Decision : Closed after initial enquiries
Decision date : 30 Mar 2020
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate the complaint by Mr C about the Council issuing him two Penalty Charge Notices at the same time. This is because it would be reasonable for Mr C to use the right to appeal at the Traffic Penalty Tribunal.
- Mr C says the Council issued him with two Penalty Charge Notices (PCN) for the same offence on the same day an hour apart.
- Mr C says the Council should only have charged him once. He says the only reason he paid was because he felt he had no choice.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- The law says we cannot normally investigate a complaint when someone can appeal to a tribunal. However, we may decide to investigate if we consider it would be unreasonable to expect the person to appeal. (Local Government Act 1974, section 26(6)(a), as amended)
- The Traffic Penalty Tribunal considers parking and moving traffic offence appeals for all areas of England outside London.
How I considered this complaint
- As part of my assessment I have
- considered the complaint by Mr C and the complaint correspondence he exchanged with the Council;
- issued a draft decision inviting Mr C to comment; and
- considered Mr C’s response to the draft decision.
What I found
- On 3 December 2019 Mr C wrote to the Council to say he had mistakenly driven on the bus lane. As a result, he had been issued two tickets for the exact same offence on the same day but an hour apart. Mr C asked if the second fine could be made exempt.
- The Council responded by saying it could not deal with his enquiry because the PCN was a statutory process. The Council went on to advise Mr C to follow the appeals process on the reverse of the PCN.
- The Transport Act 2000 and associated regulations gives Council the powers to enforce bus lanes and take recovery action.
- When Mr C complained about the PCN on 3 December 2019 the Council told him how he could appeal against it.
- Mr C can appeal against this charge with the Traffic Penalty Tribunal. This is the procedure set out in law to handle challenges to PCNs so it would be reasonable for Mr C to use it.
- The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint. This is because it would be reasonable for Mr C to use the right to appeal against a PCN at the Traffic Penalty Tribunal.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman