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Hi all,

A bit of a curious one here and advice would be welcomed. To start with, I don't drive (eyesight) but am a rusty lawyer who is trying to help out my wife, Hazel. Sadly, criminal law wasn't really my speciality.

Hazel is a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, she is blue light certified and has done additional training including skid pan training. She is a Community First Responder and she and I run our own business delivering training for Social Care workers. She needs the car for both our business and also for her Emergency Services Work. For that reason, amongst others, she does not speed. I suppose everyone says that they are good drivers but my wife can prove it.

OK Hazel is driving to her doctor who has recently changed address. The start of the journey is along an A road through a built up area with street lighting but with a stated 40mph limit with repeaters. She then turns off onto a side road. There are no signs at the junction to indicate the end of the speed limit or a new limit but there are no more repeaters, houses or street lights. One would envisage a 40mph limit to be about right for the road but anything less to be unnecessary. Streetlights and houses return fairly quickly and she eventually comes to an island where she wants to turn left. Again there are no signs regarding speed limits. From this she assumes that the road she is turning onto either has the same speed limit as the road she is leaving (which she assumes to be 40mph) or higher. She turns left and is still in a built up area with streetlights but on a better road. She is expecting a repeater sign to advise her of the new limit and finds one but not as quickly as she would expect. The repeater is for 30mph and is indecently close to a camera which immediately pings her. The NIP states she is doing 42 mph in a 30mph. Hazel was furious and says she was astonished to see a 30mph repeater in a built up area with lighting and can only assume it was illegal or the lighting wasn't up to scratch. Her point of view is that she is quite happy to obey a speed limit but she does need to know what it is. I have gone over the route with her and so has a friend who is a driving instructor and another friend who is ex Traffic Division. She is quite correct and neither of our friends can see how she could be in the wrong.

All advice would be VERY welcome.

If I read you correctly you are saying that the road in question is governed by a system of compliant street lights (or we shall assume so for now). As such, it is a restricted road (s. 82(1) Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984). Such a road requires a pair of terminal signs as well as a system of compliant street lighting. Repeaters are prohibited. Strangely, the lack of such terminal signs is not a defence to a speeding allegation (s. 85(4) RTRA 84).

Nevertheless, the lack of such signs can amount to special reasons not to endorse. This is especially so where the previous limit was higher and was also subject to a system of street lights but was not restricted. One could argue for no points and a discharge.

I'm not the expert on speed limits (I do parking signs) but this should steer you in the right direction. Take a look at the RTRA 84 and the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002.
southpaw is on the money.
I suspect that what you have called a repeater, is not a repeater at all, but a 880 sign (below).

If it was a repeater, as southpaw has said, they are prohibited. That said, provison of a prohibited repeater would not be a defence.

Signage defects are not a defence where there is a compliant system of street lighting. Indeed, a recent High Court case pushed the boat out even further, and said that even positively misleading signs isn't a defence either; albeit that that comment was obiter.

The case that you want is Burgess v West [1982] RTR 269.

Working against your wife is that she appears to have travelled a considerable distance within a system of compliant street lights without repeaters, before being pinged.

ford poplar
I assume her fury means she will fight and the first appeal will be rejected so off to National Adjudicator.
You seem to have a couple of trained witnesses on your side. A search for relevent Traffic Orders should indicate what and when speed limits came into force.
I might video the route to show at Adjudication hearing ( passenger with digital videocam and download footage to laptop for portability. Adjudicator may not wtch it but good educational footage for IAM, Learners and You Tube
National Adjudicator?
Adjudication hearing?
ford poplar
Sorry Andy & Jasonstry, having a senior moment, thinking of parking!
Options, either pay fine, take the points or fight in Mags Court
(Think I got it right this time)
QUOTE (ford poplar @ Fri, 5 Jun 2009 - 01:28) *
Sorry Andy & Jasonstry, having a senior moment, thinking of parking!
Options, either pay fine, take the points or fight in Mags Court
(Think I got it right this time)

Nope; wrong again. rolleyes.gif
Nothing to fight the charge with. It may be, however, a special reason for not endorsing, and grounds for a discharge.
Thanks for the input folks.

TBH we intended to plead guilty because I have experience of how much time and money can be taken up with defending a case. We wanted to put a written plea for mitigation. The two problems are that we don't want to do that if there is little chance that we would get a better result than we would from taking the 3 points and £60 and the other problem is that the court can, of course, refuse to accept a guilty plea if they think that you are really claiming that you are not guilty. We wouldn't want that. On the face of it, guilty on a technical point but we had every right to assume a limit of 40mph is about as good as it gets. Over the next few days I will try and put together a draft plea and post it here. Perhaps people will be kind enough to offer advice/criticism.

