Equity is how you can bring your Creator to court
We have to appeal to a higher authority than the state in order to defeat communists
As part of my personal pushback against the abusive and thieving administrative state, I am appealing to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal against my Penalty Charge Notice for having dared to drive my “car derived van” into Newcastle and desiring to be treated the same as all other cars on the road. This is a case about the fundamental right to be treated equitably in one’s use of the highways. I have put together the following outline argument to the judge.
I am testing whether this administrative tribunal will allow me to make my case based on the rules of equity. These rules are founded in the notion that we are all created equal (by a Creator), and therefore must be treated the same by the law, where all else is equal. I am not being treated the same: my Ford Escort van only differs in appearance to a Ford Escort saloon, hatchback, or estate car. As a result, my freedom to travel is being eroded. You may find this case helpful in putting together your own pushback.
As I tend to do, this is a draft I am sharing before submission, so I can hear what contributions and improvements readers have to offer. I only have comments turned on in SubStack for paying subscribers (all the content is free to everyone), but anyone who reads this from the email can just hit reply to get back to me.
1. Newcastle City Council (NCC) has implemented Clean Air Zone (CAZ) rules that elevate the form of my conveyance (van body type) over its substance (Ford Escort engine and chassis used for private non-commercial travel) in a discriminatory manner. By being in opposition to the principles of equity it crosses a “red line”, unfairly penalising the appearance of my car, for which there is no legislative or lawful authority.
2. There are other matters of breach of common law principles, human rights law, and international treaty obligations on non-discrimination, but this equity matter is the pivotal point to be ruled on.
3. The determination in question is the administrative classification of a “car derived van” (as recorded by DVLA) as a van rather than a car. The dispute, over whether it is a car or van, represents a corner case. This is not the first time a tribunal has faced this kind of determination, to which we return below. This is not a challenge to the lawfullnes of CAZs in general; the dispute is restricted to this one matter.
4. On the one hand we have clearly fully private travel in a standard car that is exempt from the CAZ charge, and on the other there is driving a speciialised fully commercial vehicle that is presently charged. There are situations where the facts and the rules are in tension, and could fall either way.
5. Is the boundary of our “apex corner case” drawn too inclusive of one side or the other? This situation is precisely what equity addresses, allowing for nuance rather than mindless application of rules in ways that contradict morality and reason.
6. The controversy that equity resolves is whether NCC has the ultimate lawful power to categorise and tax the use of my conveyance as if it were a commercial goods vehicle, when the facts say otherwise. This is in the context of my car being factually operated in solely a private capacity for social, domestic, and pleasure use.
7. Can NCC lawfully (and not merely legally) differentially charge me compared to other travellers in, say, Ford Escort saloon, estate, or hatchback cars? Whether these models are compliant (or not) with the CAZ emissions standard is moot; the sole issue is whether there is lawful authority to treat this conveyance (and myself as a traveller) on a differential (and potentially discriminatory and thus unlawful) basis.
8. This case is about (a) protecting the private individual’s right to travel without hindrance on the public highways, (b) protecting his right to choose the style of his conveyance as long as it causes no harm or loss to others, (c) respecting fairness and equity in making and determination of the trade-off of the rights and obligations of the parties involved.
9. Parliament does not have the power to regulate purely private matters (like the style of my conveyance), nor the power to create to privileged classes of traveller in an inequitable manner; more on this below. That is why we differentiate between law and legislation, as some legislation is unlawful, due to its discriminatory, immoral, or unreasonable nature.
10. The essence of the NCC case is a conflation of “legal” and “lawful” using primary, secondary legislation and administrative policy to bypass hard constraints on legislative and executive power. These limits on power include case law, constitutional law, international treaties, and especially the rules of equity.
11. For every infringement of basic civil rights, equity principles, or case law there may be a new administrative rule (e.g. “we declare that how you use or insure the vehicle is not a cause for exemption”). These rules are impeccably enforced, and there is no suggestion here that NCC has done anything other than follow its own rules to the letter.
12. Unfortunately, that does not make NCC’s actions lawful, only temporarily legal, until overturned by case law, judicial review, or tribunal verdict. This all comes down to where authority to act arises from, and the sovereignty of the people, each man or woman being of infinite worth, with Parliament as the people’s servant, not their master.
13. As such, the relevant standard for adjudication is lawfulness, as in England we enjoy the rule of law, not the law of rules. However the adjudicator may feel about a transgression of the strict rules, when those rules lack a chain of authority that goes back to our Creator, his or her duty is to uphold the law, which is rooted in a higher (and holy) authority.
14. To elevate policies (like how DVLA turns “vehicle type” into “CAZ vehicle type”) above truth and morality is to put administrators into a position of ruling authority over society, which is unconstitutional as well as immoral.
15. A foundational principle of law is that we are all equal; unless our Creator can be brought into court to testify otherwise. This is the root authority that equity flows from, and is why equity (i.e. an implied appeal to our Creator’s authority) is above Parliament, and is the determining framework of law in this corner case.
