Thursday 15 March 2012

Legal challenge continues as appeal launched

An appeal has been lodged against last month’s ruling rejecting our legal action to overturn Barnet’s CPZ charges.  The aim of the appeal is to obtain an order from the Court  of Appeal reinstating David Attfield's legal challenge so that it can be heard at a full trial.

Why have we decided to bring an appeal?

First, because our legal advisers remain convinced of the strength of our legal case, albeit we failed to convey this at last month’s hearing.  The confidence of the legal representatives is not just hollow words:  They will be acting in the appeal on a “no win, no fee” basis.

There is also an important principal at stake  -  whether a small group of residents should be made to subsidise services for the whole borough just by virtue of the type of area in which they live.  Barnet’s stance that this is lawful is at odds with the position of other boroughs; organisations like the RAC and the AA; and even the Department for Transport.  If we stop now, Barnet will have succeeded in re-writing the rule book.   There would be nothing to stop Barnet hiking CPZ charges again.
By appealing, we stand to gain much more than we lose.  First, we retain the prospect that the CPZ charges will be revoked and money refunded by Barnet.   If we ultimately win, we should also be able to return much of money that has been generously  donated.  

There is also the fact that, as things stand, there is little to stop further hikes in CPZ charges in the future.   

What does this mean?

If we are to succeed, we have a long road ahead of us. 

There is no automatic right to appeal to the Court of Appeal.  We will only be granted an appeal hearing if an appeal judge recognises on reviewing the case that we have a real prospect of success.

If we are granted an appeal hearing, then that would be a very positive sign that a senior judge recognises that something may have gone wrong at last month’s hearing. 

We have a tough fight ahead and, unfortunately, an appeal increases the financial risk that David faces.  More donations will be sought to help meet this but, for the moment, we are not actively seeking money until we can show to our supporters that the legal action is getting back on track.

In the meantime, please continue to support our campaign. Tell your local councillors and MP what you think of Barnet's CPZ charges.  And please continue to spread the word about the charges and how unfair they are.   Many permits will be coming up for renewal and supplies of visitor vouchers will be replenished over the coming weeks.  It is vital that Barnet understand that opposition to these unfair charges is not diminishing.

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