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London Borough of Newham (20 006 016)

Category : Transport and highways > Parking and other penalties

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 06 Nov 2020

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Ombudsman cannot investigate Mr X’s complaint about a penalty charge notice issued by the Council. This is because Mr X has used his right of appeal to London Tribunals.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, Mr X, complains about a penalty charge notice (PCN) issued by the Council. He says he has gone to time and effort to challenge the PCN and wants the Council to cancel it.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. The Local Government Act 1974 sets out our powers but also imposes restrictions on what we can investigate.
  2. The law says we cannot normally investigate a complaint when someone can appeal to a tribunal. We may decide to investigate if we consider it would be unreasonable to expect the person to appeal but cannot investigate if the person has already appealed. (Local Government Act 1974, section 26(6)(a), as amended)
  3. London Tribunals (previously known as the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service) considers parking and moving traffic offence appeals for London.

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I reviewed Mr X’s complaint, the Council’s response and the details of his appeal to London Tribunals.

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What I found

  1. The Council issued Mr X a PCN for performing a prohibited left turn in February 2020.
  2. There is a set procedure councils must follow when pursuing PCNs for moving traffic contraventions. When a council identifies a contravention it will issue a PCN to the owner/registered keeper by post. This will detail the amount of the fine and the motorist’s right of appeal, firstly to the council itself and then to a Tribunal.
  3. Mr X disputes the PCN as he says there is not adequate signage to warn that left turns are prohibited. He also claims he was not the owner of the vehicle at the time of the contravention. He made representations to the Council and when it refused them, he appealed to London Tribunals. London Tribunals refused Mr X’s appeal and Mr X complained to the Council.
  4. Because Mr X has appealed to London Tribunals the Ombudsman has no jurisdiction to investigate his complaint about the PCN. Had Mr X felt the information provided to the Tribunal was incorrect it was for him to challenge it as part of his appeal. We cannot overturn London Tribunals’ decision and it is not for us to decide the validity of the PCN.

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Final decision

  1. The Ombudsman cannot investigate this complaint. This is because Mr X has used his right of appeal to London Tribunals.

Investigator’s decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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