Constitutions lead us towards peace and unity

Conflict and division arise from a legalistic mindset of a low consciousness

Today’s Traffic Penalty Tribunal was a success. I got to present my case, albeit brief, to an honest adjudicator who treated me with respect. The attendee speaking on behalf of the council sounded pained to speak words that were not in his heart. I wanted to hug him, I know he probably just wants to feed his family, and we’re put in a terrible position due to systems that divide us and pitch us against each other. Judgement has been reserved for now — “there is a lot to think about”. You bet there is!

All of the observations, reflections, and lessons deserve a whole article of their own. For now, the video just relays the text below that I read out. I feel exhausted, this is emotive stuff. We are rehashing territory that was “resolved” 800 years ago, “resolved” again 400 years ago, and yet here we are, still facing the same dilemmas over summary justice in star chambers versus the fullest rule of law where the people retain the final say via a jury of your peers. No matter what the decision, today raised the consciousness of all involved, which is the same spiritual journey that juries take.

Today, I stand before you not simply as an individual contesting a penalty charge notice, but as one of a multitude of citizens concerned with the broader implications for our legal system — where the equitable rule of law should prevail over a rigid adherence to rules.

At the heart of this matter is my private domestic conveyance, a 2001 Ford Escort van — not a luxury, but a necessity, integral to safeguarding my own well-being, and never used by me in commerce. Even my photography is of a hobby nature, done as a byproduct of social and pleasure travel, with art print sales as an occasional sideline; I never do paid commercial assignments as business travel.

This private conveyance is incorrectly classified by DVLA within the Clean Air Zone regulations, turning an ownership right into a use restriction. This is done by elevating its van form over its Ford Escort car substance, taking data from one context, and applying it in another. This results in a conversion tort, wth undue financial burdens. It also restricts my fundamental freedoms, including accessing healthcare and participating in social activism.

This tribunal, while established to efficiently adjudicate administrative disputes, now faces a case that touches upon the core of our constitutional framework. I am not here to vilify the council or this tribunal; both operate within the structures and data provided by Parliament and the DVLA.

However, I contend that upholding the penalty charge would contravene the Bill of Rights 1689 and fall afoul of the European Convention on Human Rights, Article 6, for lacking the requisite due process. I am not a mere statistic within an aggregate; my individual rights as an everyday man and a traveller on the highway do matter.

I am experiencing forfeiture of my rights to freely use my ordinary and usual private conveyance in a non-discriminatory way. This is based on flawed data and classification, and extends beyond administrative oversight — it is a matter of constitutional significance. Any forfeit demands at a minimum a magistrate acting under judicial oath; this due process is lacking here, along with the ability to file a counter-claim or join in other parties.

If judicial review is the only remedy for impositions on my inalienable freedoms and human rights, that is a very serious matter indeed. Magna Carta 1215 [original] or 1297 [statute] (depending on your preference) applies here; we are all equal under the law and bound by the law, right up to the monarch. This has not changed. Parliament is only the agent of the people, and can do nothing to their prejudice, including the compromise of due process in law before a forfeit.

The council, bound by legislation and data outside of its control, and the tribunal, constrained by its limited jurisdiction, are not the culprits of this predicament. The onus falls upon Parliament, which has yet to reconcile the conflict between collective environmental goals and individual civil liberties. There is no primary legislation for clean air zones, and that is problematic in this instance.

The tribunal is empowered to clarify issues and ensure just proceedings. However, the tribunal’s scope does not extend to adjudicating on matters of constitutional rights and property forfeiture as they pertain to my case. To do so would be to act ultra vires, beyond the tribunal’s legal power, which results in personal liability for any loss or harm caused.

As such, we are at an impasse. I, constrained by my principles and the law; the council, by the CAZ legislation; and you, as adjudicator, by the tribunal’s narrowly defined role. Dismissing the penalty charge notice may seem like a singular resolution to an individual grievance, yet it symbolises a commitment to the highest legal principles that govern us.

