Disputing Parking Fine at University of Newcastle

Hi all,

Hoping you guys can help me with this issue as I'm not sure who else to ask. Recently I parked at the Newcastle University. I went and bought a ticket for $4.40 at 8:15 AM. Came back to my car at around 7pm to find that I had a parking ticket. It took me a good 10 minutes to realise that I was parked in a teacher parking zone. One of the signs that ended the zone was not there, however there was a sign at the other end (first bay). I was parked in the last bay. Google maps shows that there used to be a sign there but is now gone.

I have posted pictures to make it clearer

Also worth noting is at the entrance to the parking area there is a general parking sign.

Thinking that this was a little unfair I contested the fine. I submitted the pictures showing that there was no parking sign and my $4.40 parking ticket and the sign at the entrance to the car park. I hadn't checked google maps at that point so I had no evidence to show that there once was a sign there.

I recently got a response. This is essentially the outcome: "We acknowledge your comments and images in relation to the signage and images provided.
However the issuing officer indicates vehicle "BLANK" was parked in a clearly signposted zone"

I do not intend to pay this fine ($80), as I don't believe this is correct. I really would like to avoid taking this to court, but it seems that since I have already contested the fine that is the only option left.

My question is, is there any other avenue to take before taking this to court? Is there any law on the correct way to display parking signs? My biggest beef is how can the officer claim that there is clear signage when there isn't. He is essentially lying on an official government issue with what will be basically be no repercussions. Is there anything I can do to follow up on that?

TL:DR Got a parking fine. One of the signs is missing but officers says its clearly signposted. Already contested. What can I do?

Related Stores

newcastle.edu.au
newcastle.edu.au

Comments

  •  

    So who issued the fine and who did you contest it with?

    Was it issued by the local Council? The University of Newcastle? A private car parking manager?

    If it's considered a private carpark that is not regulated by law (including local Council laws), then this video is very relevant…

    https://youtu.be/rw3fWb61wgQ

    If it's a private fine then I don't think there's any formal way to take it to court except through some type of civil suit?

    If you contested it with your university, then you might have some grounds to complain to the ombudsman but they don't have a lot of power.

    https://www.ombo.nsw.gov.au/what-we-do/our-work/universities

    • +1 vote

      Everything has been done through Revenue NSW. I need to double check the ticket tonight. The email has this at the bottom if that helps
      "As you accepted responsibility for the vehicle you will receive a penalty notice in your name.
      We will send you a penalty reminder notice showing other ways to pay. You must act by the due
      date on the reminder notice. If you do not, a $65.00 fee will be added to the money you already
      owe. If it remains unpaid further fees will be added and we will commence debt recovery action.
      As the penalty has been reviewed, if you wish to dispute the fine further you would need to
      request it be decided in court.
      You can manage your penalty online at www.revenue.nsw.gov.au/myPenalty, on your mobile by
      using the Service NSW app, or by phone on the number below between 7:30 am and 8:00 pm,
      Monday to Friday."

      •  

        How did you accept responsibility for the vehicle? By contesting it? Did you contest it with Revenue NSW?

        The fine might state the specific legislation under which you have committed an offence. Would be interesting to know what is the applicable law and then we can look it up to see if there might be some grounds to dispute it.

        •  

          When I contested with Revenue NSW I had to accept responsibility for the vehicle as part of the process. I will check tonight and get back on the applicable law. Thanks!

          • +2 votes

            @jestter: Okay I found some info for you…

            I think it might be a bit complex as the University is authorised by law to adopt it's own rules and have fine payments enforced through Revenue NSW.

            I found these rules…

            They are somewhat vague though, because they don't describe the categories of parking permits and it says the fines are listed in the schedule. But the schedule is not provided.

            Legally I suspect you could contest the fine on the basis that they did not publish the schedule to the above rules, and therefore the fine cannot have legal standing under section 20(3) of the University of Newcastle By-law 2017:

            (1) The Council may make rules (not inconsistent with the Act or this By-law) for or with respect to any or all of the matters for or with respect to which rules may be made under the Act…
            (3) A rule made by the Council must be published on the University website as soon as possible after the rule is made. [bold emphasis added]

            https://www.legislation.nsw.gov.au/#/view/regulation/2017/84...

