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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71140
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Parking fines

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My wife's car was said to have been parked illegally and a parking notice slipped under the windscreen wiper about a year ago. Her name is***** der Beeck but it now appears that four letters had been sent by the local authority addressed to SD Beeck during the year to my offices where the car is registered. I cannot recall receiving any such letters and I have had four different secretaries in this year dealing with mail, which is just dumped in the hallway for everyone in the offices covering perhaps 20 or 30 different names and people collect their own from the hallway and this mail is left for a long time. "Uncollected" then it might be binned or put back in the post box so as to clear the hallway. The question is how valid is the service of these alleged letters (of which I have now been furnished copies by the LA) when the recipient's name is ***** ***** and the excuse given by the local authority is that the software in their office does not allow the length of name and so it automatically shortens it? - Thanks

Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
Is there any reason you think they may not be valid?
Are you hoping to rely on the name issue?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

photos showed that the notice was put at the bottom of the front windscreen From where it may have been removed by someone who renting that space from the out of spite for example. Neither I nor Shirley discovered any notices on the car at any time

Nor can we remember parking there (it's now a year ago and we are 80 and 76 respectively)

the primary issue is the Increased debt because of the notices that were not received by the owner because they were wrongly addressed to a non-existent person at an address which was a collective address receiving mail for up to 30 different names which the postman delivers all in one bundle and everyone in the building picks up their own mail from that bundle and because no one was called "SD Beeck", it would be left in a pile with other post for those that had left for example – probably half the mail was of that kind, and eventually binned.

my secondary issue is the location of the notice relating to any charges which from photos seems to be remote from the bays and deep in the shadows under a spiral ramp leading to a multi-storey car park and seems to relate to car parking bays under that ramp area, rather than the area where the car in question was shown to have been parked.

I'm not sure what the validity issue is? This is a local council fine which are very definitely enforceable. They wrote to the right address and you accept receiving it. I'm afraid that not opening the correspondence on the basis of a misspelling does not render it invalid. The spelling was close enough to understand that it was for her which is all the law requires.
The increase has arisen because she didn't pay at the reduced rate which has been fairly heavily considered on the case law and accepted.
The adequacy of signs is a point of challenge for appeal but I don't know whether you are out of time to do that. You don't mention which stage this has reached. Clearly you can't informally appeal now as they have issued at least the NTO.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I do not accept receiving this mail - there is no record in my incoming hand written mail log entry regarding these "missing letters." during the last year.

There are up to 14 different offices in the building, the mail is dumped in the hallway on some open shelves and people sift through to find their own mail one office even has multiple company names plus personal names and perhaps one half of all mail received is either junk or addressed to companies that have left the building up to 20 years before. Firstly, the set of initials is wrong. Secondly, more than half of the remaining name is wrong – who has the greater obligation – the local authority who put down the wrong name, even though they received the correct name from the DLVA – and who are not bothered they indicate to correct the inherent fault in their software system (even though they are aware of it) that chops names that are too long for it – or the alleged recipient who is likely to have been a newly appointed secretary who probably doesn't even know that I am married – certainly our incoming mail log does not show us receiving any one of these four alleged letters during the relevant period – I do not know whether this is a new scheme by the LA to enhance their income by "failing to send out the alleged reminders" – I have an instance of the local police alleging they had sent notices regarding a court action to one of my staff to justify getting a court order against him, and which because of the crossing over and backdating of references became clear that they had not issued and because of that alone the appeal succeeded so that one does not necessarily know whether authorities are misrepresenting the facts on the basis that no one will question them.

Certainly a piece of software that is set so as to chop up long names could be quite a good way of trebling income judging by this case of more than trebling the original amount.

I'm really sorry but if it went to the right address then it is not all that likely that it would be overturned on that basis.You could try making a statutory declaration and you might be lucky but I wouldnt guarantee it.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Clearly I am referring to 35 years of hand written mail logs on which the letters referred to do not appear – therefore they have not been received – that is where I'm coming from. The mail is received by my secretary going into the hallway and sorting out mail that is for us and leaving mail that is not, and every so often there is a clear out of surplus Mail comprising of people's mail, who have left years before, and therefore is clearly out of date, as well as junk mail.

How anyone thinks that a professional office has received these four letters on the one hand and not replied to some on the other – a fact substantiated by the secretary not recording them in the mail in their log (which records all mail except circulars or advertising), whereas other debt chasing letters are in fact recorded – I do not know.

How also, it appears that the authority had recognised the wrong name being put on the demands and did not correct it – and even now insist it is correctly named – indicates a certain " we are right type of brain" – they had three chances at least to recheck this when they got no reply before sending again and even when they have checked it now. They are still saying it's correct – you couldn't make it up only bureaucrats can do this, surely.

Surely it is the essence that firstly, it has been addressed correctly (completely correctly) and secondly that it has been delivered to the address and both of these elements are requirements in order to specify with any certainty that it has been done correctly.

In this case. Firstly, the name is ***** ***** secondly the handwritten record by the secretary shows that it was not delivered.

I take your response has been from the angle that says that if an authority does something, then it must be right – and in my experience that is so far from the truth that one only has to read the newspapers reporting otherwise every day.


I shall check the question of appropriate notices adjacent to the parked car and send a photo if possible

No, I cannot agree I'm afraid.
The name was sufficient to understand it was for you and anyway should have been opened by somebody. There is case law on what makes these things defective and it literally has to be for a completely different name. SD Beeck is a perfectly clear labelling.
To be wholly honest, I am not at all confident that a court would say it hasn't been sent properly either. You don't seem to dispute that it may have been received at your offices but just that it might not have reached the correct target which is an entirely different point.
You may be lucky with a stat dec but I couldn't guarantee it and it is not likely. If you are lucky then that is a good result.
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