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Fining motorists by post using CCTV camera evidence has been ruled “illegal”, The Telegraph can reveal.

Drivers may be entitled to refunds for millions of pounds of penalty charge notices (PCNs) after a ruling by a panel of lawyers that hears appeals against motoring fines.

A special test case found that Transport for London (TfL) had “illegally” fined motorists who had stopped on parking bays on red routes in the capital.

The transport authority, acting on behalf of Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, breached government guidance by using CCTV rather than traffic wardens to enforce road rules.

Ruling looks at DfT guidance
Laws limiting the use of CCTV to issue fines were introduced in 2015 because of what ministers described as “overzealous enforcement by local authorities”.

The judgment by London Tribunals has implications for drivers across the country and could be relied upon in appeals where a CCTV motoring fine has been issued. A London Tribunals spokesman said while its rulings do not set a legal precedent, “adjudicators may take previous decisions into consideration before reaching a conclusion”.

The ruling, on eight red route fine appeals, has emerged just one week after Rishi Sunak declared he was on “the motorists’ side” and ordered a review of low traffic neighbourhoods.

Analysis of TfL data suggests it issues about 435,000 PCNs of all types a year, which if paid in full at £160 would net £69 million.

Three adjudicators accused the authority of a “procedural impropriety” by issuing fines through CCTV rather than “civil enforcement officers” – or traffic wardens.

The ruling says the “most recent version” of Department for Transport guidance states that “approved devices” – or CCTV – should only be used “where enforcement is difficult or sensitive and enforcement by a civil enforcement officer is not practicable”.

Explaining how many motorists may have legitimate reasons for stopping, such as loading or unloading, they “may find it impossible to obtain the necessary evidence after the event” when the £160 fine arrives by post.

“A motorist parked in such a bay who encounters a civil enforcement officer may, there and then, be able to show that he or she is loading or unloading … or can readily obtain the evidence … to substantiate that claim,” the adjudicators said, scrapping all eight fines.

8 thoughts on “Ahahahahaha”

  1. Reminds me of the Robodebt mess here in Oz. Though I understand you have a similar mess over in the UK.

    Naturally we bureaucrats would love to just decide that the scum should pay whatever we see fit, and leave it to AI to squeeze it out of them.

    I’m pleased to see that civil enforcement officers are now required. Of course, you could claim that this is just another argument for more jobs for the boys.

    Frankly I’d imagine that if someone was to actually take the government to court, they could probably nullify the fine. But no doubt it’d take years and millions to do that.

  2. If you read the whole article, currently Khan is just ignoring the ruling & carrying on as ever. And of course considering appealing the ruling. He’s certainly not putting his hands up & surrendering.

  3. Laws limiting the use of CCTV to issue fines were introduced in 2015 because of what ministers described as “overzealous enforcement by local authorities”.

    So rather than remove the initial bad incentive law (conviction via camera), they pasted another law on top that clearly failed. Typical.

    A rule I’d paste on is that all camera based motoring convictions punish either by fine or by penalty points but not both. There’s no way the “safety camera partnerships” (of which the supposedly fucking impartial courts are a member!) would give up their lovely lolly, so penalty points would only be applied in the most serious cases (those being the only ones that should have been convicted at all).

    Another legislative approach, successfully used in the US, is that all such fines go into the general fund. All local incentives removed.

  4. The Meissen Bison

    How about a £100pa tax on every unit and £50 on every dummy to calm them all down? They do precious little good to ordinary folk and promote a semse of security that is entirely illusory.

  5. They do precious little good to ordinary folk and promote a semse of security that is entirely illusory.
    Yeah right. Cameras were installed on Crouch End Broadway for residents’ “safety & security”. Some lads did over the pavement work on the art gallery used to hang some of Rolf Harris’s stuff. The cameras, needless to say, were watching the bus lane.

  6. Surely the loading / unloading debate is easily addressed provided the CCTV footage is extensive enough to capture the vehicle arriving and then leaving.

  7. Wonko the speeding motorist

    which means that pretty much every moving traffic offence fine from around the country is essentially illegal. Which means a lot of oney has to be paid back to motorists. And where is that money going to come from? And we reach the flaw in the argument!

  8. @ Wonko
    Not all of them – the rule says that councils can use CCTV under some circumstances but TfL just ignored the rule

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