The Law is an Ass

  anchor 13:30 02 Dec 2009

(A quote from Dickens in Oliver Twist; This story proves its as true today).

I saw a report about this on BBC1 local news last evening.
You can now be fined for parking on your own drive. Lord Justice Sedley, rules that you own only the subsoil marked on the deeds. He has also refused the right of appeal.

click here

click here

  the hick 14:11 02 Dec 2009

This seems to infer that parking laws apply to non-highway areas. I would think the land has to be dedicated as highway and maintained as highway by the Council for parking enforcement to apply. As I understand, a Council cannot assume any area adjoining a highway is additional highway land, it must be dedicated by the owner as highway, or bought by the Council as land for highway use. A very strange decision here.

  Grey Goo 14:39 02 Dec 2009

He should put a toll gate on his land and anyone wanting to cross would be charged, including traffic wardens.

  Grey Goo 14:42 02 Dec 2009

And take a jackhammer to the tarmac and park on the subsoil.

  johndrew 14:53 02 Dec 2009

This judgement would infer that any vehicle parked on any land (or perhaps in a garage attached to a house?) near a `Road` may be treated as if it were on a `Road` contrary to the definition provided in Section 192(1) of the Road Traffic Act 1988 click here. I am unable to find any mention of `subsoil` or `deeds` in the definition.

As you say the decision is extremely odd and for the Judge concerned to refuse the right of appeal is even stranger.

  cycoze 15:04 02 Dec 2009

Looks like he will have to pop a fence back up and park behind it again.

  Woolwell 16:09 02 Dec 2009

He may well have to get planning permission to fence or wall it off which more than likely would be refused. He should also insure the land because if someone fell over on it and hurt themselves or the scooter toppled on them then they could sue.

  Chris the Ancient 17:29 02 Dec 2009

A question pops up in my mind here.

Dr Dawood states, For further clarity, a sign politely declared: 'This forecourt is private property and is not dedicated as a public footway.' I wonder if that sign still exists.

It certainly used to be the case that such a prominent and visible was a legal requirement, I believe. And... in some streets, the frontage of shops, surfaced or not, could only have a sign board (referred to as an 'A-board) or trade stall on their own piece of dedicated land.

The delineation between the private property of the shop and the public highway (footway) is usually by means of an alternative surface or some form of non-removable markings such as studs.

Me being a 'grumpy old git' (most of the time), I would probably have continued fighting and photographed loads of shops, cafes and such businesses in the area to cite that either everybody else was guilty of obstructing the public highway or that the ruling must be thrown out becasue of disrepute!


  Chris the Ancient 17:32 02 Dec 2009

Taking a deeper look at the photograph printed by the Daily Mail, there is an extremely obvious physical division. There is also a disabled ramp on that same piece of land - obviously built to satisfy legislation.

And, perhaps the next premise up the road ought to be done under planning laws!

  spuds 18:56 02 Dec 2009

At once up on a time it was a case of 'building line to building line', which in the case of this property before the mid-nineties would have had a wall dividing public land from private land. The division wall was taken down due to confirmed re-development in the mid-nineties, as stated in the article. Getting a scooter from the road area would no doubt have to go over public land because no road access provision as been provided. This again is a requirement in law, and would make a difference to the area effected.

Placing a sign that it is private property and not a dedicated footpath would also prove confusing, because the law changed about 'dedicated footpath' some time ago. As an example, if a footpath is gated and locked, then that would be deemed as possibly private, but if the public had general access then it would now no longer apply. Think supermarket car parks!.

There might be one possibilty of redress, and that is by taking out a private summons against the 'parking attendant's' who issued the tickets,for damage to property (sticky glue over scooter panel- very hard and expensive to remove) :O)

Not a gambling person, but I bet even money, if another judge looked at this on a wider basis, they may well consider the law perhaps slightly different. But then again!.

  Forum Editor 19:42 02 Dec 2009

Suppose the tarmac area in front of this doctor's property was a little larger - big enough to accommodate a car,let's say. Would the law still be an ass if the car was ticketed?

To get a car onto the imaginary tarmac area it would have to be driven across a public footway, and that's an offence. I'm sure it's also an offence to ride a motorbike across a public footway, but then the doctor would no doubt say he always pushed it into place, having dismounted on the highway.

Supposing - as suggested by Woolwell, the bike toppled over and injured a pedestrian. I assume that the doctor would be sued, and his insurers might decline to settle any claim because the area of tarmac does not have a physical barrier between it and the footway - pedestrians can, and presumably do walk onto it all the time.

My guess is that there were originally railings between the path and this area, and the doctor removed them - presumably to allow for the construction of the wheelchair access. That means he's expecting people to use the tarmac, and some of them will be in wheelchairs.

Parking tickets aside, methinks the doctor wants to have his cake and eat it.

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