Akumah v Hackney London Borough Council

JurisdictionEngland & Wales
CourtCourt of Appeal (Civil Division)
JudgeLADY JUSTICE ARDEN,MR JUSTICE MORLAND,LORD JUSTICE BUXTON,Mr Justice Moses,MR JUSTICE MOSES
Judgment Date17 April 2002
Neutral Citation[2002] EWCA Civ 582,[2001] EWCA Civ 1946
Docket NumberB2/2001/1578

[2001] EWCA Civ 1946

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF JUDICATURE

COURT OF APPEAL (CIVIL DIVISION)

ON APPEAL FROM THE SHOREDITCH COUNTY COURT

HIS HONOUR JUDGE COTRAN

Royal Courts of Justice

Strand

London WC2

Before:

Lady Justice Arden and

Mr Justice Morland

B2/2001/1578

Akumah
and
London Borough of Hackney

The Applicant did not appear and was not represented.

MR M REED (instructed by Hackney Legal Services, 2nd Floor, 183–187 Stoke Newington High Street London N16 DLH) appeared on behalf of the Respondent.

LADY JUSTICE ARDEN
1

I will ask Morland J to give the first judgment.

MR JUSTICE MORLAND
2

This is an application by the London Borough of Hackney for permission to appeal against the judgment of Judge Cotran sitting in the Shoreditch County Court, dated 29th June of this year, when he allowed an appeal of Mr Akumah, the claimant, against the judgment of the District Judge, Judge Wright, on 22nd February 2001. 3. This is, therefore, a second appeal and under CPR 52.13:

“(1) Permission is required from the Court of Appeal for any appeal to that court from a decision of a county court which was itself made on appeal.

(2) The Court of Appeal will not give permission unless it considers that-

(a) the appeal would raise an important

point of principle or practice; or

(b) there is some other compelling reasons for the Court of Appeal to hear it.”

4

It should be noted under CPR 52.3(6):

“Permission to appeal will only be given where-

(a) the court considers that the appeal

would have a real prospect of success”

5

Speaking for myself, I do not find the judgment of Judge Cotran easy to follow. In my judgment it can be very strongly argued that he did not do full justice to District Judge Wright's judgment which made clear findings of fact and set out the legal consequences of those factual findings.

6

Mr Akumah's claim arose as a result of three parking tickets being put on his car which resulted in two cases of him having to pay a penalty in order to get his car unclamped, and in respect of the third occasion his car was clamped and towed away. He refused to pay the release charge and the car remains in the possession of the Borough of Hackney. Mr Akumah has claimed damages for loss of use of his car while it has remained impounded by Hackney Council.

7

The first ticket was issued on 26th January 2000, the second ticket on the 15th March 2000 and the third on 5th April 2000. 8. The London Borough of Hackney have a system of issuing visitors parking permits to people who live on their estates. These tickets cost £250 and each contain 10 vouchers. The vouchers say on the back:

“USE OF VISITORS PERMITS

Instructions

1. When you park display the Visitors Voucher clearly in the window WITH THE CURRENT VOUCHER COMPLETED IN INK.”

9

Then 3:

“ANY ATTEMPT TO ALTER ANY OF THE DETAILS ON ANY PARKING VOUCHER WILL RENDER THE PERMIT INVALID.”

10

This is a case that does not only relate to the position of Mr Akumah personally. Mr Akumah himself is a member of the Woodbury Down Residents Action Group and we have been told by Mr Reed, for the Borough of Hackney, that the Borough has some 20 estates and it is anticipated that there are some 10,000 parking permits in circulation. His instructions are that notices are displayed in the parking areas saying that if no valid parking permit is displayed, a car parked is liable to clamping.

11

The District Judge made her findings as follows:

“I am persuaded that on the evidence of the first one it has been tampered with the date of 26th January has been amended, and therefore that it has been tampered with.

In relation to the second ticket issued on 15th March there is evidence of tampering with that particular voucher.

In relation [to] 15th April I, take the same view that there was evidence that there is an indentation under that date.

the provisions on the reverse of the parking permit constitute terms and conditions whereby there is a responsibility on both sides and it is made quite clear, first of all, that the voucher must be completed in ink, for obvious reasons to avoid amendment, and in paragraph 3 of the instructions, ‘Any attempt to alter any of the details on any part of the voucher will render the permit invalid.’

I take the view that the vouchers were amended. They were altered, and they were therefore invalid.”

12

In those circumstances she dismissed the claim. It is right to say that in relation to the parking tickets issued by an official of the London Borough of Hackney in relation to the three permits they were invalid as the wrong contravention code was entered on the parking tickets. In relation to 26th January contravention code O4 which says parking without displaying a permit was put on the parking ticket. On 15th March, contravention code 9, parking on the footway was put on the parking ticket and in the third, on 5th April the contravention code 16 was entered which means burnt-out vehicle.

13

None of those codes were correct for what, in fact, was the reason for the invalidity of the permit. Clearly a matter arises as a matter of principle, whether the putting of the wrong contravention code on a parking ticket renders the actions of the council unlawful in clamping the cars or taking them away. Clearly that is a matter of general importance so far as the London Borough of Hackney is concerned, and also of importance so far as the holders of these parking permits is concerned.