Linked to this we also have problems with the NIP. The car is leased and it seems the police have contacted them to get our info but, rather than giving them names of partners, they have given them the name of our business. They have issued the NIP in the name of the business. I have written to them pointing out their error and they sent me a final warning, which they posted during a period that I had specifically told them that I would be out of the country. I have written again and their reply says "The owners of the company are responsible for the completion of the form." To me this sounds like complete garbage. We aren't a company, companies don't have owners, they have shareholders and s172 refers to either a "person" or a "body corporate". The NIP specifically says in big red letters "DO NOT COMPLETE THIS FORM IF YOU ARE NOT THE PERSON NAMED ABOVE" and no "person" is named, only the business. Any advice on this one?

Thanks again people.
Yes. If the NIP is addressed to the business rather than a person, the business cannot receive penalty points for not filling the form in. (the fine is bigger though) wink.gif
Hi davepoth,

Have you got a source for that as, no offence, but it doesn't make sense to me. I think that perhaps you might be confusing limited companies with other businesses. Perhaps it would help if I explain the situation as I understand it.

As far as the law is concerned, a limited company is a legal entity or person in its own right and, though the shareholders cannot be sued or prosecuted for what the company does (the whole point of limited liability), the company itself can be sued or prosecuted. If a s172 notice was sent to a company and was not completed and returned, the company would commit a prima facie offence and, as you suggest, would face a fine but, since it does not have a license would not pick up any points. However, many businesses trade as sole traders or partnerships rather than as limited companies and these businesses are not legal entities in their own right. If the owners of the business commit an offence in the name of the business then they could face prosecution.

My point here is that, as I see it, s172 deals with requests for information from a "person" and makes it an offence if that person does not provide that information. The notice has been sent to a business that is not a limited company and is not, therefore, a "person" in the legal sense so it seems to me that no offence is committed if the business does not respond. The individual partners don't commit an offence as the form was not addressed to them so they haven't been asked to provide any information. So unless there is something that I am missing that would make the partners to a business responsible for completing a NIP that is addressed solely to the business as the police are suggesting, I can't see that any offence is committed if we just ignore it.

Is there something that I am missing here?

You have to be a bit careful with that argument. Take a look at Arnold v DPP [1997] EWHC 533. The court was unimpressed by such an argument, though it might have had something to do with the particular facts of the case.

QUOTE (Simon Brown LJ)
11. Given that this Appellant was at all material times a solicitor practising under the style and title of John Arnold & Co, it is, of course, plain beyond argument that that firm cannot possibly have been a limited company, public or private. Indeed, those instructed on Mr Arnold's behalf below must plainly have appreciated that fact. That, again, seems to me to be an astonishing argument for a practising solicitor to have advanced. Rightly it is not pursued by Mr Tetlow before us. He seeks rather to reshape the point into a wholly different argument, namely that it was not shown below that service on John Arnold & Co was effective as service upon John Arnold as an individual. In my judgment, the point is intrinsically worthless and, in any event, having regard to the form the argument took below and the form in which the questions are now stated for the opinion of this court, is not open to the Appellant on this appeal.
Cheers for that Southpaw82.

No worries there as the business name does not include our actual personal names. In fact I'm really not to worried about the local police checking out posts on this forum so the name of the business is High Performance Training and that is the only "name" on the NIP. The partners are Hazel and Andy Collier.

I have been having a think about this and am beginning to see a new possibility. As far as I can see someone representing West Midlands Police has stated to my wife and I (the letter was simply addressed to "High Performance Training") that the owners of the business are responsible for completing and returning an NIP. Now it seems to me that that statement would appear to be fallacious, or to put it another way "untrue or misleading." And it also seems to me that, if I was to take the statement as truth, that would expose me and/or my wife at risk of financial loss. So, if the person making the statment was aware that the statement (or representation) was, or might be untrue then that would be a Fraud Act offence?

Any thoughts anyone? I don't want to reivent the wheel but so if anyone has already been through this?

Cheers again.
The Rookie
Its not stictly untrue, the officers of the business are responsible for nominating the driver, and if they do not the business of which they are officers gets fined, so its somewhat of a semantic argument! In this case the owners are probably the relevant officers and if the business gets fined its ultimately the owners who loose out! Its certainly nowhere near fraud, you're making 2 and 2 equal about 12 there!

The problem is that the police see things in one of only two ways - the vehicle belongs to either a person or a body corporate. They don't seem to have scope for a vehicle being (arguably incorrectly) registered to a partnership or business name. Of course, that brings into play the question of whether a non-incorporated body can be the registered keeper as it doesn't exist.
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