A member of the
public who received a parking fine through the post refused to pay the fine by
quoting the Bill of Rights Act 1689:
grants and promises of fines and forfeitures of particular persons before
conviction are illegal and void".
conviction" means that no fine or forfeit can be imposed until and unless the
individual is convicted in a court of law.
Of course, under
constitutional law, the Bill of Rights Act 1689 gives way to the Road Traffic
Acts of 1991 and 1994. This is because Road Traffic Acts provide for penalties
outside of a court and, under British law, it is the later Act
that takes precedence. Thus, the Road Traffic Acts of 1991 and 1994 repeal the
Bill of Rights Act to the extent that they differ.
Divisional Court ruling in the case of the "Metric Martyrs" (sections 62 and
recognise a hierarchy of Acts of Parliament: as it were "ordinary" statutes and
"constitutional statutes". The special status of constitutional statutes
follows the special status of constitutional rights. Examples are the Magna
Carta, Bill of Rights 1689
Ordinary statutes may be impliedly repealed.
Constitutional statutes may not
Divisional Court ruled, the European Communities Act 1972, requiring metric,
could and must repeal the Weights and Measures Act 1985 (allowing pounds and
ounces), because the former was a "constitutional act" and the latter
"ordinary". This is the point on which Sunderland greengrocer
Thoburn and his co-defendants were convicted as criminals for
selling in pounds and ounces.
Herein lies the
conflict. During the 1990s, the majority of local councils in England and Wales
"decriminalised" the levying of parking fines. This means that, instead of
referring disputes over penalties to legal bodies such as magistates courts,
now, disputes are heard by administrative bodies:
But if the
Divisional Court's ruling is true, Local Authorities covered by the above two
schemes, are now acting unlawfully, since the Bill of Rights Act 1689 was
specifically classified as a "constitutional Act". The Road Traffic Acts 1991
and 1994 others like it are, by contrast, "ordinary" Acts. Unless the road
traffic acts expressly refer to the fundamental rights laid down by the Bill of
Rights Act (which they do not), they must fall by the wayside since, according
to the Divisional Court, the Bill of Rights Act cannot be impliedly repealed.
It is a constitutional Act that protects our "constitutional rights".
constitutional Acts like the Bill of Rights and the European Communities Act
cannot be impliedly repealed, why are local authorities still collecting
penalties from the public without conviction? Presumably, local authorities do
so because they do not agree with the Divisional Court; they believe that the
Bill of Rights Act was repealed impliedly by the Road Traffic Act. But, if
this is so, what is the legal basis for prosecuting traders using pounds and
Please note, BWMA is unable to give advice or support regarding
parking ticket disputes. Please instead visit: