What the Judge ruledThe High Court ruling is a complete vindication of our position. In a strong judgment, Mrs Justice Lang DBE concluded:
- That parking charges can be a significant cost for residents living in a CPZ, particularly where the hours are long or the residents have a low income
- That the charges apply only to around 8% of residents
- That the Council was motivated by maximising income from CPZ residents to ease financial pressures on the Council
- That councils should only be able to deliberately profit from residents where Parliament has very clearly allowed this.
- In this case, the legislation did not allow councils to use parking charges in order to maximise income.
- An increase in parking charges needs to serve a parking management purpose (e.g. to counter increased costs or to control demand for parking spaces).
- This interpretation of the law is also supported by two earlier High Court decisions.
Unless the Council brings a successful appeal, charges will revert to what they were before the rises (£40 for a permit and £1 for a visitor voucher) and residents will be entitled to a refund of the amounts that they have been overcharged.
What happens next?
We do not know yet if Barnet will try to appeal. They will need permission in order to bring an appeal but this was not granted by Mrs Justice Lang who said that an appeal would have "no real prospect of success". But Barnet may still ask the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal.
We would urge the council not to bring an appeal. An appeal would delay residents receiving the refunds to which they are entitled, would waste more money on legal fees and would expose David Attfield to enormous financial risk in respect of the Council's legal costs.
We would like all of our supporters to tell the Council, their local councillors and their MP that there is no justification in the Council continuing a legal fight that it has comprehensively lost. We will suggest ways for how you can do this in our next update.