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Urgent advice required - Bailiff letter delivered today (Parking ticket)


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Well, I've emailed the form to the TEC and I'll call them tomorrow about the fee. I tried to speak to somebody at Hull City Council today but I was told that the Traffic Department don't take calls from the public! (I wonder why? :)) I was on hold and going back and forth for about 20 minutes, but I *did* manage to score an email address so in future you can guess how I'm going to communicate with them! I've also copied them into the email to the TEC so they'll know first thing tomorrow that the application has been made and call off the dogs - I mean bailiffs!

 

Thank you Jamberson for following me over from the Local Authority Parking forum and continuing to help me here. It's most appreciated.

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No problem. I just wish I knew a bit more about the N244 process. I'm surprised none of the regulars on here have jumped in!

 

Re: Hull City Council - the Traffic department might be the wrong department. I used to work for a local authority and there was a traffic dept who dealt with road layouts, street signs and so on - they weren't customer-facing. Do they have a separate department called Parking, I wonder?

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  • 2 months later...

OK, I have an update. I've been given a Court Date of 17 February and yesterday received Hull City Council's representations. It came in a hand-written envelope addressed to Mrs P C*** - I'm Mrs L C*** but as the only Mrs in the house I opened it anyway.

 

The covering letter is also addressed to Mrs P C***. OK, so the P is near the L on a computer keyboard, perhaps it's a simple mis-type on the letter. I started scanning through the document and found at paragraph 6 on page 3:

 

"... a NTO (BW1 pages 1 - 5) was sent to Mrs Patricia C***, 136..."

 

Mrs Patricia C*** is my mother-in-law. She has never lived at 136 with us and I have never lived with my in-laws at their address on the other side of the city. In addition, neither my mother-in-law nor father-in-law have ever owned a car or even hold a driving licence. Why would Hull City Council be trawling through my family members to have this information? The NTO attached at 'BW1 pages 1 - 5' is correctly addressed to me.

 

Then at paragraph 8:

"...in keeping with good practice, a letter sent to Mrs Hannam at the address above..."

 

I have no idea who Mrs Hannam is - most likely the unfortunate individual whose Court papers have been recycled to prepare my documents!

 

There are also inconsistencies in the records paraphrasing the telephone conversations I had with Call Centre staff :

 

  • The record states that during my first call I claimed the ticket was paid and I was advised to provide proof - what I actually said is that I had believed it paid until the reciept of the first letter, when I checked my bank statement and found the payment hadn't been processed. This is also the content of my first letter to them.
  • For my last call, they have recorded that I said it had been agreed that I only had to pay £35 and was advised that I was "wrong" - I called and advised that I had received a Court Order and read out the content of that Order to the operator. I was advised that they had the rejection of my Out of Time Statement on file and that I should contact the TEC to clarify the issue.

At paragraph 16, in reference to the three letters they didn't receive it states that "I regard the odds of this as so incredible as to leave me with no other alternative but to consider that these items were never received in this office and indeed never posted". So basically I am a liar!

 

They note at paragraph 17 the inconsistency between the content of my first letter and the content of the telephone call - this is purely the fault of the Call Centre operator's recording of our conversation as I have never claimed the payment completed as I accept that it never appeared on my bank statement.

 

Will I have a chance to address all of these errors in Court, or do I need to go through the statement and write a point by point representation before the hearing?

 

The fact that they find it unlikely that my three letters were ever posted suggests they're blaming the Royal Mail - judging by the sloppy way they've thrown this statement together and the way their Call Centre staff mis-represent the conversations they have had with clients, I would suggest it's a failure of their administration rather that the postman!

 

I'm a little apprehensive about the Court hearing, so any advice would be gratefully received.

 

Thanks.

 

Lynette

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Sorry to bump this post again, but l could really use some advice:-

 

Do I need to respond to the Council's statement in writing or will l get a chance to raise the above issues at the hearing?

 

What normally happens at these hearings?

 

l am awaiting some paperwork from a lady l order clothes from online as a parcel went missing before Christmas, which l hope to use as evidence that my post does go astray from time to time. Will l get the chance to present it at the hearing, or should l submit it in advance?

 

Thanks.

