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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71159
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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As the photographs show I entered a bus lane in Mildmay Park,

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As the photographs show I entered a bus lane in Mildmay Park, London N1 to give myself enough turning circle to make a u-turn (rather than a 3 point turn). As far as I know either manouver is legal in that place.) I have been issued a penalty charge notice as though I was travelling in that bus lane. I contested it and Islington Council replied that while they understand I entered the bus lane to give myself more room to make the turn, this is not permitted as I crossed the solid white line and travelled some distance along the bus lane in making the turn, therefore the pcn was issued correctly. Can I request your comment on this? Many thanks... ivan Brownrigg
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
What would you like to know about this please?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

What I want to know about this is obviously included in my original submission...

Your original submission does not contain a question.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jo... I thought the question was obvious, but obviously not, sorry. I'm asking if the fact I was in the bus lane in order to make a U-turn rather than using the bus lane to traveling down the road, constituted statutory grounds for a successful challenge the pcn in court?

No, it is not I'm afraid. You only have to enter the bus lane for any reason to commit the offence. The purpose for entering is a non issue unless, of course, you have to cut across to perform a legitimate turn off into a smaller road.
You can always challenge any parking offence on the basis that the breach was only de minimis - only of a very minor kind - but whether it would succeed or not is another matter. Sometimes you do win these things essentially because local councils do not prepare properly and so have to throw their hand in but obviously thats a risk.
On your primary point though, there is no defence in saying that you entered to perform a U turn unless you can argue that de minimis applies.
Sorry if thats bad news.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jo... if as you say, which concurs with the response to my original communication with the Parking Services who issued the pcn, that 'You only have to enter the bus lane for any reason to commit the offence' then why is there an appeals process?

Its like saying you can appeal the decision however there are no circumstances under which we would review the decision!!! Rough justice n'est pas?

PS in your experience what would you say the chances are of me successfully arguing in court that de minimis applies in this case? I know you clearly can't guarantee any particular outcome, but assuming the local council had prepared properly so the magistrates just had to make a decision on the merits of the case, do you think they might agree that it is de minimis?

And if they don't, and the pcn is upheld, would I risk any increased fine or court costs by appealing the decision in court?

Because if there were not then it would offend against the Magna Carta.
Also, there are defences - eg you have cut across to perform a left turn.
If you lose after tribunal then they do increase the PCN but you don't face costs.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi Jo... many thanks for your responses & I think you've covered the ground pretty well - last question... you mentioned they increase the pcn in the event of a lost tribunal - does this mean I lose the current option of paying the discounted amount of $65, (available until 25th July) and it reverts back to full rate of £130, or could they increase it even further? Many thanks... ivan

Yes, you would.
If you have only just appealed to the issuer within 14 days then they will give you a further 14 days to pay at the discounted rate.
Thereafter it racks up to £130 and after adjudication it goes up to roughly £185.
They will write to you warning you of costs but that is nothing to worry about. It won't happen and even if it does it will be about £5.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Many thanks - you've provided enough information for me to make a regrettable decision! Just out of interest, do you know what the thinking is behind increasing the penalty by some 40% if the magistrates don't happen to adjudicate in my favour?

I can understand some court costs being incurred (although you mention this is unlikely or minimal) but to make the punishment more severe just for having the temerity to question the issue seems designed simply to deter people from attempting to obtain some justice.

Its not a new scenario - justice sacrificed on the alter of myopic adherence to the letter of the law - how do you guys reconcile such sad outcomes?

Its in line with the general practice of credit for a guilty plea
Actually I have always thought it was odd too. It would make more sense if they charged costs. I can completely see the need for a consequence for appealing and losing otherwise you just encourage spurious appeals but the more logical one would be costs.
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