            • -2 votes

              @inherentchoice: Lol.

              Please do not refer to legislation if you have no idea. You are completely wrong. You'll mislead OP.

              •  

                @zeggie: The legislation provides the head-of-power for issuing and enforcing fines, no? Am I completely wrong? Feel free to enlighten me.

              • -1 vote

                @zeggie: And just because you say it is wrong it is?
                Your advice given in another comment is pretty sound: obtain advice from a lawyer and do not obtain your legal advice from a forum.

                •  

                  @Lysander: Come on now.

                  You know inherentchoice is completely off track with his post there. They could only find one piece of relevant rules/laws/legislation, and even then interpreted it incorrectly.

                  • -1 vote

                    @zeggie: You have provided none so in my book inherentchoice wins in terms of effort.
                    You just slag off everyone else for their opinions and say they know nothing and you are right.
                    Not very convincing.
                    If I used your system in court I would be laughed out of court quicker than I could say objection.

                    •  

                      @Lysander: Are you serious?

                      My posts further below identify and link all the relevant rules\laws\legislation and appropriate entities for OP's infringement. They can be found free, online, by any individual. Everyone should know their rights.

                      I am permitted to post when another poster is offtrack and incorrect. Happens 1000 times a day here on OzBargain.

                      Not sure what your problem is, but if you have any comments or corrections for my below posts then I'm all ears! Is there anything incorrect? Or do you just have a bee in your bonnet for no apparent reason?

                      •  

                        @zeggie: Why are they incorrect? Because YOU say so and because YOUR interpretation of a law or regulation differs from yours.

                        As I said, unless there is a precedence (and even then at low level this means little), the law allows for different interpretations.
                        You telling people their interpretation is wrong (because it differs from you) is not appropriate in my humble opinion (both personal and professional opinion), especially if you are not even qualified in the law.

                        •  

                          @Lysander: Ah, so I'm not allowed to have an opinion on a public forum? Is that what you're saying?

                          Your argument is nonsensical and I'm not sure what you're hoping to achieve here.

                          •  

                            @zeggie: Okay. Anything you do not like is "crap" and "non-sensical". I understand now.

                            You are allowed to have an opinion but you do not seem to allow others the same privilege as you immediately tell them their opinion is wrong.

                            •  

                              @Lysander: Everyone is entitled to say I am wrong about something. In fact, I invited you to do so in a comment further down the thread.

        • +1 vote

          How did you accept responsibility for the vehicle?

          That would mean OP basically admits they parked it, not that they parked against the signs. They accepted they were driving

  •  

    Missing sign from Google map has no relevance as it is not there when you parked.

  • +1 vote

    In your picture the carpark looks pretty small. 2 signs may have been overkill, it is possible having one sign is enough.

    You could comb through

    A technical manual from the RMS on pay parking
    https://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/business-industry/partners-suppli...

    UoN rules for parking
    https://policies.newcastle.edu.au/document/view-current.php?...

    to try and figure it out, or go to your student union for help they often have legal advice.

    • +1 vote

      Thanks I might try the student union, that's good advice.

      On the size of the carpark, the side that I parked on has 9 spaces and the one sign at one end. Directly behind it is 6 spaces and two teacher parking signs (one at each end). I am not trying to argue that because one side did it both sides should, but rather since it is signed at the entrance to that carpark as general parking, then it needs to be clearly signed as teacher parking. I had no reason to believe that it wasn't general parking.

      •  

        Yeah, you might get lucky with UN union, quite a few lefties there were very active back the day i was there. Not sure of now tho. You musy have been new or ignorant to the rules around the campus because as I remembered most of the student parking were limited to front side of the uni or on the far west and east side of the campus, anything along that road leading up to the sport centre were pretty much reserved for staff

  • +5 votes

    OP, here is the correct answer - you should obtain legal advice if you wish to contest this.

