Always give errant authority a chance to repent

Don’t condemn others as dishonourable until they have declined the opportunity

No parking here vehicles will be removed

I have a Traffic Penalty Tribunal hearing on Wednesday that addresses fundamental issues of civil liberties and constitutional law. My expectation is that those superior matters will be railroaded, but there are (legal, moral, spiritual) consequences to becoming an accessory to Parliament’s betrayal of the people. Given the gravity of the infringement of essential and inalienable rights, we can never back down.

Below is the summary that I plan to read out. The biggie is at the end — these tribunals are unconstitutional and are an accessory to extortion. By acting outside of any lawful public role, even if (for now) legal under unconstitutional Acts, there is no protection for the adjudicator should those Acts be overturned. The honourable course is for the Council to withdraw, but in reality they always stonewall and double down.

A message from the Adjudicator reads: “Please note that my role is restricted to considering whether factually the contravention occurred and whether any of the grounds of appeal apply.” — so whether the adjudication itself is lawful, or whether the Council is acting lawfully, are unlikely to be considered. This narrowing of the grounds for appeal to exclude all superior law is the definition of treason. The whole thing is limited to an absurdly short 30 minutes.

Dr Boham’s Case [1610] is famous case law, which states “For when an Act of Parliament is against common right or reason, [or] is repugnant….. common law will control it.” We now assign that role to judicial review, which may be needed in this case, as inalienable rights are being infringed — yet there appears to be no statutory weight attached to those rights.

I am also the victim of trespass in this situation, yet find myself in the position of appeal, despite never having been tried in a normal court of law. Furthermore, it appears Parliament has designed an adjudication process that exceeds its authority in Billl of Rights [1688], which is to this day primary law resulting from a constitutional convention Parliament. Specifically, I am here to defend some fundamental civil rights that include access to healthcare, and the right to protest, that depend on travel rights.

These rights are negatively affected by my right to travel being impaired by Clean Air Zone (CAZ) and Low Emissions Zone (LEZ) discrimination against those who choose a car derived van as their private conveyance. The loss is not just felt in Newcastle — it also has affected my travel in Glasgow (to protest) and London (for healthcare). This is not an academic exercise, CAZs/LEZs have profound costs in the real world for those caught up in the unfair rules. I am not in a financial position to buy a newer car for the convenience of administrators, nor should I have to.

Something is wrong here at a far deeper level than just the mis-categorisation of my private conveyance as a van rather than a car for CAZ purposes. Any “reasonable person” in the pub or on the bus can instantly see there is inequitable treatment in this case that violates a “do unto others” moral code. Your innate sense of right and wrong should be feeling that there are irregularities here that need to be addressed.

This iniquity is due to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority’s (DVLA) double-meaning or ambiguous legal definitions, as cited in reference to my car derived van, and supported by United Biscuits vs Customs and Excise [1991]. It should concern you that administrators appear to be applying conflicting rules of classification to the administrated road users. There is no accommodation for the context of lived reality to be be taken into account. Instead, fixed and inflexible rules are mechanically applied without mercy. Meanwhile, the health case for CAZs/LEZs remains unproven.

Are there limits on the power of the state to erode individual basic freedoms, especially of movement, in the name of collective environmental goals? Can one health objective of clean air be raised above all other matters of public interest and civil rights? Can those environmental rules be enforced through administrative tribunals that, while efficient, lack the usual checks of Civil Procedure Rules or criminal cases acting under judicial oath?

There are two fundamental problems here. One is fact — my “usual and ordinary” conveyance is a 2001 Ford Escort van, which is treated differently to a Ford Escort saloon, estate, or hatchback car. The facts on the ground make the Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) unenforceable, as its substance is a car in private use. The other is law — the abuse of power by raising the lowest level of IT policy (DVLA classification rules) above the highest duties in law (equity, constitution, treaties), without remedy or accountability for said abuse. That makes the PCN unconstitutional, a higher standard, with more severe consequence for those who violate civil rights.

An act of authority may be based on untruth, as I assert is the case here, by implying that I am operating in commerce without valid insurance. If so, then nothing Parliament or any public body does to dignify a falsehood will make it true. Likewise, obeying orders is not a reason to abandon individual moral agency in legal matters; if you would feel aggrieved in my shoes, then we have a problem of conscience that is bigger than the statutory adjudication. The supplied analysis in my presentation deck shows how the Nolan Principles of public life are breached in this case, and hints at a serious structural and ethical problem.

I am making the limited and narrower case here today that the PCN should be dismissed as a tort against my property rights to deploy my car as I see fit. Regulating its form, not its substance, without a balancing public interest, exceeds the authority delegated under statute law. Mere compliance to administrative process is not the same as being legal. The procedural rules were followed to the letter by Newcastle City Council (NCC), but that’s not the point; my life does not have to revolve around the limits of DVLA’s legacy data and how they have unfairly converted it from road tax to CAZs.