A ruling in favour of dismissing the penalty notice serves the greater good:

  • It vindicates my right to fair treatment under the law, in accordance with the duty to conduct hearings in the manner “most suitable to the clarification of the issues and generally to the just handling of the proceedings.”
  • It absolves the council from enforcing flawed legislation, allowing it to seek necessary clarifications based on an adjudication that focuses on the real issue. The adjudication can address the lack of primary legislation specific to clean air zones and competing claims to health and liberty.
  • It preserves the integrity of this tribunal, highlighting the importance of constitutional limitations on administrative bodies. This legitimises the use of administrative tribunals, which sit in a contested constitutional space. In removes the unfair burden put on any adjudicator facing an unjust situation of acting ultra vires.

This decision would not signify defeat for any party but would illuminate the path towards legislative rectitude and safeguard the constitutional rights of all citizens.

We each have a part to play in upholding the rule of law. It would be possible to uphold the PCN on the narrowest procedural grounds, but that would be to break superior and international law in other ways. It is also possible to dismiss it on the basis of fact, common law tort, data protection statute, or equity. I have documented the arguments for those approaches, but on reflection that is to miss the point.

By dismissing this charge on constitutional grounds, a potentially historic move that may make the future law textbooks, you assert the preeminence of constitutional rights. This sets a precedent that respects the law’s spirit and serves justice in its truest sense.

Specifically, I request the adjudicator to consider the potential unconstitutional nature of Section 16, which pertains to the treatment of an administrative tribunal adjudication and that of a County Court. Within a purely administrative tussle, it is fair and reasonable. In matters of forfeiture, or civil liberties, this appears to be an end-run around the constitution, since it makes the adjudicator ultra vires.

Lawful equivalence requires a judicial oath of public office, time to consider the issues, opportunity to make a counter-claim, ability to join in other parties like DVLA or Jacobs, authority to enact an appropriate remedy, and duty uphold equity and the constitution. This equivalence is absent, making any future enforcement of the PCN unconstitutional.

We need to find a way forward that preserves the value of administrative tribunals in resolving everyday administrative matters — like snow on a sign for a bus lane making a PCN unfair. By performance we have adopted them into our society, as they serve a valid and useful function. Yet they sit in a constitutional grey zone, and this needs resolution.

By limiting the scope of what cases can be brought to those of an administrative nature, an adjudication on constitutional grounds paradoxically emphasises the constitutional legitimacy of its efficient administrative function. Thank you for considering this case not only on its merits but as a testament to the fair and just legal system we all serve and cherish.

Just so you can see inside the sausage factory, for once, I am also pasting the notes I used as a basis for generating this using help from ChatGPT. The raw output (not shown) was edited (to that above). The instruction was “I am going to paste some notes to be read out as a court case. Turn it into prose that will land well with the adjudicator, and make it shorter so that the speech is maximum of ten minutes at a normal reading speed.” It is very good at taking out my florid and emotive language, and replacing it with phraseology that works for the mainstream.

A way out for everyone from a messy case

Travelling in my car yesterday, I realised that I had completely misframed this case

  • I am really interested in asserting the rule of law over the law of rules; the specifics of my car derived van in this CAZ are secondary.
  • The council are not the “bad guys” that I need to “beat”, they are just doing their job under the “law of rules”.
  • The tribunal is not at fault for lacking time, resources, and authority to address the hard issues of civil rights and resolving “following the rules” vs the rule of law.
  • An epiphany moment helped me see the way out of the mess for all parties here. The problem is with Parliament, and DVLA are the accessory to Parliament’s wrong as the competent authority.

Headline — Upholding this PCN is unconstitutional under the Bill of Rights 1689 and unlawful under ECHR Art 6.

