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Are Parking tickets illegal?

More and more Jobsworths are being given the right to issue on the spot fines so I was interested in the following:

BWMA/Parking ticket campaign

Bill of Rights Act 1689:
"That all grants and promises of fines and forfeitures of particular persons before conviction are illegal and void".

I have pasted the whole article in below because I can't find it on the BWMA site now so have linked to the Google cache.

I almost can't wait for my next ticket....

A member of the public who received a parking fine through the post appears to have brought the collection of the fine to a halt by quoting the Bill of Rights Act 1689:

"That all grants and promises of fines and forfeitures of particular persons before conviction are illegal and void".

"Before conviction" means that no fine can be imposed until and unless the individual is convicted in a court of law. Of course, under constitutional law, the Bill of Rights Act 1689 is repealed by the Road Traffic Act 1991. This is because the Road Traffic Act provides for fining outside of a court and, under British law, it is always the later Act that takes precedence.

However, Lord Justice Laws said in the 'Metric Martyrs' judgment (sections 62 and 63):

"We should recognise a hierarchy of Acts of Parliament: as it were "ordinary" statutes and "constitutional statutes". The special status of constitutional statutes follows the special status of constitutional rights. Examples are the Magna Carta, Bill of Rights 1689, The Act of Union … Ordinary statutes may be impliedly repealed. Constitutional statutes may not…"

Thus, he ruled, the European Communities Act 1972, requiring metric, could and must repeal the Weights and Measures Act 1985 (allowing lb/oz), because the former was "constitutional" and the latter "ordinary". This point led to Steven Thoburn's conviction.

Herein lies the conflict. If the Lord Justice Laws judgment is true, every Local Authority, Government agency and police force that fines people through the post, or on the spot, is now acting illegally, since the Bill of Rights Act 1689 was specifically named by Laws as a "constitutional Act". The Road Traffic Act 1991, by contrast, is an "ordinary" Act. Unless the Road Traffic Act expressly refers to the Bill of Rights Act in its text (which it does not), it must fall by the wayside, since the Bill of Rights Act cannot be impliedly repealed.

So, if the Laws judgement is sound, and constitutional Acts like the Bill of Rights and the European Communities Act cannot be impliedly repealed, why are public authorities still collecting revenue from the public outside of the court process? Obviously, Local Authorities do so because they do not agree with Lord Justice Laws; they, like BWMA accept that the Bill of Rights Act was repealed in 1991 to the extent that it conflicts with the 1991 Act. But, if this is so, what is the legal basis for prosecuting traders using pounds and ounces?

Got a parking ticket? Fined for not paying the London Congestion Charge? Take action!

1) Write or email the fining authority, asking it to identify the Act providing for its legal authority to levy the fine.
2) Look up the Act on the internet using a search engine, for example, http://uk.altavista.com/ or http://www.google.co.uk
3) Search the text of the Act for the words "Bill of Rights" or "1689" (this is made easy by going to Edit on your tool bar, and selecting Find from the drop-down menu)
4) If there is no reference to the Bill of Rights Act 1689, print out the following:
- Extract from Bill of Rights Act 1689
- Extract from "Metric Martyrs" Judgement, February 18th, 2002
5) Copy-paste this proforma letter into a word processing file and edit it to suit your particular circumstances.
6) Send the letter and enclosures and await the response

If you never hear from your authority again, it means that it does not consider the cost of arranging a court hearing to collect your fine as viable in which case you may never pay the fine. Please note, there is nothing unlawful in this, since the proforma letter makes it quite clear you are prepared to pay the fine if the correct procedure is followed.

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BILL OF RIGHTS ACT [1689]


An Act Declaring the Rights and Liberties of the Subject and Settling the Succession of the Crown


[Extract]

And thereupon the said Lords Spiritual and Temporal and Commons, pursuant to their respective letters and elections, being now assembled in a full and free representative of this nation, taking into their most serious consideration the best means for attaining the ends aforesaid, do in the first place (as their ancestors in like case have usually done) for the vindicating and asserting their ancient rights and liberties declare:

That the pretended power of suspending the laws or the execution of laws by regal authority without consent of Parliament is illegal;
That the pretended power of dispensing with laws or the execution of laws by regal authority, as it hath been assumed and exercised of late, is illegal;
That the commission for erecting the late Court of Commissioners for Ecclesiastical Causes, and all other commissions and courts of like nature, are illegal and pernicious;
That levying money for or to the use of the Crown by pretence of prerogative, without grant of Parliament, for longer time, or in other manner than the same is or shall be granted, is illegal;
That it is the right of the subjects to petition the king, and all commitments and prosecutions for such petitioning are illegal;
That the raising or keeping a standing army within the kingdom in time of peace, unless it be with consent of Parliament, is against law;
That the subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law;
That election of members of Parliament ought to be free;
That the freedom of speech and debates or proceedings in Parliament ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parliament;
That excessive bail ought not to be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted;
That jurors ought to be duly impanelled and returned, and jurors which pass upon men in trials for high treason ought to be freeholders;
That all grants and promises of fines and forfeitures of particular persons before conviction are illegal and void;
And that for redress of all grievances, and for the amending, strengthening and preserving of the laws, Parliaments ought to be held frequently.

