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Full Version: Is there any point in always challenging (informal reps) a PCN rather than just wait for the NtO?
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X-treem
Just want the opinion of others here on challenging a PCN before you've received an NtO (informal reps).

If you're almost certain the grounds will be met with a rejection letter, apart from the extra cost and admin it will cause the council, is there any point in appealing against a PCN before an NtO has been received? Of course, there's the opportunity to be re-offered the discounted charge, but I generally appeal all PCNs right through to PATAS if necessary, so I never take the re-offer of the discounted charge anyway. And there's also the opportunity to find additional grounds in their response to the challenge such as procedural impropriety.

But, I'm wondering if it's worth my own time and effort going through the rigmarole if I know I'll just be sending the same letter as formal reps once I've received the NtO at a later stage.

Thoughts?
Hippocrates
Yes. Also, if an adjudicator asks why one hasn't, what is the answer going to be?
X-treem
Why?

And I'd answer that from experience councils routinely reject challenges with such grounds and it saves everyone's time and money skipping that pointless step in the process. A seasoned adjudicator would probably concur with me.
Hippocrates
Then it is a case of pot and kettle: the process is there for you and the council to settle at the earliest possibility. One makes a challenge not as a matter of brinkmanship, but as a matter of pragmatic course: you want the PCN cancelled.

If you do not challenge, then it is your responsibility that the price doubles etc.

Finally, the process is dynamic at every stage and so must be used IMO. It is there for dispute resolution. For example, if you went to the High Court for a JR, you would be expected to have exhausted all other avenues at your disposal first. Same principle applies at each stage, though I appreciate your cynicism.

Name me an adjudicator who would agree with what you suggest: I have met 16 of them. And that is just those at PATAS.
hcandersen
Your reps in respect of a NTO which the authority are required to consider would get informed by their thinking which they've revealed in their response to your challenge. IMO, it is always better to attack the authority's evidence than to offer ones own, but without submitting a challenge you're blind as to their thinking. Consider your challenge to be a type of reconnaissance in respect of which, as we all know, time spent is never wasted.
X-treem
QUOTE (Hippocrates @ Tue, 29 Apr 2014 - 21:33) *
Then it is a case of pot and kettle: the process is there for you and the council to settle at the earliest possibility. One makes a challenge not as a matter of brinkmanship, but as a matter of pragmatic course: you want the PCN cancelled.

I want the PCN cancelled - that's my point. What's the point in using a step I am 99.9% certain (from experience) will result in an NtO whether or not I use it? And "earliest opportunity" means nothing when the reality is that it is not really an opportunity, but a step in the process imposed by legislation that in practice amounts to nothing more than extra paperwork and bureaucracy rather than a realistic opportunity. This is what I'm talking about - not using a step for the step's sake, but streamlining my own process where I know from experience that on balance (using the law of diminishing returns) the effort invested is greater than the likely return.

QUOTE (Hippocrates @ Tue, 29 Apr 2014 - 21:33) *
If you do not challenge, then it is your responsibility that the price doubles etc.

Of course, but that's irrelevant for the reason I mentioned in my first post - I will go to formal reps regardless.

QUOTE (Hippocrates @ Tue, 29 Apr 2014 - 21:33) *
Finally, the process is dynamic at every stage and so must be used IMO.

"must" be used? Not 'must' - maybe 'should'. But, that's highly subjective. And that's the purpose of this post - I want real reasons, not just opinions.

QUOTE (Hippocrates @ Tue, 29 Apr 2014 - 21:33) *
Name me an adjudicator who would agree with what you suggest: I have met 16 of them. And that is just those at PATAS.

I don't know their names without checking paperwork/online, and I've never asked, so I don't know. Have/do you?

QUOTE (hcandersen @ Tue, 29 Apr 2014 - 21:42) *
Your reps in respect of a NTO which the authority are required to consider would get informed by their thinking which they've revealed in their response to your challenge. IMO, it is always better to attack the authority's evidence than to offer ones own, but without submitting a challenge you're blind as to their thinking. Consider your challenge to be a type of reconnaissance in respect of which, as we all know, time spent is never wasted.

