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Metric Culprits

Confidence in Metric Martyrs judgement crumbling

Official guidance issued to Members of Parliament on the February 2002 Divisional Court ruling by Lord Justice Laws describes the judgement as mere "opinion ... not universally accepted amongst judges or legislators".

This remarkable about-turn follows the BWMA/Metric Martyrs Defence Fund identification of the effect of the ruling on Parking Fines.

Lord Justice Laws overturned the 1985 Weights and Measures Act allowing pounds and ounces by creating a new system of "constitutional" Acts. Under this new system of law, the earlier 1972 European Communities Act, requiring metric, was said by Lord Justice Laws to take precedence over the later 1985 Act because it was a "constitutional" Act.

BWMA/MMDF have challenged this judgement by using it against the Government's interests. Thus, BWMA/MMDF have identified other old Acts, described by Lord Justice Laws as "constitutional", that conflict with current laws required by the Government for revenue collecting. Such laws include the 1991 and 1994 Road Traffic Acts that allow public authorities to impose parking fines without allowing Court appeals, instead relying on administrative appeal processes.

Such parking fines conflict with the Bill of Rights 1689, declared by Lord Justice Laws to be a "constitutional" Act, which says: "... all grants and promises of fines and forfeitures of particular persons before conviction are illegal and void". In other words, a system of parking fines that does not allow recourse to the courts is unlawful.

The effect of the BWMA/MMDF campaign is that the establishment is now distancing itself from the Lord Justice Laws judgement, as indicated by the above advice to members of Parliament.

Enquiries are under way to identify the judges and legislators who oppose the Lord Justice Laws ruling.

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