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"Metric Martyrs" Judgement, Divisional Court, 18 Feb 2002


[Extract]


62 Where does this leave the constitutional position which I have stated? Mr Shrimpton would say that Factortame (No 1) was wrongly decided; and since the point was not argued, there is scope, within the limits of our law of precedent, to depart from it and to hold that implied repeal may bite on the ECA as readily as upon any other statute. I think that would be a wrong turning. My reasons are these. In the present state of its maturity the common law has come to recognise that there exist rights which should properly be classified as constitutional or fundamental: see for example such cases as Simms [2000] 2 AC 115 per Lord Hoffmann at 131, Pierson v Secretary of State [1998] AC 539, Leech [1994] QB 198, Derbyshire County Council v Times Newspapers Ltd. [1993] AC 534, and Witham [1998] QB 575. And from this a further insight follows. We should recognise a hierarchy of Acts of Parliament: as it were "ordinary" statutes and "constitutional" statutes. The two categories must be distinguished on a principled basis. In my opinion a constitutional statute is one which (a) conditions the legal relationship between citizen and State in some general, overarching manner, or (b) enlarges or diminishes the scope of what we would now regard as fundamental constitutional rights. (a) and (b) are of necessity closely related: it is difficult to think of an instance of (a) that is not also an instance of (b). The special status of constitutional statutes follows the special status of constitutional rights. Examples are the Magna Carta, the Bill of Rights 1689, the Act of Union, the Reform Acts which distributed and enlarged the franchise, the HRA, the Scotland Act 1998 and the Government of Wales Act 1998. The ECA clearly belongs in this family. It incorporated the whole corpus of substantive Community rights and obligations, and gave overriding domestic effect to the judicial and administrative machinery of Community law. It may be there has never been a statute having such profound effects on so many dimensions of our daily lives. The ECA is, by force of the common law, a constitutional statute.

63 Ordinary statutes may be impliedly repealed. Constitutional statutes may not. For the repeal of a constitutional Act or the abrogation of a fundamental right to be effected by statute, the court would apply this test: is it shown that the legislature's actual – not imputed, constructive or presumed – intention was to effect the repeal or abrogation? I think the test could only be met by express words in the later statute, or by words so specific that the inference of an actual determination to effect the result contended for was irresistible. The ordinary rule of implied repeal does not satisfy this test. Accordingly, it has no application to constitutional statutes. I should add that in my judgment general words could not be supplemented, so as to effect a repeal or significant amendment to a constitutional statute, by reference to what was said in Parliament by the minister promoting the Bill pursuant to Pepper v Hart [1993] AC 593. A constitutional statute can only be repealed, or amended in a way which significantly affects its provisions touching fundamental rights or otherwise the relation between citizen and State, by unambiguous words on the face of the later statute. 64 This development of the common law regarding constitutional rights, and as I would say constitutional statutes, is highly beneficial. It gives us most of the benefits of a written constitution, in which fundamental rights are accorded special respect. But it preserves the sovereignty of the legislature and the flexibility of our uncodified constitution. It accepts the relation between legislative supremacy and fundamental rights is not fixed or brittle: rather the courts (in interpreting statutes, and now, applying the HRA) will pay more or less deference to the legislature, or other public decision-maker, according to the subject in hand. Nothing is plainer than that this benign development involves, as I have said, the recognition of the ECA as a constitutional statute.

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Proforma Letter - amend as necessary

Chief Executive [Address of Local Authority]

Dear [name],

Please find enclosed a copy of Parking Ticket [insert reference number] which I received on [date]. It was issued by [name of company issuing ticket] on behalf of [Local Authority] and is attempting to impose a 'Penalty Charge' of £XX (reduced to £XX if paid within XX days).