This is much more like what I was looking for. I agree with this and is what I alluded to in my first post. But, I suppose I should extend the question a little. I often view the formal reps as just a way to get a PATAS form as I'm equally as certain I will get an NoR as I am that any challenge would be rejected. So, in that case, if I'm 99% certain it will go to PATAS, is there any point in an initial challenge in that case?
RxBandit
QUOTE
Consider your challenge to be a type of reconnaissance in respect of which, as we all know, time spent is never wasted.

+1

I would also add that in certain cases, it will help the adjudicator find you are a credible witness. Harder to prove you're sticking to your guns if you never challenged, whereas the same grounds at challenge, reps and appeal shows -

1. you've stuck to the same facts throughout; and
2. The council have had plenty of opportunity to accept your grounds (if appropriate)

Finally, a challenge is the natural thing to do, again showing you to be more credible.
hcandersen
The answer is in my previous post.
One of the primary items of evidence at an appeal is the NOR; the NOR is argued in response to your reps; your reps are based on the evidence available to you; and without their response to your challenge you have less evidence. Just like PMQs, the sucker punch lies with the supplementary question, not the first one. A carefully crafted challenge can tease out info which you can then attack in your reps. Two bites at a cherry must be better than one, surely?
Hippocrates
I know exactly what you have alluded to in your first post but I am not prepared to give you the advice you may expect. This all depends upon your impulses, aims and objectives. As I said, it is a dynamic process and you will be questioned by an adjudicator as to why certain arguments were not made at a certain stage. End of.
bama
worth lashing out a quick IMO
shows you engaged
and (not least) gives the LA an opportunity to feck up albeit down the line.
and later in IF it does get to PATAS/TPT you may stand a better chance of getting compo from the LA. (I like the idea of listing reasonable itemised expenses on the appeal to PATAS/TPT. should the LA have been unreasonable e.g breaching a duty etc. Then if you get a DNC from the LA writing to them thanking them for not contesting the costs and "when will your cheque arrive smile.gif )
Hippocrates
QUOTE (hcandersen @ Tue, 29 Apr 2014 - 21:56) *
The answer is in my previous post.
One of the primary items of evidence at an appeal is the NOR; the NOR is argued in response to your reps; your reps are based on the evidence available to you; and without their response to your challenge you have less evidence. Just like PMQs, the sucker punch lies with the supplementary question, not the first one. A carefully crafted challenge can tease out info which you can then attack in your reps. Two bites at a cherry must be better than one, surely?

The NOR is the most important document in the whole process: it is pivotal as to whether you continue to appeal or settle. We are upping the game in all areas: knowledge of the law, experience at PATAS etc and tactics.
DancingDad
I'm with the camp that says challenge at every opportunity.
While I agree with your view that the end game should always be expected to be a patas/tpt its often how you get there that is important.
In that respect, I often take the view that repeat informal challenges are worth it.
Done right, you can amply demonstrate not only your consistency but also councils failings.

It also does beg the question why do they reject?
We often see rejections that simply explain the contravention with little consideration of the actual challenge. But we also often see challenges made that can only be rejected. But it was a bank holiday or similar.
And we see cancellations, maybe not many but some, where decent challenges have gone forward and been accepted.
To me, you take every opportunity the regs allow.
Hippocrates
And that was out of the mouth/PC of one of the forum's best tacticians.
DancingDad
QUOTE (Hippocrates @ Tue, 29 Apr 2014 - 23:06) *
And that was out of the mouth/PC of one of the forum's best tacticians.


Hardly one of the best.. Just one of many whose expertise adds to the sum of all the parts
Hippocrates
QUOTE (DancingDad @ Tue, 29 Apr 2014 - 23:19) *
QUOTE (Hippocrates @ Tue, 29 Apr 2014 - 23:06) *
And that was out of the mouth/PC of one of the forum's best tacticians.


Hardly one of the best.. Just one of many whose expertise adds to the sum of all the parts

Bolleaux! The best. And the rust is off! biggrin.gif
DancingDad
QUOTE (Hippocrates @ Tue, 29 Apr 2014 - 23:26) *
QUOTE (DancingDad @ Tue, 29 Apr 2014 - 23:19) *
QUOTE (Hippocrates @ Tue, 29 Apr 2014 - 23:06) *
And that was out of the mouth/PC of one of the forum's best tacticians.


