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Is the Traffic Penalty Tribunal independent and impartial? You decide
The lady on the left is Caroline Sheppard, the Chief Adjudicator for the Traffic Penalty Tribunal of England and Wales.

The Traffic Penalty Tribunal's only source of income is 60p from every Penalty Charge Notice issued in the country (outside of London).
After over two years of obfuscation and evasion, including a side-stepped Parliamentary Question we have finally received answers to questions ... but only after we raised the objection with the District Auditor. It has been decided to place this information in the public domain. This material was not disclosed by the Traffic Penalty Tribunal in the recent application to the High Court.
Even Lord Adonis, the Secretary of State for Transport seemed unable to provide the answer.

However, perhaps the following answers will assist Lord Adonis and Central Government. The first is from Manchester City Council:

However, the most damning revelation and one which seems in clear breach of Article 6(i) ECHR has been provided by Sarah Howard of Grant Thornton, the District Auditor for the Traffic Penalty Tribunal.

There is a further case pending before the High Court.
It is Glenn Dickinson v The Parking Adjudicator and Glenn raised the point that the Traffic Penalty Tribunal were not independent or impartial. This evidence has been made available to Glenn. The date for his case has yet to be fixed.
The Yorkshire Post reported on Glenn's case earlier in the year:
'Boost for legal bid to win back millions in parking ticket refunds.'
The Motorists Legal Challenge Fund, fighting for justice on behalf of Britain's Motorists is ready to support this and other cases.
In practical terms, I have almost always found it to be a fair system.
Yes. Seems fair that PCNs from the 'guilty' should pay for the appeal process for those that aren't.
AIUI, it's every PCN issued, whether paid, unpaid, cancelled or appealed. If you appeal it, the council pays £40. I do not know if this is a listing fee or a hearing fee - the former would be fairer, as it would penalise the councils that go Catholic. Therefore I suspect it is actually the latter.
I think Neil Herron's on a wild goose chase here.

The adjudication process has to be funded and parliament has determined that this cost shall not fall to the taxpayer at large, or the council tax payer directly; so it's funded by Enforcement Authorities. Looking at the TMA, the costs of adjudication are defrayed, as far as it it possible to achieve, in proportion to Enforcement Authorities' ability to fund i.e. in proportion to PCNs. EAs are under a statutory duty to appoint adjudicators and fund the system. EAs require the approval of the Lord Chancellor to appoint; not to renew the appointment of; to dismiss adjudicators. If anyone gets the short straw, it looks like the EAs.

But as this view doesn't conform to any conspiracy theory, it might not be the majority view?


I think it is only right that the councils fund TPT. After all it is them who have rejected the appeals by those who have been issued with a PCN. I see no reason for the appellant to have to pay anything to have their case heard by TPT. Councils cannot be trusted to simply cancel a PCN, even though it is often blatently obvious they were wrong to issue it.
Interesting replies so far, we've heard about what's fair and about funding etc, what about independence and impartiality (perceived or not).
It has been widely regarded in the past that TPT is not wholly independant as of course they receive funding from every PCN issued by councils, whether challenged or not. The annoying thing with TPT is there does not appear to be any set standards to go by. One adjudicator may view a non compliant parking bay in a totally different way to another adjudicator. I believe the standards should be set in stone, therefore taking away the gamble of the appeal being upheld or dismissed.
Absolutely, many of the decisions are inconsistent, in reality though, is the County Court any different? the TPT is much smaller and more open to more scrutiny than HMCS. Despite my documentary evidence of how the Tribunal Manager and the Chief Adjudicator of TPT have behaved in the past, I think the funding arrangements and the fact that, an employee of Manchester City Council Appoints Adjudicators (with the Lord Chancellor/Minister of Justice's implied consent), provides much concern; the fact that Adjudicators are appraised by the Chief Adjudicator (an empoyee of MCC) and that they are likely to be mindful of the funding arrangements when making decisions that have shall we say, national importance, indicates to me that they are far from impartial. I believe they could be, if the funding and the Joint Committee were not so prevalent in their involvemet with the TPT, I suppose much rests with who can dismiss an adjudicator however if they are appraised by an Council employee.

Martin Wood (Chief Adjudicator of PATAS), is on record indicating such concerns in response to questions about appointments, (I'll dig out the text and post it tomorrow).
QUOTE (ftc001 @ Tue, 12 Jan 2010 - 23:36) *
the fact that Adjudicators are appraised by the Chief Adjudicator and that they are likely to be mindful of the funding arrangements when making decisions that have shall we say, national importance, indicates to me that they are far from impartial.

Says you. Did you miss the adjudicator that effectively invalidated all PCNs a few years back? Or perhaps those that have effectively opened the door for entire CPZs to be overturned?

How would you propose it be funded? As has been pointed out, the burden for the cost falls entirely on the councils, and the more tickets they issue the more they pay.
Apart from perhaps some inconsistency, have adjudicators been found to be behaving in a way that can definitely be attributed to not being impartial?
If it wasn't impartial why would LAs back out at the last moment?

If it isn't impartial why is the percentage of wins in the appealants favour?

The funding is the fairest way, the greater number of PCNs a LA issues the more they contribute why should tax payers fund it?

The Courts are funded by the state which also prosecutes yet magistrates are not deemed to be biased?

Who would mr Herron prefer fund the system the RAC? lol
from an outcomes perspective there is little eveidence to support
a bias towards councils but this is not the same as being inependednt where i think there
are a number of real isssues about the tribunals behaviour
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