    The following is not legal advice:

    Revenue NSW has jurisdiction to issue and enforce fines for all University of Newcastle campuses. The fines are issued under University Rules pursuant to the Road Rules 2014 (NSW).

    As to your belief the missing sign is a defence to this offence, you are unfortunately wrong. No sign is required to "end" a zone. The designated area (parking bays) clearly has an end.

    s204(1) UoN signs meet the basic requirements of permissive parking signs under the Rules.

    s317(1)(b) a single sign can indicate the length or road or area in which the parking restriction applies.

    s320(1)(a) the sign (which you saw and appears in the far left of your second photo) is sufficient to meet the requirements of the Rules.

    s326(1)(2) the sign's arrow indicates the length of area and does not indicate a limit or distance to it's application.

    You can contest in Court. That is your only other option. Your chance of winning, in my personal opinion only, is none.

    •  

      issued under University Rules pursuant to the Road Rules 2014 (NSW)

      I think this bit is inaccurate? The University Rules are issued pursuant to section 20(3) of the University of Newcastle By-law 2017 as I mentioned above. Maybe I'm just misunderstanding you though?

      • +1 vote

        I'm sorry but I don't have the time to teach you law.

        University of Newcastle By-law 2017 section 20(1) permits the University Council to make rules.

        They did.

        It's called the University Rules Governing Traffic and Parking (linked above).

        In those Rules, parking infringements are issued by the University pursuant to the Self-Enforcing Infringement Notice Scheme.

        This falls under the jurisdiction of NSW Revenue by virtue of an infringement under the Fines Act 1996 for an offence contained in the Road Rules 2014.

        This is why NSW Revenue are the responsible entity handling the fine.

        • -2 votes

          Are you a lawyer?

          If not please refrain from giving legal advice on a forum like Ozbargain.

          It could get them and you in hot water.

          https://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/law-order/malcolm-mclure-f...

          •  

            @Lysander: You don't need to be a lawyer to understand and interpret the law. You need to be a lawyer to provide a client legal advice.

            Regardless:

            1. I clearly stated to the OP to seek legal advice; and
            2. I then provided a personal opinion clearly stating it was not legal advice.

            I see absolutely no problem with my post.

            • -1 vote

              @zeggie: In that case, please don't be so negative and derisory about other people's opinions about the law - you are not a laywer and even if you were, absent legal precedence, there is a lot of interpretation in the law - it is NOT black and white meaning you cannot say someone is wrong merely because their interpretation differs from yours.

              And this post here:

              "I'm sorry but I don't have the time to teach you law.

              University of Newcastle By-law 2017 section 20(1) permits the University Council to make rules.

              They did.

              It's called the University Rules Governing Traffic and Parking (linked above).

              In those Rules, parking infringements are issued by the University pursuant to the Self-Enforcing Infringement Notice Scheme.

              This falls under the jurisdiction of NSW Revenue by virtue of an infringement under the Fines Act 1996 for an offence contained in the Road Rules 2014.

              This is why NSW Revenue are the responsible entity handling the fine."

              does not make it clear it is an opinion - if a person only reads this it does sound like legal advice/guidance.

              This is a very big minefield which is why many websites prohibit any legal topics in their entirety.

              •  

                @Lysander: OP has an infringement on their desk from NSW Revenue. Do you dispute they have authority to issue this infringement?

                This is the bit where I wait for you to identify a single piece of my post in which I am incorrect. Can you identify anything?

                • -1 vote

                  @zeggie: Well, I probably could if I wanted to (as I am qualified in the field of law) spend time on it but as I need to do some work for clients who really need help I won't. I need to earn a living and help them avoid eviction, loss of support etc. I think right now that is more important than dealing with your need to be right.

                  All I am saying is:

                  • do not provide your opinion in a way that sounds like you are qualified and give legal advice
                  • do not be so derisory and negative/judgmental in relation to other people's interpretations/opinions of a law or regulation as they could be right and you could be wrong
                  • refrain from saying things like "I do not have time to teach you the law" - again makes it sound like you are qualified and provide legal advice - statements like these totally negate saying this is just an opinion as then most people will think it is a qualified/professional opinion
                  •  

                    @Lysander: That sounds a lot like you're giving me legal advice and education.

