James Daley: It pays to appeal against unfair fines
Saturday 20 December 2008
I've developed something of an appetite for the courtroom in recent months – lining up dates in the small claims court, the parking appeals tribunal and the magistrates' court all within a few weeks of each other. I should say that in the case of the latter two, my dates are merely appeals against parking and traffic fines that I have received. But while there was a day when I might have simply paid up – saving myself the time and trouble of an appeal – a recession helps to remind you how precious every pound is.
And so far, I have no regrets. In fact, each of the processes have been very instructive.
The first case relates to a parking fine I received in July. I won't bore you with the details, but in short, I'd been misled by my local authority about which permit I needed to park outside my flat. Given that I'd tried to do everything I could to get the right permit, there was no way I was going to pay the £50 ticket that I received for having the wrong one.
The parking appeals process is, alas, terribly unfair. Although you are allowed to make an initial appeal without penalty, you're then told that you'll have to pay double the fine if you take your appeal further and you're unsuccessful. In my local borough, there are at least two more appeal stages to go through before you receive a "final notice", and it is only at this stage that you have the option to take the appeal on to an independent tribunal. In my case, it had been four months since the original ticket had been issued by the time I reached this stage.
The tribunal, however, is much more efficient – and a date for my hearing arrived within a few days. By this stage, I was quite excited about the prospect of a showdown with some parking official in front of an independent judge. Unfortunately, however, a few days later, I received a letter from my local authority saying that they wouldn't be attending my hearing. Therefore, I won by default. In total, it took five months to resolve the dispute. But it was worth it just to discover that the council doesn't bother to defend itself once you take the matter all the way to a independent tribunal.
My small claims court experience has been equally instructive. These days, you can do it all online – at www.moneyclaim.gov.uk – and the process is simple.
I'm owed some money for a freelance article I wrote over a year ago, and after multiple emails and phone calls failed to prompt a payment, I decided to issue an official claim. This got their attention, and although proceedings have not been seen through to their conclusion yet, I'm hopeful of getting some or all of my money eventually.
The third of my forthcoming court dates is an appeal against a fine for cycling on the pavement. I've found some interesting legal guidance which would suggest that these fines weren't designed to be used on someone who is driven up on to the pavement by bad drivers (as I was). I'm hoping that my experience here is as successful as it has been in my other crusades.
Traffic fines and parking penalties are all too often issued incorrectly. My advice is to appeal them every time.
Five Questions On: Pensions advice
Problem gambling: Amid heavy advertising and a surge in remote sports betting, more and more 16 to 24-year-olds are now seen as 'at risk'
Simon Read: Retirement advice is good - if it's impartial
The HiFX guide to managing corporate foreign exchange and international payments
Bank-beating exchange rates on your international payments
- 1 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 2 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 3 Satellite full of sexually experimental geckos adrift in space, Russia loses control of mission
- 4 Exclusive: Cameron’s Big Society in tatters as charity watchdog launches investigation into claims of Government funding misuse
- 5 Israel has discovered that it's no longer so easy to get away with murder in the age of social media
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
John Barrowman praised for Commonwealth Games opening ceremony gay kiss
iJobs Money & Business
£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: SThree, International Recruitme...
£280 - £300 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Test Analyst, Edinburgh, Credit Ris...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...
Day In a Page
A three-bedroom 16th-century home with an aga kitchen, private gardens and heated outdoor pool, in Hadleigh
A three-bedrom home in sought-after Queen's Gate Mews, with Italian marble-finished bathrooms
Surrounded by glorious countryside in the village of Udimore, sits this impressive four-kiln oast and barn conversion
A five-bedroom house in the picturesque village of Kettlewell, north Yorkshire
An 18th-century former coaching inn with original staircase, open fireplaces and beams throughout
A Grade II-listed Georgian town house with three bedrooms and a south-facing courtyard, near Arundel Castle
Feel on top of the world at this über chic penthouse on the 37th floor of one of Europe’s tallest blocks.
A Grade II-listed Victorian villa with six bedrooms and two further cottages, all with spectacular sea views
A grade II-listed, Georgian cottage with mature 50ft garden, perfect for summer entertaining
A magnificent Georgian pile with turrets, seven bedrooms, a heated pool and four acres of gardens
Fairoak Farm has five bedroom suites, gym, outdoor swimming pool and golf course
Chic two-bedroom river-fronted flat with a private lift that delivers you directly to your home
A spectacular seven-bedroom Tudor pile, once owned by Henry VIII, with 18 acres of land
A seven-bedroom Georgian property previously used as a picturesque wedding venue
A split-level flat in a church conversion with two en suite bedrooms and 1,200sq ft of living space
A three-bedroom bungalow situated behind an impressive stone wall, £645,000
Windsor Castle overlooks this three-bedroom Victorian cottage located on one of Windsor's smartest roads
Chapel House is a former vicarage with nine bedrooms in the beautiful Upper Wye Valley
A five-bedroom B&B and separate owner's accomodation with potential for conversion
Enjoy summer by the Thames in this two double-bedroom converted warehouse in Rotherhithe village
A one-bedroom, luxury apartment with private gym and concierge service in Moorgate
A four-bedroom house in Hermitage Gardens with three reception rooms and landscaped gardens
A seven-bedroom Grade II-listed property with a separate self-contained apartment
A five-bedroom Victorian house with three reception rooms and galleried landing, £695,000
A six-bedroom farmhouse with five acres of land in a former cloth-making village
A secluded seven-bedroom detached house with large private garden, £490,000
A three-bedroom cottage overlooking Sarratt village green with open fires and solid oak floors
A three-bedroom maisonette flat in a Grade I-listed, Georgian townhouse in a sought-after location
A one-bedroom apartment located within a private gated development, north of Turnham Green
Look forward to a brighter future at two-bedroom Sunny Cottages, ideal for Londoners looking to downsize
A three-bedroom red-brick cottage with outbuildings and pretty gardens, £200,000
This three-bedroom flat within a former textile factory spans the corner of the fourth floor and has a balcony
A charming four-bedroom Oxfordshire cottage with oak floors and chunky-beamed ceilings, £465,000
A beautiful one-bed flat in a sought-after portered block, with access to Norland Square communal gardens
A one-bedroom flat within a Sixties school conversion with high-spec design and open-plan kitchen, close to Lambeth North Tube, £435,000
A 17th century four-bedroom house, with open fireplaces, cellar and pool, £600,000
A three-bedroom, coach house with luxury open-plan living space and contemporary breakfast bar