Clause 76 - Representations and appeals

Traffic Management Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:10 pm on 5th February 2004.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

The Minister said in response to a question about the cost of appeals that normally there were no costs. Subsection (5) states:

''The regulations may include provision authorising an adjudicator to make an order for the payment of costs and expenses by a party to an appeal in such circumstances as may be specified.''

Obviously, that is something that the Committee has no control over because it will be subject to regulations. But this is an opportunity to ask the Minister what he has in mind in relation to regulations, including such provisions.

Photo of Mr David Jamieson Mr David Jamieson Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport

This clause meets some of the hon. Gentleman's earlier requests. In certain circumstances, the adjudicator could make an order for the payment of costs and expenses where he thought it appropriate.

Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

Is the Minister therefore saying that he will bring forward regulations to that effect? If so, can he assure us that those regulations will be even-handed between the parties to an adjudication? Will they cover the situation in which, as happens frequently in London, the respondent to the appeal, the local authority, does not contest it and does not even put in an appearance? Will the provision cover that situation, perhaps with an automatic award of costs against the local authority?

Photo of John Mann John Mann Labour, Bassetlaw

Does the definition of adjudication incorporate magistrates' courts?

Photo of Mr David Jamieson Mr David Jamieson Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport

The clause seeks to replicate what is in the Road Traffic (Parking Adjudicators) (England and Wales) Regulations 1999. If the hon. Gentleman is not familiar with those, it may be helpful if I read them out.

Photo of Mr David Jamieson Mr David Jamieson Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Transport

Indeed, so I shall read them out. Regulation 12 says:

''The adjudicator shall not normally make an order awarding costs and expenses, but may, subject to paragraph (2), make such an order—(a) against a party (including an appellant who has withdrawn his appeal or a local authority that has consented to an appeal being allowed) if he is of the opinion that the party has acted frivolously or vexatiously or that his conduct in making, pursuing or resisting an appeal was wholly unreasonable; or (b) against the local authority, where he considers that the disputed decision was wholly unreasonable.''

I hope that that is helpful. There is no automatic award of costs; the adjudicator will decide.

Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)

I am grateful to the Minister for putting that on the record.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 76 ordered to stand part of the Bill.