                    You shouldn't do that on a public forum.

                    Since you have confirmed you are a legal professional, I accept your offer of legal advice and intend to rely on it.

                    •  

                      @zeggie: I do not have any problem with this as I am qualified.
                      Won't take your bait. Sorry. It might work playing cards but not here.

    •  

      Hi Zeggie, thanks for responding. the car park is a little bigger than that section. https://imgur.com/a/4gdIyKX

      As per the legislation you linked:

      s332(1): If a parking control sign displays an arrow and is at the side of a road, then, unless information on or with the sign indicates otherwise, the sign applies to the length of road between the sign and the nearest (in the direction indicated by the arrow) of the following:

      (a) a parking control sign at that side of the road that displays an arrow indicating the opposite direction,
      (b) a yellow edge line on the road,
      (c) if the road ends at a T-intersection or dead end—the end of the road.

      Does this not imply that the entire carpark is a teacher parking zone? However thatis not the case and the next section is general parking, without meeting the requirements set by the legislation.

      Apologies if my original post wasn't clear on the carpark area.

      •  

        s332(1):

        The sign is not on a designated road. It is in a parking area. This section wouldn't apply. See section 12 and section 13(1)(d)

        I found the location easily on Google Maps. 6 car spaces on the west side. 9 car spaces on the east side. All in a confined area. Each staff sign is pointing towards or from a dead end or end of a bay. Signs are not more than ~19.2 metres from the furthest space you could have parked in, which is the grey car in your second photo of your original post, which is completely acceptable.

        The area is clearly defined.

  •  

    Short version … whoever you've been speaking to have stiffed you (fairly or otherwise) for $80. They will pursue this through debt recovery, etc. if you don't pay.

    You have two options … (1) pay up and move on, (2) take it to court and take your chances.

    The parking infringement game has been set up to make you pay. It's a total rort, but that's how it's been set up.

  • -2 votes

    OP, put on your work uniform, go to court, show remorse and sob while you tell the magistrate that you're barely making ends meet. Tell them you're struggling with your bills and this fine is going to hit you hard. Ask for a caution or a payment plan.

    •  

      payment plan

      The infringement states how to arrange a repayment arrangement.

      You elect to go to Court and ask for a repayment arrangement, you'll be slapped with a costs order for wasting the public official who needs to attend and Magistrate's time.

  • -1 vote

    You can submit a second review, do it before the PRN (Penalty reminder notice) due date. Also go and see security before and explain, say that you have submitted a review and the outcome, state you are going to court as you have photos that show the signage was not present and the officer was lying. They may panic and get SDRO to cancel it.

    But submit your second review with the additional photos.

    •  

      You can submit a second review

      No you can't.

      show the signage was not present

      Yes it was. No more than ~19.2 metres away from the furthest bay.

      and the officer was lying

      The officer did not lie and the fine is valid.

      They may panic and get SDRO to cancel it

      It's out of their hands when processed under SEINS. They cannot "recall" the fine or do anything further.

      • +1 vote

        Zeggie,

        I have done this for 15 years, yes i am one of the people who make the decisions.

        Yes we can do a second review.

        The officer did lie, if they are claiming the signage was clear, yet the recipient has photos showing it wasn't. What do you call that?

        They (Uni/Security) can cancel the penalty at any stage by contacting the SDRO. We even preview Court Elections before they are finalised and if we pick up an error etc, we contact the issuing authority and say "the client has elected to go to court, we have found an issue and it should be cancelled". They take our advice.

        •  

          yet the recipient has photos showing it wasn't.

          The sign is clearly visible in OP's photo

          The rest is irrelevant.

        •  

          So you're saying that the authorised officer or their department may cancel a penalty notice any time they want. That's good to know.

            •  

              @askme69: They can't at this stage of OP's particular situation. I'm not going to bother arguing or proving exactly why as I simply don't have the energy or need.

              •  

                @zeggie: Zeggie, I do this for a living. The issuing authority can request a penalty to be cancelled at any stage.

                To the OP: But after looking at your photos. You don not have any grounds, take it to court.

                The sign is on the entrance to the area, Permit Parking. You do not have a valid permit. The technicality you could have used if you had a student permit was that the sign upon entering said General Permit and no additional signage was present stating exactly what type of permit.

                But as you had ticket, parking is invalid at the location. PS:I know the area, i was a student for years at Callaghan.

                PS: All entrances to the majority of Uni's in NSW (Including Callaghan) have HUGE signs stating: "Restricted Parking" which basically means you either pay or permit park everywhere. They have themselves covered pretty well.

                •  

                  @askme69:

                  The sign is on the entrance to the area, Permit Parking. You do not have a valid permit.

                  I'm starting to believe you did not actually read OP's post, nor mine. Read OP's third sentence.

                  •  

                    @zeggie: OP says he bought a ticket. A ticket is not a permit. A ticket is a temporary agreement to park in a designated area for a designated period of time. A permit is issued to a particular class of person which allows them to park in a designated area with or without time limitations.

                    •  

                      @4sure: Please provide a citation, for any relevation legislation\rule\act, that states that a ticket in this exact scenario is not a permit.

  • -3 votes

    This information is based on VIC information, private car parks are sometimes enforced by local Councils. Councils will follow whatever relevant road rules exist and are applicable for enforcement.

    The reason I bring this up is Council's will only enforce after a contract/agreement has been made between the two parties.

    Assuming it the infringement was issued by a Council officer, possible avenues of dispute are:

    1. Was the officer authorised to issue fines?
    2. Under what authorisation/authority does the officer have to issue fines?
    3. Can the officer/Council confirm if the signs are compliant to relevant standards?
    4. Is there an agreement in place between Council and private land owner for Council's enforcement?

    I'm aware that point 4, in Victoria, has gotten a few people out of fines because the agreements were not re-signed or there were conditions within that weren't adhered to. For example, the document would state who is responsible for maintaining the infrastructure (signs) which is typically Council, such that you could ask if all the signs at the site are compliant and in line with relevant standards and agreements. A request for Freedom of Information (FOI) to the Council for the contract, depending on costs, would allow you to review this information.

    With reference to points 1 and 2, one major Council in Victoria got caught out with this such that they had to refund several million dollars of unauthorised issuing of fines. They used contractors to issue fines in place of bonafide authorised Council officers.

    With reference point 3, the Australian standards indicate that a sign must have X, Y, Z parameters. Eg. font size, wording, placement etc. The standards are unclear as to how much a sign must comply with its requirement to be enforceable, for example, is a 95% compliant sign still enforceable (for instance, its font size may be one point different from the required size, but it still presents the relevant information). Some Councils take the conservative approach such that unless they are comfortable that the sign is 100% complaint, then they drop infringements which are disputed on this aspect. The actual issuing officer is unlikely to know the level of compliance, hence, specifically singling out that officer rather than obtaining the view of the Council/organisation.

    If the fine was issued by a private organisation, then there's a lot of online information about how people get out of these too.

    •  

      I'll wait for @lysander to state how incredibly wrong you are. He's the authority here. Apparently.

      •  

        Just trying to help out OP with my knowledge from my position within a metropolitan Victorian Council.

        Not here to prove anyone wrong or right, but just provide my experiences on OPs issue and how infringements have been withdrawn within my and neighbouring Councils, and within private car parks that we enforce.

        As stated, the earlier advice pertains to Victorian Councils, I don't know it if applies to NSW. The information is only from a Victorian Council perspective and assuming they are the organisation enforcing the parking.

        A Victoria Council had to pay back nearly $3million back to the public because of unauthorised issuing of fines, as raised in my points 1 and 2. A minor wording issue resulted in another Council paying back $2.5million for the last several years of fines as per above points 3 and 4. My Council will withdraw fines if certain aspects of the enforcement process are raised as part of the 'request for infringement review'.

        My earlier commentary was deliberately outside of the discussion chain to that point. I'm just providing some information which I thought may assist OP on how I and others have gotten out of fines in Victoria.

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