Friday, 3 June 2011

What price justice? Sky-high if Barnet council has its way!

David Attfield, the lawyer leading the campaign against Barnet council's proposed CPZ fees hike, faces crippling legal costs if he loses in the High Court. Why? Because Barnet pushed for there to be no cap on the costs that the losing side must pay. And Barnet are making sure their fees go sky-high as they have retained a top QC, James Goudie, to represent them.

That's our money Barnet council are staking on the outcome of this court case!

David Attfield and the concerned residents of Barnet who live in a Controlled Parking Zone and resent the huge hike in fees have a right to test the legality of what Barnet is doing.

If Barnet council cared about justice and about justice being seen to be done they would accept that, accept a cap on fees, and just let the judge get on and decide the points of law. Instead, their action threatens to cheat the angry residents of their day in court by inflating the costs and frightening them into dropping the case.

I know that a number of residents met last night to discuss their response to this latest blow. I don't know what they have decided. If they decide to go all the way and Barnet council loses, it will be on the council's head as far as I'm concerned. I don't see why David Attfield et al should be morally blackmailed.

Here's the latest Times series report of the case and here is the Barnet CPZ Action blog.

Around 10% of Barnet residents live in a CPZ.


Don't Call Me Dave said...

The CPZ policy was introduced by a bully boy councillor, so what did you expect? Barnet don’t give a shit if they lose as it won’t be their money they have to fork out in legal costs. It’s ours. It’s win-win for them. Perhaps the judge should have insisted on a level playing field by stating that if the residents win their case, the councillor responsible would personally have to pay their costs.

When Eric Pickles and David Cameron talk about the Big Society, perhaps the behaviour, words and deeds of Barnet Council will act as a salutary reminder to residents that they are talking bollocks.

Apologies for the vocabulary malfunction.

Citizen Barnet said...

You're not a fan of Pickles then, David?

Don't Call Me Dave said...

Eric Pickles talks the talk, but he doesn’t walk the walk. I admire many of his ideas with regard to local government reform but he is either unwilling or unable to bring them to fruition.

David Duff said...

It's called democracy. You see, an electorate votes in a government and the government concerned then implements its programme. After a certain length of time you have the chance to change the government if it is not to your liking.

Then there is sectarianism which is rule by a self-appointed sect or group which demands that everything a government does must first be approved by them.

Which do you prefer?

And, yes, I did enjoy my holiday, thanks for asking - er, you did ask, didn't you?

Citizen Barnet said...

Hello, David (Duff). I was over at Barnet Eye mentioning that I hadn't heard from you in a while. Might have guessed you were lounging about in the sun.

"Government programme": does that mean we have to put up with any old crap they come up with during their period of office? Ditto, an elected administration in local government?

Pretty impoverished view of democracy you have, Mr Duff.

I kind of know what you mean, David (DCMD). Having seen Pickles on television, he does look too laid back.

I'm confused about the localism thing, anyway. Pickles seems to have a completely hands-off attitude to local (incl Tory) administrations. At the same time as he appears on telly saying that localism is about empowering residents, not councils. That's certainly not how Barnet council interprets 'localism' - and we are left at their mercy.

Citizen Barnet said...

Re the CPZ campaign: I glean from their tweets (follow them on Twitter @BarnetCPZaction) that they are going to pursue the case. They have a no win, no fee lawyer, and they reckon they can raise the money for the insurance that they need. Although they will have to work hard to raise the money.

Don't Call Me Dave said...

Mr Duff is correct to say that we can vote out of office an administration that we do not support, but the problem we have at the moment is that all politicians make various promises to induce us to vote for them but none of them ever deliver. There is no democratic mandate for this coalition government.

With regard to the subject matter of this blogpost, citizens must be allowed the right to challenge the legality of a decision taken by their local authority. The decision taken by Barnet with regard to the CPZ challenge was a deliberate attempt by the council to quash dissent, using taxpayers’ money to do so. Barnet has previously been challenged successfully over its policy decisions (involving the same councillor) and they are clearly scared at the prospect of losing again.

If the rule of law means anything, it applies to governments as much as to the governed.

Mrs Angry said...

I see Vicki has lured Duff back with her womanly charms: what a flirt.Holiday, Duff? Benghazi? Cairo? Bendidorm?

I'm not sure that any Tory minister actually believes in localism, or understands what it means. Certainly Pickles has no real interest in supporting the empowerment of local residents - if he did he would be happy to be seen sanctioning the lunatic councillors of Barnet.

Rog T said...

Maybe he was giving her Maj pleasure. About the only person he could really

Mrs David Duff said...

Actually, my dear husband was recovering from a rather embarrassing minor operation. Sadly, it has failed to have the desired effect. I was rather hoping they'd keep him, but they gave him back eventually.