Of all my submissions, one brings the central legal matter into focus, which is the matrix of vehicle registration classifications vs use cases (domestic and commercial). The essential points are (1) my private conveyance is of an ordinary and usual kind for domestic use; I am not perversely going to see auntie in a JCB; (2) there are distinct property rights from usage rights, with civil liberties attached to the latter; (3) that the artificial division of passenger and goods transport for vehicle registration property rights does not cleanly divide into non-commercial and commercial use cases for travel.

The overloading of the term “vehicle” to blur the physical carriage transporter from the conveyance travel service has allowed NCC (and others) to transform data intended for one purpose (i.e. road tax) into a completely different one (i.e. clean air zone). This conversion is done in a manner that burdens the property right unlawfully, unfairly harms protected usage rights, and lacks transparency. The presentation material unpacks this in detail; you either find the logic compelling, or you do not.

There is also a test here to see if mercantile law — through vehicle and driver licensing — has effectively erased our common law and constitutional rights as individual men and women. If the NCC case is that we have consented to be abused — the “Miss Whiplash” argument — then that is a sad state of affairs. Is the (at most) trivial trespass of my van to the heath of the people of Newcastle really worth this abandonment of our foundational Judeo-Christian beliefs, and the resulting trespass against me?

As such, the real case is about equity, which arises from us all being equal under the law, and that we must not treat others in ways that we ourselves might find distasteful. Equity is a matter that is normally only considered in depth in higher Chancery courts. I have documented the equity case in my submission, but do not wish to present it given time constraints. Again, either you find it compelling, or you do not. The facts and morals don’t change.

Section 16 of the Regulations — “Recovery of amounts payable under an adjudication” — treats the adjudication as equivalent to that of a County Court. This is problematic, as councils can ignore representations made on equity grounds, and tribunals can opt for a narrow interpretation of legality over lawfulness. The result is potentially catastrophic for civil rights and due process. In R v Thistlewood [1820] it was stated that “To destroy the constitution is treason”. A strict observer might consider Parliament to have engaged in this high crime via s16.

There is a parallel civil rights and due process issue unfolding with respect to Council Liability Orders, and administrative tribunals operated by Magistrates’ Courts outwith civil procedure rules. The recent High Court ruling in the case of Leighton vs Bristow & Sutor [2023] alludes to the tribunals aiding councils to break the law, as there is no authority or paperwork for debt collection.

This is all at the behest of Parliament that has misinterpreted its own sovereignty as authority to rule over the people, rather than act as their agent subject to the constaints of the Bill of Rights. Consequently, many good individuals with honourable intent find themselves in bad systems.

Recognising that the issues here are systemic, and not personal, I have made an offer to NCC to provide an affidavit that my conveyance is purely for private use. This reasonable accommodation of their need to administer their flawed rules has been declined. Yet I am afforded no opportunity to make a counter-claim for infringement of my civil rights, whether for damages, or for equitable relief. Due process is missing, which breaks ECHR Art 6, a problem shared with Council Tax tribunals.

NCC have put the adjudicator into an invidious position in this case. By failing to address perfectly legitimate concerns of lawfulness, civil rights, and equity they have burdened this tribunal with matters that are extremely contentious. I have no beef with either the claimant’s representative, nor the adjudicator. Sadly, the only way to resolve civil rights problems for ultra vires acts seems to be personal accountability. Yet none here deserve such opprobrium, as it is Parliament who have ignored the Bill of Rights 1689, as well as many non-discrimination undertakings in international law.

My invitation is for NCC to withdraw the PCN, because ultimately breaking God’s law — coveting what is not yours based on false witness — will only harm you yourself. This PCN has been a gift to me, and I thank NCC for it, because it has forced me to learn a lot of law, and clarify what I stand for. At the mundane level of this specific infringement and penalty, the adjudication outcome is immaterial to me. What matters is that we treat each other in a loving way, which ought to be lawful too. Merely pointing at legislation in order to justify doing wrong to another diminishes us all.

Withdrawal of the PCN also relieves the adjudicator of the constitutionally awkward position that has been unfairly imposed by Parliament. There is nothing innately wrong with administrative tribunals rapidly passing highly efficient judgement on purely administrative matters, like a sign being covered in snow so the PCN is unfair. In this case, Parliament has acted treacherously by allowing an end-run of our constitution to destroy civil liberties without remedy. Asking the adjudicator to expose themselves to legal risk as an accessory is deeply unkind and unjust.

The main point here is that you must give them an “out” and path back to honour. But if they choose not to take it… well, then I plan to hold those who refuse to turn back fully accountable for their actions. This is essentially me “turning the other cheek”. If they repent, wonderful. If they do now, then they fully identify with their wrongdoing, and deserve what comes to them as a result. The hard thing for me is to put my anger aside as being abused by authority, yet again, and calmly focus on the outcome.