Hardly one of the best.. Just one of many whose expertise adds to the sum of all the parts

Bolleaux! The best. And the rust is off! biggrin.gif


Dunno when we have X treem here who collects PCNs like confetti and certainly seems to have the knack of sweet talking adjudicators into cancelling them.

Actually, as Xtreem is looking to simplify the system and reduce effort, maybe avoidance would be better then defending the wee beasties?
Of course, this is not always possible especially in the capitol
X-treem
Thanks for the replies, and it seems the consensus is to always use the initial challenge step mainly so that you can gauge the council's hand and deliver the sucker punch (formal reps) with better precision.

That said, and the reason I asked this question, I recently allowed one to go to the NtO (currently at PATAS appeal stage). Part of my reason was because I knew I had one solid ground that I know would definitely win my case (mitigating circumstances), and there's a part of me that prefers cases to go as far as PATAS appeal stage because it's more embarrassing for the council when they lose or submit a DNC, and I believe it makes the council look bad in public official stats and records the more failures they have go to adjudication. So, given the rock solid ground (mitigating circumstances) that I had, I had no reason in this case to have to tease out info from the council, and I didn't have to worry about how I'd answer to the adjudicator why I didn't make an initial challenge (because the ground being used is so solid and clear cut, it simply cannot be disallowed).

So, maybe, the answer to my question is not necessarily about speeding up the process by skipping the challenge step when I know it will be rejected. It's about skipping the challenge step when I know it's likely to be accepted, just so I get to stick two fingers up to the council when they have to issue an NoA or a DNC or simply lose at adjudication.

QUOTE (DancingDad @ Wed, 30 Apr 2014 - 01:22) *
Dunno when we have X treem here who collects PCNs like confetti and certainly seems to have the knack of sweet talking adjudicators into cancelling them.

Actually, as Xtreem is looking to simplify the system and reduce effort, maybe avoidance would be better then defending the wee beasties?
Of course, this is not always possible especially in the capitol

Thanks DancingDad, and I like the confetti analogy (it's true!), but I am always learning new things with nearly every PCN. For example, I never knew about temporary signs for "special occasions" until the recent aforementioned PCN. And I also only recently learned about the will/may issue re NtOs on PCNs and CCs on NtOs. And it's only down to the other members on here that I learn the tactics I need to fight my PCNs. I think there are many technically skilled members on here that have a lot of very in-depth knowledge of various 'loopholes' in legislation and know exactly what to spot on paperwork. I think I'm just good at condensing the facts, logic and legislation (that I learn from you guys) down into convincing reps and being able to put my point across both on paper and in person (should it go to adjudication).
Hippocrates
Next time OP is at PATAS, fight on the 7 day rule. Ask for a copy of the so-called general direction of the adjudicators to be given to you before the hearing commences. (7.15 of Guidance to EAs). It doesn't exist! So you argue this prejudices your right to a fair trial and make a bloody stink about why authorities are automatically allowed an extension without an application when appellants have to explain any lateness in registering their appeals.

Advice is courtesy of EDW, BTW.

http://www.patas.gov.uk/tmaadjudicators/manual.htm

The law: Part Two, para. 3 of http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2007/3482/schedule/made
DancingDad
I think especially where there is a solid challenge it should be made as early as possible.
There is rarely a 100% guarantee at adjudication though making the points logically and presenting them well is as good a tactic as you can get.
Which you do seem to achieve.
Too many people do not have that ability. They must rely on councils doing it right, from the CEOs issuing pcn where they should but also exercising discretion through to the people who consider challenges not just automatically refusing
Hippocrates
Engaging in chit-chat, as one does at Islington, only about a third of hearings are personal at PATAS on a daily basis. The rest are decided as a postal. One of the other reasons why people do not take it to "the business end of the game" is purely financial: they lose more money attending than they would settling the ticket.

I look forward to the day when PATAS introduce telephone hearings - but shall miss The Angel. icon_jook.gif
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