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LGO Report. LB of Redbridge. Enforcement of PCN and where notices had gone to previous address !!!


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Yesterday the Local Government Ombudsman issued a public report against London Borough of Redbridge in relation to a complaint.

 

A link to the full report can be found at the bottom of this post.

 

 

 

The basis of the complaint is that in May 2011 the complainant received a pcn after the Council’s CCTV saw her committing an offence. She moved home the day after the contravention. LB of Redbridge applied to DVLA a few days later and naturally DVLA provided her previous address. As a result, she did not receive any of the notices. A warrant of execution was authorised and passed to their bailiff provider; Newlyn Plc to enforce. Her car was located by way of the bailiffs ANPR equipped vehicle and clamped. To avoid the removal of her car she was forced to pay £741.

 

The warrant issued to the bailiffs had the previous address for Miss X but, before the first visit Newlyn’s records showed that they carried out a DVLA search on the vehicle. This search would have revealed the new address for Miss X.

 

It would seem that the bailiff knew that a new address had been provided by DVLA and in fact, the hand written receipt the bailiff gave to her had the first part of her previous address and this was crossed off by the bailiff and replaced with her current address.

 

The Ombudsman refers in her report to Civil Procedure Rule 75.7(7) which outlines the procedure that must be followed if a bailiff identifies a new address....which is.... that if a local authority wishes to continue to enforce the warrant it must apply to the Traffic Enforcement Centre to have the warrant reissued to the new address.

 

(Note:CPR 75.7(7) is very specific on this point in that a warrant may only be reissued in the very rare cases where the address changed after the date that the warrant had been issued).

 

Miss X then filed an Out of Time witness statement which LB of Redbridge so fit to reject!! She applied to have the decision “reviewed” and had to pay a fee £80 to file an N244. The District Judge overruled the decision of LB of Redbridge and cancelled the warrant and revoked the Order for Recovery. LB of Redbridge repaid £172 to Miss X which represented the amount of the PCN.Miss X approached Redbridge to refund the bailiffs fees. They refused and stated that they had no legal duty to do so and they quoted legislation that had been repealed under Schedule 12 of the TMA 2004 (full details are in paragraphs 21-23 of the report).

 

The Ombudsman stated that:

 

· “Once discovering that the address on the warrant was different to the complainant’s current one, the bailiffs should have released the vehicle without charge and returned the warrant to the council for further action”

 

In addition,the Ombudsman decided that the council was dismissive of the complaint and they initially insisted the complainant was at fault for not notifying the DVLA of her new address when they had in fact done so, and it quoted outdated legislation as justification for refusing to refund the bailiffcharges.

 

The Ombudsman also refers in her report to sections 10.68 and 10.69 of the Department for Transport’s Operational Guidance to Local Authorities under theTraffic Management Act 2004.

 

On the procedure that should be followed if the address on the warrant is different from the defaulters current address the Ombudsman stated that the bailiff should:

 

· “Stop action, unclamp the car, not charge any costs and return the warrant to the Council”

 

and that:

 

· “Failure to do so in this complaint was “administrative fault” which “led to injustice”

 

When the complaint was being investigated by the Ombudsman, LB of Redbridge responded to the enquiries to effectively lay blame on Miss X and stated that:

 

· “It is the responsibility of the motorist to ensure that address details held by the DVLA are correct at all times.”

 

And that:

 

· “In this instance the fees were incurred as a result of what can best be described as an oversight by Ms Young in failing to advise the DVLA of her change of address.”

 

LB of Redbridge failed to provide any evidence to support this “oversight” but shockingly, even after the Ombudsman suggested that Redbridge should settle the complaint, they continued to blame Miss X by suggesting that she was to blame as she should have arranged for her post to be redirected !!

 

From the evidence provided to the Ombudsman it was clear that Miss X had indeed advised DVLA of her change of address almost immediately.

 

Astonishingly, Redbridge also stated to the Ombudsman the following:

 

· “Whilst we appreciate that [the bailiffs] acted as our agents in this matter we cannot be held responsible for their oversight in failing to advise us of the change of address when they became aware of it.”

 

The Ombudsman disagreed and stated in her report:

 

"When Ms Young complained to the Council about what had happened it should have recognised the fault, apologised, instructed the bailiffs to refund the fees and costs, and ensured that they acted correctly in future.

 

The Ombudsman’s conclusion was Maladministration and Injustice.

 

 

 

 

http://www.lgo.org.uk/news/2013/mar/redbridge-council-asked-review-bailiff-procedures/

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I very useful report that has applicability in relevant cases.

PATAS and Local Authorities will have difficulty ignoring it with any 'reasoned arguments' without revealing bias.

Thank you for posting this tt. The report is worth detailed attention in my view. For example this part;- ""When a bailiff acts on a liability order issued by a Magistrates Court or on a Warrant of Execution issued by the Traffic Enforcement Centre then they are acting as officers of the local authority, not the court, and so they are also in LGO jurisdiction"

both carries on what our cousins across the pond call "the color of law" and reveals the truth.

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This LGO report is of vital importance as it addresses the procedure that MUST be followed where the address of the vehicle keeper has changed.

 

It also clarifies the position that if a bailiff does visit an incorrect address then the vehicle owner should not be held responsible for any charges.

 

The report also confirms that the local authority should pay the fee of £80 for the N244 application to "review".

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This LGO report concerns London Borough of Redbridge and their bailiff provider Newlyn Plc.

 

Almost 2 years ago Redbridge and in particular; Newlyn Plc were made aware of the procedures that MUST be taken if a new address is identified by a bailiff.

 

In February 2011 a new "working party" was set up consisting of members from the following:

 

The Ministry of Justice

 

London Councils

 

The British Parking Association

 

The Traffic Enforcement Centre

 

Bailiff and Local Authorities Working Group

 

In March 2011 the "working party" issued a notice to all local authorities and bailiff companies regarding changes that had been made to the wording on the "warrant of execution" and the procedures that MUST be followed if a bailiff identifies a new address for the vehicle keeper. You will also see from this document that it "warns" the bailiff companies and local authorities that failure to adhere to CPR 75.7 (7) could invalidate the warrant and potentially expose the Ministry of Justice to JUDICIAL REVIEW. You will also see from reading the document that the words MUST has been highlighted TWICE by the authors of the document.

 

Let me stress that this document is NOT confidential and is readily available from the internet.

 

This new LGO Report concerns London Borough of Redbridge and their bailiff provider Newlyn Plc. It is clear from this report that Newlyn completely ignored the document that can be read by opening the link below. This point is very significant indeed because, when this document was distributed, Mrs Cheryl Vickers was a Director of both Newlyn Plc and............The British Parking Association !!!!!

 

http://www.britishparking.co.uk/write/Documents/Library/Execution%20of%20Warrant%20Information%20Note%20f%20doc.pdf

Edited by tomtubby
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