Traffic Penalty Tribunal

Example Cases

Issues with Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs' or local parking bylaws)

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A number of cases turn on issues connected with TROs (local parking bylaws). Adjudicators often need to look at TROs in detail to establish whether there has been a contravention. It is important for councils to ensure that the evidence bundle contains all the relevant extracts required to support the signage and/or the elements of the alleged contravention or, in the case of councils that have been absolved from the requirement to include TROs in the evidence bundle, that the TROs on file with the Tribunal are up to date.


An indecipherable local bylaw (SL 548)
An appellant, issued with a PCN for parking in a Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) without a ticket, appealed on the ground that there were no signs to indicate that the road where they had parked was part of the zone. The council maintained that the road was indeed part of a CPZ and submitted in evidence a copy of the relevant TRO, a document covered in handwritten alterations, which other Adjudicators had commented on adversely several times before. The Adjudicator ruled that the numerous and indecipherable handwritten alterations made it impossible to tell whether the road in question came within the terms of the TRO or not.
The appeal was allowed.


Permit-holders only car park designated pay-and-display (OD 109)
The appellant parked in a car park, bought and displayed a ticket from the machine, was issued with a PCN for parking on a permit-holder's bay without displaying a valid permit, and appealed on the ground that the car park was available to the general public as a pay-and-display car park and that no contravention had taken place. The council contended that the car park was for the use of permit holders only. The Adjudicator, however, found that, under the provisions of the relevant TRO, the car park was in fact designated as a pay-and-display car park.
The appeal was allowed.


Incorrectly categorised restriction (NG 162)
Issued with a PCN for being parked in a designated loading bay during restricted hours without loading, the appellant appealed on the ground that the signs were unclear. In its evidence, the council failed to identify the precise provision of the relevant TRO on which it relied. On scrutinising the TRO, the Adjudicator concluded that the road in question was one in which waiting was restricted, but with exemptions for certain categories of goods vehicle. The Adjudicator found that this arrangement did not amount to the creation of a "designated loading bay" and that the contravention cited on the PCN had therefore not in fact taken place.
The appeal was allowed.


Vehicle parked twice in the same place some time apart (MW 600)
The appellant was a woman who shared a vehicle with her husband. The husband parked in the morning and bought a pay-and-display ticket. Later in the day, the appellant parked the vehicle in the same parking space and also bought a ticket. Both tickets were visible to the Parking Attendant, who issued a PCN for having parked with an additional payment made to stay beyond the time first purchased. The appellant claimed that these were two separate parking instances of the same vehicle by different people at different times of the same day. The Adjudicator found as a matter of fact that the appellant's claim of two separate parking instances was true. He determined that, while the car park signage made it clear that only one ticket could be purchased within 24 hours, the TRO contained no such provision and the PCN should therefore not have been issued whatever the circumstances.
The appeal was allowed.


Failure of local bylaw to set parking charges (BO 393)
The appellant parked in a car park and bought a pay-and-display ticket. A PCN was issued because the amount put in to the machine to buy the ticket was not the "appropriate charge" for the time the vehicle was parked. The appellant appealed on the ground that the charges were not displayed and only one price could be paid for a ticket. The council provided in evidence their No.11 TRO, which contained the usual provisions requiring the driver to pay the "appropriate charge" for a pay-and-display ticket, as well as their No.10 TRO, which purported to set the charges for all off- and on-street parking places. However, the Adjudicator pointed out that the No. 10 TRO stated that it applied to car parks specified in the No.12 TRO. As the car park in question came within the No.11 TRO, there was no evidence that charges had been set for car parks in the No.11 TRO - and thus no "appropriate charge" to be paid.
The appeal was allowed. (The council immediately took steps to rectify the defect.)

When car-park signage and local bylaw conflict (HA 39)
The appellant was issued with a PCN for failing to display a paid-for pay-and display ticket, and appealed on the ground that they were displaying a freely dispensed pay-and-display ticket for an hour's parking, as was their habit. The car-park signage made clear the requirement that motorists had to pay for and display a pay-and-display ticket; it also stated that the first hour of parking was free and that motorists could obtain a free ticket from the pay-and-display machine, which gave the time of arrival and the time of expiry. The Adjudicator found, however, that the relevant TRO submitted in evidence by the council was couched in terms that stipulated that only a ticket for which money had been paid could be displayed. The Adjudicator suggested that the council should amend its TRO, which was clearly in conflict with the car park signage.
The appeal was allowed.


Enforcing restrictions against a resident (CE050050D)
The appellant parked on a single yellow line outside their home where parking was not permitted between 11.00am and 12 noon on weekdays. She was issued with a PCN for parking in a restricted area and appealed on the ground that she had not been parked at a time when the restriction was in force. The appellant said she understood that the restriction was intended to protect residents from cars being parked by commuters from a nearby railway station, although there was no exemption for residents and no provision for residents' parking.

The appellant had been successful in the Magistrates' Court in contesting an alleged parking offence that arose before civil parking enforcement in similar circumstances to the present PCN. The Magistrates exercised their power to find the parking restriction unlawful by reason of its being unreasonable. While the restriction was not subsequently enforced against the appellant, the current PCN had been issued shortly after the enforcement procedure was decriminalised. The Adjudicator described the case as "unfortunate" and hoped that the council would shortly address the issue highlighted by this case. Unlike the Magistrates, the Adjudicator was unable to intervene, having no power to strike down the bylaw for being unreasonable.
The appeal was allowed (but not on the ground that the bylaw was unreasonable - that ground of appeal was dismissed).



