I have asked for my costs with respect to two Mobile Spy Cam Parking tickets that I have fought and won at appeal.
Be warned, this article is not intended to be entertaining, but is meant to be informative, accurate and on the record. Read on if you have a special interest in this subject.
The Independent Adjudicator has found that Southend Council Traffic and Highways Department are incompetent.
You might think that would be enough to justify an award of costs to me because Southend Council have put me to a great deal of trouble and inconvenience.
However, it seems that mere "incompetence” does not necessarily imply that the Council are "wholly unreasonable". The council must have acted "wholly unreasonably" for an adjudicator to award costs.
The Council are aware of this and they are content to admit to incompetence, and they have done so in both cases, to avoid an award of costs by the adjudicator.
So, what would be the circumstances, where the actions of the Council would be deemed "wholly unreasonable" ?
My view is that the Council should demonstrate that they have acted reasonably in at least some respect connected to the issue of the parking tickets.
This is what happened...
In both cases the tickets were issued by Mobile Spy Cams in residential streets where loading / unloading was taking place. The use of Mobile Spy Cams in these circumstances are prohibited.
In both cases the tickets were issued without approaching the car to ascertain the legal activity that was taking place.
In both Cases representations were made to the council by me explaining all of the above. In both cases the Council declined to respond to the representations I made, and continued to demand cash from me unfairly.
In Both Cases I made appeals to the Independent Adjudicator and in both cases the Council declined to defend the issue of the Penalty Charge, and subsequently and belatedly admitted their incompetence to the adjudicator. They did so with no apology to me.
In both cases the Adjudicator did not require the Council to explain their actions.
Since I found no element of "reasonableness” in both cases, I applied for costs in both cases.
In the first case which would be the Cat Flap Charlie Going to the Vet Case, the adjudicator did not award costs, on the basis of an assumption that the council would not have acted wholly unreasonably. No evidence of reasonableness was presented by the council, nor required by the Adjudicator.
In the latest case the Adjudicator informed the council that they must respond to my claim for costs. This I felt was progress.
Southend Council wrote by way of explanation that a "temporary member of staff misread" a document. It is of course the proud boast of Southend Council that three separate members of staff check each parking ticket issued but in this case they blamed a lone temporary staff member. Southend Council Traffic and Highways are responsible for this. Furthermore, they have also published in the local press that they do their "utmost" to get it right.
In this second case there was no admittance of incompetence until I asked for costs. This happened when the Council were obliged to admit to incompetence, in order to prevent an award of costs.
This would be the Catch 22 of the parking enforcement Adjudicator.
I am disappointed that the Adjudicator did not ask the Council to explain further since I found their explanation unconvincing. Costs were not awarded.
I am aware that the Adjudicators decision is final and that there is no other realistic remedy for anyone who is inconvenienced by Southend Council incompetence.
However, it’s now official, Southend Council Traffic and Highways Department are incompetent.
Some might think that this is simply a cavalier cynical insincere belated excuse for incompetence and that an apology should be issued..