Still, it's up to you and you have to judge each piece of advice on its merits.

http://lgowatcher.blogspot.com/

besides, as I understand it, the LGO can only find cases of maladministration as opposed to misfeasance.
dylanp
QUOTE (ftc001 @ Sun, 24 Aug 2008 - 12:56) *
Personally, i would not go 'shopping' at the LGO and I have not been involved with any case where a Judge has persisted or insisted that "one should have gone to the LGO first";



It does strike me that going to LGO would be a fishing expedition...
Also, without having been told about LGO on this forum I wouldn't even know they exist (its not like the council or Patas have provided me with a 'recommended complaints' route). So it would be unreasonable for a judge to expect me to go to LGO first if I don't even know about their existence..

Unless someone else has any other argument towards going to LGO first I think I will complain to the council and if unsuccessful go straight to county court.

Any other opinions? rolleyes.gif
Neil B
Maybe worth 'gauging' LGO attitude. Google and find their website.

As far as I remember they operate a preliminary comment system - i.e. explain if it is an area they can help with and what they might be able to do. This is done over the phone. Can't say i know how useful they are but worth sounding them out.

-
southpaw82
My primary reason for suggesting the LGO route first is that if you lose you don't incur any costs. If you lose in court then costs will be an issue. Not great on the small claims track but still...
oshkosh
QUOTE (DW190 @ Sun, 24 Aug 2008 - 12:02) *
QUOTE (dylanp @ Sun, 24 Aug 2008 - 10:32) *
Am i wrong in thinking this? Or would a judge be more inclined to be helpful towards someone that has tried all other avenues first?


Dylan


Courts are a last resort and any Judge should respect the fact that you have tried all other avenues before commencing proceedings in the Courts.




As someone who has taken my local Council to small claims - and won - this is the advice given on the HM Courts Service website:

"Going to court should always be the last resort. There are now a number of other ways of sorting out complaints, disputes and legal problems without court action, including arbitration, mediation and ombudsmen schemes These are often called alternative dispute resolution (ADR) schemes. Court rules require you to think about whether alternative dispute resolution is a better way to reach an agreement before going to court."

In my case I did try to use the LGO, but due to the fact that I still had the option to go to court open to me, they would not deal with me.

So even though in all likelihood the LGO will refuse to take your case, the courts will still expect you to try all avenues first.


ftc001
LGO in this instance is unlikely to be a sufficient remedy when the claim is of misfeasance, the LGO would deal with maladministration and is therefore likely to take a claimant down a path that would not satisy the orginal claim. It is entirely justifiable therefore, that the claimant does not use the Ombudsman, we are not talking about a "service failure", we are referring to a misuse of legal power.

I would be interested as to whether a claim of misfeasance could be better following from a successful claim of maladministration causing injustice, would be interesting, albeit, it might well be decided that the maladministration was enough to compensate the claimant already. Despite the above guidance, I see no evidence that there are any hard and fast rules unless one can show in CPR to the contrary.
southpaw82
There are no hard and fast rules. It's a costs issue. A person who goes to court first might lose out on costs, win or lose.
jufair
If you think this Council has signs and lines which they know are un lawful, why dont you object to the Councils accounts for 2007/ 2008.
I have information that someone has objected to the annual accounts of Kirklees MBC for unlawful enrichment for keeping money that has been obtained on defective parking signs and line penalties.
I am told that objecting is easy and this will make the offending Council have to explain what they are upto.
The objection that has been made to the District Auditor has been accepted, as there is a prima facia case that Kirklees have obtained money on unlawful signs and lines, which the Council knew as far back as 2006 were un lawful.
There is a generic letter regarding this matter on another forum.

HMS Jufair, BFPO63.
bama
AIUI there is only a small window every year when this can be done so people whpuld have to check that the window is open.
jufair
All you have to do is find out who is the District Auditor, and you can write to him at anytime if you believe that a Council are acting ultra vires with the accounts.
You may find that the Accounts will be finalised towards the end of September 08. Therefore the door will be always open
Give him a ring, it is your lawful right to challenge the Councils annual accts, and be guided by what the auditor tells you to do.

HMS Jufair.
ftc001
QUOTE (jufair @ Mon, 25 Aug 2008 - 13:00) *
All you have to do is find out who is the District Auditor, and you can write to him at anytime if you believe that a Council are acting ultra vires with the accounts.
You may find that the Accounts will be finalised towards the end of September 08. Therefore the door will be always open
Give him a ring, it is your lawful right to challenge the Councils annual accts, and be guided by what the auditor tells you to do.

HMS Jufair.



If only it were that simple dry.gif . As Bama stated above, there is a limited window under Section 17 of the Audit Commission Act 1998.

Here's a link for a template letter:

http://www.parkingappeals.co.uk/AuditCommi...55/Default.aspx
jufair
QUOTE (ftc001 @ Mon, 25 Aug 2008 - 13:16) *
QUOTE (jufair @ Mon, 25 Aug 2008 - 13:00) *
All you have to do is find out who is the District Auditor, and you can write to him at anytime if you believe that a Council are acting ultra vires with the accounts.
You may find that the Accounts will be finalised towards the end of September 08. Therefore the door will be always open
Give him a ring, it is your lawful right to challenge the Councils annual accts, and be guided by what the auditor tells you to do.

HMS Jufair.



If only it were that simple dry.gif . As Bama stated above, there is a limited window under Section 17 of the Audit Commission Act 1998.

Here's a link for a template letter:

http://www.parkingappeals.co.uk/AuditCommi...55/Default.aspx


From what I have been told challenging a Council's Accounts is like writing a cheque.
If you read the above link, it makes submitting a challenge easy, as its all there for you to read.
If more people submitted a challenge to the local Councils modus operdi, then they would not be half as clever as they are now.
Actions speak louder than words, and from my time as a Trade Union Rep, I found that my Parker Dufold pen is mightier than any sword the opposition may have.
I take my hat off to the person who wrote the above document as it embraces all the law and lays down reasoned arguments which would make any auditor read it and take the appropriate action on these accounts.
Time will tell, as even Mugabbe has found out, and he had all the trump cards.Sinatra sung a song with the lines; ' Riding high in April, shot down in May.' Roll on April.
ftc001
Amen to that, it is up to people to challenge the Councils; for far too long Government have been able to rely on voters not having information at their fingertips, the internet has changed that.

For those who want to see just how Government and big business has managed to control the behaviour patterns of large sections of society, have a look at Century of the Self (thanks to Medusa for pointing me towards this).

http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfour/documentaries..._the_self.shtml

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1122532358497501036

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8953172273825999151
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