Upon checking the legislation, I was surprised to find that [Local Authority], or its agents, appear to be attempting to extort money from me in an unlawful manner. Please find enclosed a copy of the Bill of Rights Act 1689, enacted and formally entered into Statute following the Declaration of Rights 1689. I draw your attention to the section that I have highlighted:


"That all grants and promises of fines and forfeitures of particular persons before conviction are illegal and void".
This states that a conviction is necessary before a fine can be imposed. As stated in the 'Metric Martyrs' Judgment in the Divisional Court (18th February 2002) by Lord Justice Laws and Mr Justice Crane (I will paraphrase, but have included a copy of the judgment's relevant sections 62 and 63):


62."We should recognise a hierarchy of Acts of Parliament: as it were 'ordinary' statutes and 'constitutional statutes.' The special status of constitutional statutes follows the special status of constitutional rights. Examples are the ... Bill of Rights 1689 ... 63. Ordinary statutes may be impliedly repealed. Constitutional statutes may not…"
The Divisional Court states that the Bill of Rights is a "constitutional statue" and may not be impliedly repealed.

I also enclose a copy of the contents of the [insert contents list of relevant Act eg Road Traffic Act 1991] which, as you can see, makes no reference to repealing the Bill of Rights 1689.

Therefore, it would appear that [Local Authority] and its agents have no lawful authority to demand money for any alleged offence until or unless it has been dealt with by a Court of Law. Please accept this letter as formal notice that I require any allegations against me to be referred for trial in a proper and orderly manner, should you wish to proceed against me for the alleged offence.

Please also confirm to me in writing that you have advised the relevant officers of the Council and its agents that they are breaking the law by attempting to claim powers which are forbidden to them, and that all issuing of fines is being done only after conviction by a Court of Law.

Yours sincerely, etc

ENCLOSURES
1. Photocopy of Penalty Charge Notice
2. Copy of [contents list of relevant Act]
3. Extract of the Bill of Rights Act 1689
4. Extract of Metric Martyrs Judgment, sections 62 and 63.

Comments

Do the various acts banning firearms have "constitutional" status? If not, surely the 1689 Bill of Rights repeals them (at least, for protestants).

Has anyone done this with success?

I don't suppose they'll mind, in the least, taking you to court. There, you will be found guilty and fined ten times as much as they originally asked for.

Make their day.

Toldya! Toldya! Been trying to tellya since, oh, I dunno, 1763 or thenabouts?

North America is, and always has been, the last, best hope of Englishmen, not to mention grumpy Scotch-Irish Anglo-Celtic troublemakers like myself. Come on over, and plant your self and your family. You won't regret it.

"Come on over, and plant your self and your family"

It's a nice idea, but they won't let us in, you know, unless we're members of one of the privileged castes (Arabs, Mexicans, people like that).

All that immigration stuff. Such a bore.

According to BAILII the case reference is:
Thoburn v Sunderland City Council [2002] EWHC 195 (Admin), [2003] QB 151.

It would be better when sending out your letter to refer to the precise case details since it would be oh-so-easy for a bored council solicitor to say "There isn't such a case! It was called Thoburn v Sunderland City Council, not 'Metric Martyrs'!". If you are going to be pissing off the government, you should be accurate when doing so. ;)

Whether the reference to the Bill of Rights 1689 is applicable is probably under dispute. Under current laws of interpretation, it is probable that he was only referring to it as an example rather than a point of law, since neither the Thoburn case nor the Weights and Measures Act 1963 relied on any of the provisions in the 1689 Bill of Rights. It is probable that the mention of the Bill of Rights and other similar pieces of "constitutional" legislation fulfill only an obiter dicta role rather than forming the ratio of the decision. The Divisional Court is probably not explicitly stating that the Bill of Rights is a constitutional legislation, so I would exercise caution on that point.

Would I like parking tickets to be unconstitional? Hell yeah (and congestion charges, speeding tickets and dog fouling fines for that matter!). Would I bet on it? Nope. Not that it matters to me, since I don't own a car. But it would be jolly nice if the Bill of Rights did invalidate the Road Traffic Act 1991 and all sorts of other statist claptrap.

(Big disclaimer: I am not a lawyer - if you want legal advice, consult a solicitor since that is what they do)

If your charge has already been paid, can you get a refund?

Thanks for reprinting this from the BWMA. I found it an that website a couple of days ago and now it has been taken off. Today my daughter tells me that she has a parking fine so I was very pleased to find your website and have copied out what she must do.

It is my experiance that Transport for London will flatly deny that you have appealed against tickets unless your appeal is sent in a 'signed for' way ie registered / recorded. I appealed against one issued when genuinely unloading from a loading/unloading parking bay last year. They ignored the appeal, issued the second stage, ignored my letter of response, and issued proceedings in Nottingham (or was it Northampton)for some reason. When I called their "helpdesk" they refused to accept I had ever written. I involved my MP (the late Eric Forth)who bashed them about the head and strangly I never heard another murmour from them. Recently I got another ticket whilst unloading parcels at the Post Office again in the loading parking bay outside. This time I sent my appeal recorded with copies of the dated / timed receipts from the PO and never heard anything from them at all!