  • Tribunal does not have the lawful power to impose a forfeit; this is a forfeit bigger than just a £12.50 CAZ charge; it has to come before a magistrate or higher court
  • Tribunal lacks sufficient due process for an equity matter, so is unlawful
  • Not all relevant parties are present, DVLA should be joined in, and possibly Jacobs too, as without them cannot be held equivalent to a court of law
  • No counter-claim or remedy for tort against me; process is innately unjust, hence unlawful under ECHR Art 6
  • s16 of the 2013 Regulations is unconstitutional for cases such as this — a false equivalence with a court of law

Bring to life – car derived van ordinary conveyance

  • 2001 Ford Escort van is my private, ordinary, and usual conveyance. I am not wealthy, so cannot afford to change it.
  • Suffer from anxiety issues after Covid especially on public transport going far from home; used to be a frequent global traveller with a gold card, have flown once as an emergency in four years
  • Ford Escort van safeguards me and my mobile stash of emergency kit

Bring to life impact of Parliament and DVLA’s unlawful actions on me

  • Clinic – London — £225
  • Brother – London— £112.50
  • Protest – Glasgow — 30 minutes of research and route planning to park
  • Social – Newcastle – not just travel; using car as a private space to talk

Am experiencing a forfeit of liberty, property rights over my car, and having financial costs imposed on me due to discriminatory treatment as the user of a car derived van

  • Never charged with a crime, no jury or magistrate, no conviction
  • Human rights abuses in the name of clean air — life and death matter of access to health care and fundamental freedom to protest — deeply problematic

Messy for me

  • civil liberties at stake, not just travel, not just in Newcastle
  • priceless liberties that are worth more than £12.50 gain
  • but no proper court of law under oath and subject to equity, and very little time to present my case
  • Safety and welfare compromised, yet cannot look the adjudicator in the eyes. This is wrong.

Messy for Council

  • Good people in a flawed system honestly implementing rules they did not create using DVLA data they don’t control
  • Crazy person comes along objecting on obscure law in a rare corner case, so just throw awkward problem at tribunal
  • Rightly just want to get on with their job as administrators, not spend energy on one difficult case for no reward

Messy for Adjudicator

  • Doing an difficult job of resolving administrative disputes at low cost and quickly
  • Very complex case that raises trick issues of equity, international law, due process, constitutionality, jurisdiction, and authority; no time to consider in depth, sets up potential for injustice
  • Personal legal risk of acting ultra vires, as lawfulness of CAZs and tribunals yet to be proven in the long run; more downside than being a court judge with none of the prestige upside

Temping to point fingers among us three to find the wrongdoer, but the villain isn’t in the room

  • We were all set up by Parliament! They haven’t done their job properly; no primary legislation for CAZs directing how to resolve conflict between aggregate goals and individual rights
  • DVLA data is not fit for purpose; describes ownership rights, not use rights
  • S16 of Regulations — treating the tribunal outcome as equivalent to a court of law — quite likely unconstitutional (Bill of Rights) and violates ECHR Art 6 in this case
  • Parliament has enacted an end-run around due process and constitutional law where civil liberties are in play, in order to establish a revenue stream


  • I am digging my heels in as cannot budge on rule of law, due process, civil rights (like access to healthcare) affected by impaired travel
  • Council is the fall guy for the flawed CAZ legislation that works with aggregates and ignores rights of individuals (especially in hard corner cases)
  • Adjudicator left picking up the pieces, without the real power to resolve and offer remedy

Why is it so messy?

  • Tribunal is configured for contractual matters (parking) or summary fine type charges (e.g. bus lanes) — a needed job in society
  • Administrative tribunals are in a constitutional grey zone
    • Halsbury’s Laws of England – unconstitutional
    • LCJ Widgery — extortion
    • Leighton vs Bristow & Sutor — Council Tax Liability Orders “not proper court orders”
  • However, by performance we have adopted them as a society
  • They are useful at solving administrative problems – below “summary offences”
  • Wrong to condemn them outright — so how to reconcile?

