Pay to Play – Admin Fees to Challenge a Citation


Pay to Play – Admin Fees to Challenge a Citation

Parking fees are on the rise – fines are being raised, fees to remove boots are going up. Fair Enough. Ok what about charging a fee to simply contest a parking ticket. And if you are found not guilty, you pay the fee anyway. Sound fair? Maybe not, but the precedent is there. Read about it here.

If you are sued, and anyone can sue anyone for anything, and end up going to court, there are court costs to be paid. Even if you prevail, the costs must be paid. Now you could argue that you are asking a third party (the court) to adjudicate your civil case so of course their costs should be covered but that this is not the same. It is also the case that court costs can be assessed in criminal cases, however this is usually done if you are found guilty.

In this case, the government is accusing you of some sort of violation. So if you are found to be in the right, why should you pay the government’s costs? Doesn’t this tell the public that they would be better off NOT fighting a ticket they thought was incorrectly issued? If you have to pay a cost simply to get your day in court, is it fair?

I’m of two minds on this one. Of course the court costs money, and those that use it should pay for the service. On the other hand, this payment becomes a fine simply to defend yourself against a suspected injustice.



Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

3 Responses

  1. We had something like this over here. Croydon Council used cameras to record people who drove in bus lanes or parked in no waiting areas and sent them a fine by post. If the offender wanted to see the evidence they were asked to pay for a copy of the picture. Fortunately we have a concept in English Common Law called natural justice, which roughly translates as fairness. Its not fair to ask you to pay to prove your innocent so forget it. I could have some sympathy with a fee to cover theadministrative costs of a challenge, to deter time wasters but only if its refundable to the innocent. Here the parking adjudicators can go further and award costs if the city is behaving stupidly.

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