AWEM

does it apply to railway fines?

does it apply to railway fines?

i have just been issued with a bailiff for a contested unpaid parking fine.

so far they have threatened they will clamp me and or break into my home to take goods to the effect of the so called outstanding debt?


i do feel that even if i did feel i owed the money their tactics are threatening and illegal.

i have not been to court regarding this matter and therefore why are they saying i owe this money. can is still site the bill of rights regarding this matter and say i will pay up when a court of law says i have to?

i did ask advice of another website and they said the bill of rights was sucessfully contested a couple of years ago and cannot be used in conjuction with parking fines?

can you help?

i would appreciate a quick response as you can see the urgency in this matter?

I got a parking ticket after I parked in a disabled spot whilst out for a meal and it’s not something I would normally do but on this occasion the car park was full and it was getting late and none of the six disabled spaces had been used so common sense kicked in and I enjoyed the meal only to return to find I had a parking ticket from OPC.

OPCServices Parking consultancy (Pirates) have the registered address of The Studio, St Nicholas Close, Elstree, Hertfordshire WD6 3EW so any correspondents with them should be addressed to that address and not the postal address PO Box 956, St Albans AL1 9HJ and it’s worth using registered post so that OPService Parking can not claim to have not received any disputes to parking fines or better still send them a copy of your dispute to enquiries@observices.co.uk. The company registration number is 3182298 but I have been unable to find the address of the company directors (Please let me have them if you can get them). OPC sales department can also be contacted on Tel 0845 130 4230 Fax 0845 130 5430

Please note that a private parking ticket is issued under a breach of contract and it is the driver who is libel for any breach of contract and not the registered keeper of the car and the keeper is under no obligation to disclose who the driver was at the time of the alleged breach of contract so it’s a good job my other half owns the car.

I advise anyone that receives a private parking ticket to cut out the monkey and go after the organ grinder who allow these unscrupulous thugs to operate on their premises and point out to these corporations that we as consumers refuse to be treated like cattle and milked.

In my case the owner of the car park turned out to be the Norwich Union so remember that the next time your insurance comes up for renewal and boycott the Norwich Union.

Due to the actions of these thugs the Harvesters Restaurant at the Roaring Meg retail park in Stevenage have been deprived of future income from me and I am in the process of contacting any other company that use the service of OPCServices to avoid them as they are turning customers away and I will also be naming and shaming so if you have any names then please pass them on to me at Avenger0-0-7@Mail.com (take out the dashes)

It’s your public duty to stand up to these thugs as running away will only make maters worse in the long term and being a coward and letting others do the work is not very public spirited.

Why dont some one who has acually tried this and won? Which case was it when the bill of rights ast was contested? any info on that cheers

I fought on this basis (Bill of Rights, Metric Martyrs) against both Camden Council and Westminster City Council. Camden rolled over straight away. Westminster went back to Northampton County Court three times (where all parking "fines" are dealt with) and I had to then challenge NCC's right to have jurisdiction over a case in which no evidence had been presented to, or against me other than a ticket produced by an unknown council employee - with my having no recourse to defend their claim as the councils make it virtually impossible to challenge, even though they are bound to allow you to as you are still (just) innocent until PROVEN guilty. I stated that any ruling they made against me on this basis would be unlawful. I also informed NCC that they were aiding and abetting the extraction of money with menaces if they chose to pursue me, knowing that Westminster had failed to produce any evidence to, or against me, and therefore as no case had either been put before them according to the requirements of civil law, let alone proven, I had no case to answer to them or any other court. They finally ordered Westminster to cancel the ticket. It does work, but you need the balls to see it through.

I fought on this basis (Bill of Rights, Metric Martyrs) against both Camden Council and Westminster City Council. Camden rolled over straight away. Westminster went back to Northampton County Court three times (where all parking "fines" are dealt with) and I had to then challenge NCC's right to have jurisdiction over a case in which no evidence had been presented to, or against me other than a ticket produced by an unknown council employee - with my having no recourse to defend their claim as the councils make it virtually impossible to challenge, even though they are bound to allow you to as you are still (just) innocent until PROVEN guilty. I stated that any ruling they made against me on this basis would be unlawful. I also informed NCC that they were aiding and abetting the extraction of money with menaces if they chose to pursue me, knowing that Westminster had failed to produce any evidence to, or against me, and therefore as no case had either been put before them according to the requirements of civil law, let alone proven, I had no case to answer to them or any other court. They finally ordered Westminster to cancel the ticket. It does work, but you need the balls to see it through.

Im going to try this soon, so look back anyone here to see what happens, i will include as much infomation as i can :)

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