Forfeits don’t match the scope or remit of the tribunal

  • This is factually a forfeit, including of property and usage rights over my private conveyance; different category; not an administrative issue, council are administrating by the book, but the book has errors in it
  • The applicable law doesn’t match the lawful scope of an administrative tribunal; some problems don’t belong here, however tempting to adjudicate
  • The registration-based data DVLA supplies fails to match the real world use cases and therefore conflicts with other protected rights and non-discrimination undertakings; a structural issue with the legislation

Job of the adjudicator

  • Conduct hearing in the manner “most suitable to the clarification of the issues and generally to the just handling of the proceedings.”
  • Limited menu of reasons to dismiss, or “compelling reasons in circumstances”
  • Unclear if under any duty to uphold the law in its widest sense (e.g. equity) or be under same strictures as mags and senior courts.
  • Aiding the destruction of constitutional rights means acting ultra vires and being personally liable for Parliament’s constitutional overreach if appellant’s civil liberties are breached — unfair for this burden to be placed on the adjudicator, as I have no personal beef with anyone here.
  • Not bound by Section 148 of the magistrates’ court act which denotes that the court is a court of common law, subsequent to the Judicature act of 1873 and 1875 says that equity is to be used in all courts, or Senior Courts Act 1981 s49 that says similar in higher courts.
  • This tribunal is not a court of law, so how can it adjudicate a civil rights matter involving forfeiture? It cannot.

Could pass the PCN on the narrowest and strictest view of task as no procedural irregularity

  • Only problem is that it elevates fiction above truth, and DVLA’s IT policy above superior law; immoral, even if legal by the most restrictive statute
  • Judicial review is the only means for me to resolve this
  • Profoundly unjust given the severity of the civil rights matters and due process; severe erosion of the rule of law in favour of the law of rules

Could dismiss the PCN on multiple grounds

  • Fact — unfair, as the conveyance is a car (McVities precendent applies), regulating body style exceeds statutory authority; no evidence of operating in commerce (because I do not)
  • Legalities — conversion tort against property right, data protection violations in use of N1 classification outside of original context
  • Equity – unclean hands (implication I am acting in commerce when I am not), many iniquities in treatment vs other private car drivers

None are satisfactory, as they all leave either myself or the council unfairly aggrieved

  • Neither party is at fault; the unfair rules are structured to cause conflict
  • Parliament is the villain! Both in the setting of the CAZ rules only in the most abstract permissive sense, and the unlimited nature of scope of tribunal adjudication that goes outside of due process boundaries in civil rights cases

Solution is to dismiss the PCN as unfair as this tribunal process cannot lawfully adjudicate it given the limits to its remit and procedure

  • Bill of Rights means you need at least a magistrate as surrogate for a jury of your peers before a forfeit can be imposed; cannot lawfully uphold any PCN where a forfeit is involved
  • ECHR Art 6 means this 30 minute slot without defined jurisdiction, rules, fair hearing of the facts is unlawful for this complex matter — insufficient to meet minimum level of due process in the context
  • Some matters have to go before a court of law; there is nothing else to do — or just accept that edge cases cannot go to enforcement

A win for me

  • I get what I really want, which is a commitment to the rule of law and an equitable outcome — don’t really care about the £12.50 per se, and even driving my car derived van in freedom is subsidiary to this higher principle

A win for the Council

  • May not get this one PCN issued, but by ruling on constitutional grounds are also clearly not the party at fault. Can escalate this matter back to the Minister and ask Parliament to clarify.
  • Does not compromise their moral authority to operate the CAZ or implement the current rules
  • Adjust policy to find alternative ways of dealing with civil rights type issues and resolve them; if necessary waive them through as leaks in the system. Allow the “drips” as a cost of staying lawful, don’t punish the van livers and lovers!

A win for the Tribunal

  • By paradoxically setting a constitutionally-based limit on your own scope and authority, you validate the legitimacy on everything that falls below this line
  • Becomes an adjudication for the law textbooks, replaces Jaffa Cakes as the most famous English taxation tribunal case
  • Takes away any risk of being held personally accountable for civil rights violations or an accomplice to Parliament going rogue

Everyone walks away with their honour intact

There is no controversy left or further appeal

Judicial review for constitutional violation is obviated as the constitution ruled the day; highest law applies, and the fairness rule in the statute followed to the letter

The party at fault is clearly identified nonetheless (i.e. Parliament)

The council has a path to resolution through activating its own executive authority to engage the legislature using the ruling as evidence of it being put in an impossible position by Parliament acting outside its authority

The tribunal affirms it is a constitutionally legitimate body with limited powers that are exercised wisely and judiciously