 

Lynette

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If nobody in the Bailiff's forum can help, would it be possible for my thread to be moved back to the Local Authority Parking and Traffic Offences forum where somebody may be able to advise me?

 

Thanks.

 

Lynette

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Thread moved to LA Parking & Traffic Offences.

 

Regards

 

Andy

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Thank you Andy. Fingers crossed somebody can offer me some advice before Monday.

 

As a bit of an update to this saga,

 

tonight I contacted the lady I order clothes from online

to see if she had received any paperwork from the Royal Mail

in respect of my missing parcel from November/December.

 

Apparently, they sent me a letter to sign to say that I hadn't received the item - two weeks ago!

 

I've asked her to write a letter to this effect that I can take to Court on Monday

to present as further evidence of post not reaching my address.

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Hi. Only me again! I'm surprised no-one else has been able to help.

 

you asked for the hearing to take place,

and the council have a copy of the forms you sent.

 

They responded with their affidavit, which you have a copy of. You don't need to write anything else.

 

All you need to do is turn up and argue your case.

 

I can understand why you might be nervous, but it really is a fairly informal process, and you are not on trial.

 

You will sit in a room in front of a court officer, probably around a table or behind a desk, along with a council member.

 

The officer will read through your papers and ask both sides whatever questions he/she needs to, to get to the bottom of what happened.

 

The council has hampered its own case.

 

I think you should openly criticize the council for the incompetent way they handle their affairs.

 

When you get the chance, read out to him the bit about "Patricia xxx" and ask who she is (don't tell them).

 

Read out the bit about Mrs Hannam and ask who she is, and what it has to do with you.

 

Tell the court officer that the council clearly isn't organised enough to even know whose case they are dealing with in their own paperwork.

That being so, what confidence can the court have in the accuracy of their affidavit?

 

That and the rest of your story should give you a good chance of winning.

 

The court officers tend to be sympathetic to the applicant anyway,

and get fed up with councils taking up the court's time on what they see as trivial bureaucratic processes.

 

The officer dealing with the case will be a car driver too, and realises that it's the "little guy" against the system.

 

He will be more on your side than theirs.

 

I'm sure you will be fine, and hopefully get to enjoy him dismissing the council's case.

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Thanks again Jamberson. The way you've described it doesn't sound as scary as "going to Court"! It's ridiculous that it's come this far - I'm not contesting the ticket, just the additional charges, although they *did* send some lovely, high quality printed photos of my car in the disabled bay to prove it was there! Nice to know where my Council Tax goes! :wink:)

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I've just come out of Court where my case was listed in front of a Deputy District Judge! Hull City Council never showed up.

 

The Judge said that today's hearing was only to consider whether or not I should be permitted to rely on an Out Of Time Statement, not the PCN itself.

 

He has granted permission and given me 14 days to file as I'm going to be away for a week as it's half term. He also Ordered Hull City Council to pay the cost of the hearing - £80. He said it should make it "interesting"!

 

So I assume now that I have to consolidate my original TE7/9 application with my N244 statement and all of the incorrect information from the Council's response and send it (registered, signature required!) to the Court, Hull City Council and the TEC?

 

As always, advice gratefully received. :)

 

Thanks.

 

Lynette

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Congratulations on winning, and congratulations on getting them to pay costs. They really ought to see how stupid they have been - and wasting tax payers' money too, although I doubt they will ever acknowledge this.

 

So what happens now? I'm not 100 percent sure but the court should provide the Council with its decision in writing. The Council then has to permanently withdraw the bailiff warrant and cancel all the bailiff fees. They also have to accept your TE7/9 which they originally refused to do, and re-issue you with a Notice to Owner for the original PCN (which as the judge says, remains live).

 

As I said, I am not completely clear on what needs to be done by you, if anything. I think you just wait for the Notice to Owner to arrive, but it might be worth speaking to the Council and asking them to confirm that the bailiff warrant has been withdrawn, and asking what they intend to do next, and what they need from you. If the judge said you need to re-file the TE7/9, I think he is wrong - but you will need to check this out.

 

When you eventually get the Notice to Owner, you are back in the appeals process and can appeal it. You can either argue the case as it happened on the day, or you can enter an appeal on the basis that so much time has elapsed since the contravention that it is not possible for you to defend the case, and on that basis, it should be cancelled. This line does work, and adjudication hearings have ruled it a valid line of appeal. Up to you - but well done for coming this far.