Unstipulated contravention of a bylaw (SW58)
The appellant, issued with a PCN for leaving a vehicle in a car park after the paid-for time had expired, appealed on the ground that they had arrived back shortly after the ticket's expiry. The Adjudicator found that the drafting of the relevant bylaw, while providing that vehicles must display a ticket when parked (for a maximum of four hours), failed to provide that a car parked after the period on the ticket was in contravention.
The appeal was allowed.


Failure to display and a badly worded bylaw (BW05003F)
The appellant purchased a pay-and-display ticket and displayed it on the windscreen at the time they left the vehicle but, for reasons unknown, it subsequently fell of into the footwell. A Parking Attendant issued a PCN for failing to display a valid ticket, which the appellant appealed against on the ground that they had in fact displayed a valid ticket at the time they parked the vehicle. The Adjudicator found that the wording of the relevant bylaw was ambiguous as to whether the obligation to display a ticket applied only at the time the vehicle was parked or continued throughout its stay in the car park. She said that the correct approach where such an ambiguity existed was to construe the words in question in favour of the person who would otherwise be penalised. Thus, no contravention had occurred. (The Adjudicator pointed out that it was perfectly possible to draft a TRO in such a way that the continuing nature of the obligation to display a ticket was clear and unambiguous and that many councils had done so.)
The appeal was allowed.


Failure to display a ticket on the windscreen (TG 67)
The appellant had purchased a pay-and-display ticket to cover the entire duration of their stay and stuck it to the windscreen before leaving the vehicle. The ticket subsequently dropped into the footwell and the Parking Attendant issued a PCN for failing to display a valid ticket, which the appellant appealed on the ground that they had purchased and displayed a ticket. Referring to the relevant bylaw, the Adjudicator found that the obligation to display a pay-and-display ticket was clearly a continuing one and that the contravention was thus established. She did, however, criticise the council's decision to refuse on principle when considering representations to accept the original pay-and-display ticket as evidence that parking had been paid for by the penalised driver and asked the council to reconsider exercising discretion in the appellant's favour.
The appeal was dismissed. (A recommendation was made to the council.)


No provision contravened, no contravention (EP 109)
The appellant was issued with a PCN for parking on a double yellow line, which they appealed against on the ground that [what?]. The relevant provision of the bylaw said that parking was not permitted at any time in the locations listed in schedule 1. While no copy of schedule 1 was included in the evidence bundle or provided to the Adjudicator, a copy of schedule 5 was provided, referring to a more limited restriction that applied only on Mondays between midnight and 6pm and listing the road in question. The Adjudicator ruled that, because the PCN had not been issued on a Monday, they were unable to conclude that any provision of the bylaw had been contravened.
The appeal was allowed.


A defective bylaw for parking season tickets (NN 472)
The appellant had parked in a pay-and-display car park displaying a recently expired monthly season ticket but no pay-and-display ticket. They were issued with a PCN for failing to display a valid ticket. They appealed against the PCN on the ground that they believed (wrongly) that a few days' grace was allowed to season ticket holders. The Adjudicator found the bylaw to be annotated by hand with meaningless amendments that rendered the printed bylaw unacceptable. Ignoring the annotations, she found that the bylaw made no sense in relation to season tickets, which could be applied for and displayed for a specific vehicle, although they did not specify a registration number and were issued without proof of ownership. Given that the council's administration process did not accord with its own bylaw, the Adjudicator found that the council was not entitled to enforce a contravention in relation to the issue of a season ticket.
The appeal was allowed.


A badly worded parking bylaw (HS 396)
A disabled driver who parked in an off-street pay-and-display car park displaying their Blue Badge and clock was issued with a PCN. The appellant appealed on the ground that no contravention had taken place. The council stated that the PCN had been issued not for failure to comply with the local signage, but for contravening a specific provision of the relevant bylaw. The Adjudicator therefore considered the wording of the relevant bylaw, which stated: "A vehicle left in a parking place belonging to a disabled person [our italics] which displays a disabled person's badge shall be exempt for the first three hours of any day from payment of any charge imposed by this bylaw".
The Adjudicator ruled that the grammar of the provision was unfortunate, but clearly the "parking place" could not belong to the disabled person, and therefore the phrase "belonging to a disabled person" referred back to the word "vehicle". Thus, a vehicle displaying a disabled person's badge could park in the car park for three hours without payment of the charge. If the sign in the car park suggested otherwise it was, quite simply, wrong.
The appeal was allowed.

Outdated terminology invalidates a penalty charge (AS 150)
The appellant, issued with a an "excess charge" notice for parking without displaying a valid pay-and-display ticket, appealed on the ground that this was not an "excess" charge, but a "penalty" charge. The Chief Adjudicator found that the council had failed to amend the relevant bylaw, which - long predating its decriminalised powers - preserved both "initial" and "excess" charges in its wording. She pointed out that, since the Road Traffic Act 1991 referred to "parking charge" in place of initial charge, "additional parking charge'" for the penalty charge, and "release charges" for release from immobilisation, the bylaw failed to provide for a penalty charge to be payable for breach of the obligation to pay and display.
The appeal was allowed.

(The council argued that this decision could have wide ramifications. The Chief Adjudicator said that councils could not rely on the Adjudicators to rescue them from their omissions and that any ramifications were the product not of the Adjudicator's decision but of the council's failure to update its bylaw, a deficiency previously highlighted by other Adjudicators in appeals dating back several years.)