14

In my judgment there are strong grounds for arguing that the three parking permit vouchers used by Mr Akumah were invalid. Therefore, the fact that there was a wrong marking of the parking tickets with the wrong contravention code is immaterial because there was no valid parking because the permits were invalid because of the tampering or alteration of the parking permit and the particular voucher concerned.

15

In my judgment this is a case where there are compelling reasons why the Court of Appeal should hear this appeal by reason of the fact that Judge Cotran's judgment is not easy to follow following the clear judgment of the District Judge. This case does not solely concern the position of Mr Akumah but concerns many other residents on housing estates in the London Borough of Hackney and is concerned with the overall validity of the parking scheme arrangements of the London Borough of Hackney. For those reasons I would grant permission to appeal to this court.

LADY JUSTICE ARDEN
16

I agree that this is a case which satisfies the requirements for a second appeal. In particular it raises the question of the effect of using the wrong contravention code, the question whether a condition requiring completion in ink was enforceable and the question whether the court hearing the appeal from the District Judge could properly depart from the clear findings of fact from the District Judge. We have been given further information that was available to Mantell LJ when he disposed of the application on paper. In my judgment the appeal also has a sufficient prospect of success to meet the normal rules.

17

I would simply add that Mr Matthew Reed has told the court, on instructions, that there are clear notices on the estates that cars parked without valid permits are liable to be clamped.

Order: Permission to appeal granted. Costs reserved to the appeal.

[2002] EWCA Civ 582

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF JUDICATURE B2/2001/1578

IN THE COURT OF APPEAL (CIVIL DIVISION) B2/2001/1578/A

ON APPEAL FROM SHOREDITCH COUNTY COURT

(His Honour Judge Cotran)

Royal Courts of Justice

Strand

London WC2

Before

Lord Justice Buxton

Mr Justice Moses

Marcel Akumah
Claimant/Respondent
and
London Borough of Hackney
Defendant/Appellant

MR E ROBB (Instructed by Hackney Legal Services, 2nd Floor, 183–187 Stoke Newington High Street, London N16 0LH) appeared on behalf of the Appellant

MR S KADRI QC and MR E PIPI (Instructed by Messrs Clifford Watts Compton, 160 Holloway Road, London N7 8DD) appeared on behalf of the Respondent

LORD JUSTICE BUXTON
1

I will ask Mr Justice Moses to give the first judgment.

MR JUSTICE MOSES
2

This is an appeal by the Mayor and Burgesses of the London Borough of Hackney ("the council"), with permission of the full court, against a decision of His Honour Judge Cotran given on 29th June 2001 at the Shoreditch County Court. He allowed an appeal from a decision of District Judge Wright delivered on 22nd February 2001. She had dismissed the respondent Mr Akumah's claim.

3

On three occasions the council had clamped Mr Akumah's car where it was parked on Woodbury Down Estate. That estate belongs to the council and is managed by it. The council operates a parking scheme on the estate. There were no specific findings in relation to the details of that scheme in either of the judgments of the two judges, but exhibits and Housing Estate Committee documents provide sufficient information for the purposes of the particular points raised in this appeal.

4

The council operates a parking scheme on the estate. It enables residents, who may purchase permits to park on designated spaces for their visitors, to purchase 10 vouchers for £2.50 in respect of those visitors. Each voucher has a space in which can be inserted the day, the month, the year, the hour and the minute, presumably of first parking, and the registration number of the car. The instructions on the front of the permit say that the permit must be displayed visibly so it can be read from the outside of the vehicle, and that it is an offence to park without displaying a valid permit. A new voucher is required for...

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3 cases
  • Akumah v Hackney London Borough Council
    • United Kingdom
    • House of Lords
    • 3 March 2005
    ...Hale of Richmond Lord Carswell Akumah (FC) (Appellant) and London Borough of Hackney (Respondents) SESSION 2004-05 on appeal from: [2002] EWCA Civ 582 OPINIONS OF THE LORDS OF APPEAL FOR JUDGMENT IN THE CAUSE LORD HOFFMANN My Lords, 1 I agree that this appeal should be dismissed for the rea......
  • Rochdale Borough Council v Dixon
    • United Kingdom
    • Court of Appeal
    • 20 October 2011
    ...21 of HA 1985, citing Attorney-General v. Crayford Urban District Council [1962] 1 Ch 575 (CA) at 587, 589, 590/592, and Akumah v. Hackney London Borough Council [2005] UKHL 17, [2005] 1 WLR 985 at [21]. The ineffective variation issue 52 Mr Westgate's submission under this ground of appea......
  • Risk Management Partners Ltd v Brent London Borough Council (No 1)
    • United Kingdom
    • Queen's Bench Division (Administrative Court)
    • 22 April 2008
    ...Fulham London Borough Council [1992] 2 A.C. 1, 29. 68 The two most recent authorities relied upon by Mr Giffin and Mr Goudie, namely Akumah v Hackney LBC [2005] UKHL 17, [2005] 1 WLR 985, and Re Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission [2002] UKHL 25, [2002] HRLR 35, support Brent's and......

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