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Hi.

 

An update: I asked one of the forum's resident experts for advice on what should happen next, and the upshot is that your judge is himself confused. What he told you was wrong.

 

What happens now is that you don't do anything. He should send a copy of his ruling to TEC, who are thereby instructed to accept your original TE7/9. When that happens, they notify the Council, who do what I described in my last post - call off bailiffs, cancel the fees and issue you with an NTO.

 

You should also get a letter back from the Court yesterday - when you do, are you able to scan it and post it on here, so we can see exactly what they are saying to you? (If so, make sure you hide your name and address and any PCN number or car registration number.) It would be interesting to know what information they are giving out, if the judge himself is wrong about the process.

 

Anyway, don't worry - you won the case and that will hold, whatever. You will have the original PCN to deal with, but one step at a time...

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Thanks for following up for me, Jamberson. The Judge was consulting a book throughout the 'hearing'. He read out what he had written on the Order and he definitely gave me 14 days to file a Statement. He was going to say 7 days, but I asked if I would be able to file by email as l am on holiday in Edinburgh now (l drove up yesterday) and he said I'd need to print it out and send it to the Council and the Court. l asked if I should also send it to the TEC but he didn't know and made a comment about me being an expert by the end of the proceedings!

 

l'll be home on Sunday night and will scan and upload whatever I've received from the Court as soon as l can. Out of curiosity, what do I do if it turns out that the Judge has made an incorrect Order?

 

Thanks again for all your help.

 

Lynette

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If there is a procedural problem, speak to TEC - but you should expect his decision in writing. He doesn't sound like he knew what he was doing, but his decision is final.

 

The point of the hearing was to contest the council's decision to reject your TE7/9. As you won the hearing, that means the council have to accept it, which is what you wanted. So, it's a done deal. You shouldn't have to file anything else.

 

I'll keep an eye out for your scans. Send me a PM if I miss it and I'll get a notification that it's here.

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It does more than just handle mail. It acts like a court but uses computers to deal with bulk numbers of routine cases - rather than holding conventional hearings before a judge. Mail is a small part of its work - most of it is electronic.

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Hi! I hadn't forgotten about you, I've just been waiting for Hull County Court to send me my Order. I called them today and they advised that it had only been typed up this afternoon so I requested that they email it to me here at work, otherwise I'd still be waiting for a copy via the Royal Mail ten days after the hearing.

 

In case I haven't uploaded the attachment correctly, the Order reads:

1. Permission is granted to the Defendant LynetteC to file a statutory declaration/witness statement out of time, such document to be filed within 14 days.

 

2. The Claimant Kingston upon Hull City Council pay the Defendant's costs limited to the Court fee of £80.

 

Dated 17 February 2014.

It doesn't stipulate when the 14 days should start from, given that the Order was made on 17th but not actually typed up until 27th.

 

I've tried to call Northampton TEC, but was on hold for 10 minutes and had only moved four places up the queue to number 5 so I had to give up.

 

Where do I stand? I've already filed one Out of Time statement - can I just email the same documents to Hull County Court, Northampton TEC and the person at Hull City Council who responded to my last email (and was also the person in whose name their statement was filed)?

 

Hopefully once this is sorted it will be the end of this whole sorry saga, given that I'm not actually contesting the original ticket! :!:

 

Thanks. :)

 

Lynette

 

[ATTACH=CONFIG]49481[/ATTACH]

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Hi.

 

I have spoken to someone else on the forum, a very knowledgeable person called TomTubby. She advised that you would not need to do anything further from here, which is also what I thought. She kindly sent me a copy of the TEC User Guide, issued by Northampton County Court, which outlines the process. It states clearly:

 

8.6 Where the District Judge upholds the decision of the Court Officer to accept the respondent’s application to file a statutory declaration / witness statement ‘out of time’ or overrules the decision of the Court Officer to refuse the application, the TEC will process the original application as if it were received within time. The respondent is not required to submit new forms.

 

So it is clear. What will happen is that the court will post you and TEC a paper copy of the document you got today, and TEC will then instruct the council to accept your witness statement. You will get a letter acknowledging this from the council, followed by a Notice to Owner (NTO) and a cheque for your £80. You've won, basically.

 

In terms of the original PCN, I note your willingness to pay it once the rest of the case is processed - but you don't have to. You have an absolute right to appeal it, and it is almost a year old, I think? You should certainly try an appeal - it costs nothing and might get you the PCN cancelled.

 

Have a think about it. There's nothing to do meantime, until the NTO arrives. Keep us posted!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi again. Thanks so far for all of your help, Jamberson and TomTubby. I think I'm finally coming to the 'end of the road' with this, if you'll excuse the pun!

 

I received the NtO yesterday which has set the cost of the ticket back to £70, not the initial £35. My cheque for costs is to follow. I did receive an apology for there being no representative at Court - apparently there was a major computer system malfunction at Hull City Council that day!

 

l know you say I can contest the ticket as it's almost a year old (9 April), but I really just want this over with. I accept that l parked in a Disabled bay (albeit not intentionally), and want to pay, but we're back to the initial situation where I feel l shouldn't be responsible for the additional costs due to a system failure at their end. However, if this is correct and the NtO should be for the non-reduced fee, I think I'm going to have to just pay it rather than drag this out for more months.

 

Any last thoughts/advice?

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It's up to you, but you could send them a letter explaining the initial issue - that you were perfectly willing to pay £35, but the system somehow failed. If you ask them, it's not impossible that they will reinstate the discount for you, which is £35 saved for you, just for asking.

 

If you try it, and they say no, you have to pay the £70, then you can do so at that point. You don't need to fight it beyond that if you don't feel like it.

 

Or, you could just try an appeal based on the timescales, asking for a full cancellation. Again, if they say no, then you have the option of paying, to end the matter, at that point. It wouldn't hurt to ask - it will only cost you a stamp.

 

Well done for coming this far and standing your ground. It just shows you can get a result if you know how the system works. I don't swallow their computer malfunction story by the way - more likely they were just too disorganised to put a case together for the hearing. Either way, it's cost them for their failure.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm now considering contesting the entire PCN as I was going to use the cheque for my costs to pay the ticket, but it still hasn't arrived! It seems that Hull City Council want to drag this out as much as they can.

 

If I were to contest the ticket due to the length of time this has been ongoing, is there a specific paragraph of the law I should quote?

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Hello again.

 

Councils may not have definite deadlines for this type of payment, but I know that when it comes to other sorts of refunds, they have 28 days as a guideline. Assuming this is the same, then you ought to allow them that much time, which is not too unreasonable considering they have to raise forms, get them signed by senior people, get the instruction to the finance people and so on. It can take a little while.

 

As far as contesting it goes, I don't know of any paragraphs you could use, and also it isn't a legal matter as such - more a question of how adjudicators in the past have interpreted these situations. I would suggest something like this - but it's up to you of course, what you want to say:

 

Dear xxx

PCN number xxx

Vehicle registration number xxx

 

I am writing to make formal representations against the Notice to Owner issued to me on xxx.

 

This NTO pertains to a PCN issued as far back as xxx. I would very much like to contest this PCN, but feel that I am unable to do so, since such a lengthy time has elapsed since it was issued and inevitably I no longer have a clear recollection of events on the day. I therefore cannot exercise my right to defend the charge properly.

 

As you will be aware, adjudicators have frequently dismissed cases such as this, where the right of appeal has been severely delayed. You will also be aware that when cases have been brought against the validity of the entire enforcement process, citing the Human Rights Act, adjudicators have rejected them on the basis that the appeals process affords a right of individuals to defend themselves. Your refusal to allow me my right, even to the extent that you unreasonably rejected my Out of Time witness statement, forcing a court hearing at public expense which you did not even bother to attend, has needlessly compromised my ability to argue my case. (The District Judge, whose time was pointlessly wasted on the case, instructed the Council to pay costs - another entirely avoidable expense to the public, caused by your own intransigence.)

 

I have written to you several times on the matter, without response, and can only attribute the inordinate delay in my having the opportunity to finally appeal this PCN to your own internal processes and inappropriate decision making.

 

I therefore request that the PCN be cancelled on the basis that it is too old to be reasonably contested.

 

Yours etc...

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