16. We must still treat others as we would be treated ourselves in comparable circumstances; natural moral law comes first in the pecking order. Equity aligns to that natural moral law and holy principles, and limits Parliament from straying outside of it when legislating, thereby becoming tyrannical.
17. We may have registered our birth, and our vehicle, and obtained a driving licence. As a consequence, we may be deemed to have entered into commerce with the Crown. None of these things can overturn the superior claim of being a man, and deserving of equal treatment.
18. In this case I am firstly a living man, being a traveller in my private conveyance. I am also attached to the legal fiction “Mr Martin Geddes” whose name appears in the court proceedings and is the registered keeper. Equity applies to both the living man and the legal fiction. I offer this filing and plea as a living man, standing on behalf of the legal fiction.
19. In the context of Boris Johnson asking to prorogue Parliament, the UK Supreme Court ruled in 2019 that: (a) Both the legislature and executive remain bound by the rules of equity; (b) That Parliament is only sovereign over the executive, and remains an agent of the people, thereby constrained to act in their interest; and (c) that the Bill of Rights 1689 still applies, hence Parliament may do nothing to the detriment of the people.
20. That there are limits on the power of the legislature, including equity, is not some archaic and outdated concept. No legislation can permit one man to treat another man in a way he himself finds iniquitous if the roles were reversed; that is to elevate Parliament above our Creator and sacred morality.
21. Moving from limits on power to more technical matters, this is not the first time a tribunal has been asked to rule on a corner case of categorisation for tax purposes. A famous and relevant example (but not binding as case law) highlights the central issue of form vs substance under the rules of equity. This is the case of United Biscuits (UK) Ltd v Customs and Excise .
22. Are McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes considered to be cakes (and exempt from VAT as an essential good) or chocolate biscuits (thus subject to 20% VAT as a luxury item)? The taxman argued that they were packaged like biscuits, sold like biscuits, eaten like biscuits, made by a biscuit company, and the public (when polled) said they were biscuits. Yet McVitie’s carried the day by the facts: that they were made from cake batter, and went hard when stale (like a cake) and not soft (like a biscuit). A Jaffa Cake is a cake, not a biscuit.
23. The equity principle here is as follows: what mattered in the tax category determination was the literal substance of the issue, i.e. what it was made from (cake-like), how it was used (biscuit-like), and what it became (cake-like). Two out of three was enough to make it a cake for tax purposes, a status that benefits Jaffa Cake connoiseurs like myself to this day.
24. How ithe product was presented or marketed were only issues of form, and thus subsidiary. The opinion of third parties was not a sufficient determining factor, either — be it public opinion polls, or DVLA.
25. The parallels to the matter of whether my conveyance is an untaxed private car or a taxed goods van are easy to discern: is my “car derived van” a “cake” (car, uncharged) or “biscuit” (van, charged)?
26. This analogous case translates into our presenting siutation as follows: my personal carriage is made from the same basic components as any other Ford Escort car; it is being used (and insured) the same as any other Ford Escort car in private oersonal use; and its exhaust emissions are the same as any other Ford Escort car. All three point to it being a Ford Escort (i.e. a car’s chassis and engine), not a goods van (mere appearance), for the purposes of clean air zone enforcement.
27. How it was originally marketed, or how its seats and cargo space are organised, are only superficial form in respect of clean air zone enforcement. Form alone does not justify regulation and charging; there must be supporting substance.
28. This is the essential quality that determined this case: the substance of my personal and private conveyance is “car”, while its form is “van”. Substance trumps form in equity law. This leaves the tribunal no residual discretion to apply the letter of the rules that NCC imposes without regard to fairness or reasonableness.
29. If there is no substance to NCC’s claims, express or implied, that I am operating a goods vehicle, that causes harm to others in a way that justifies differential treatment, then their claim must be dismissed on the basis of equity.
30. Indeed, the rules of equity and obligation to treat all men equally has Biblical roots, and arguably this claim to regulate my car as a van breaks the mandate to love thy neighbour as oneself: if the boot was on the other foot, I would expect that a similar position to my own would be taken by the claimant’s representative (or the tribunal adjudicator).
31. This PCN also crashes against the Ten Commandments and the prohibition against stealing, since common sense and everyday manners say that I deserve equal treatment with a Ford Escort saloon, hatchback, or estate driver. There is accountability to our Creator for pursuit of legal cases made on a knowingly immoral basis, regardless of the judicial outcome.
32. In classifying a “car derived van” in private use as a van, NCC and DVLA are attempting to transform its van style into the substance of a truck like a Transit or Luton (which you might call a “van derived van”), or even into a specialist commercial vehicle like a JCB-type digger or 52 seat coach. This is a logical absurdity, and again violates the principles of equity that prefer facts and rationality. It is also a form of conversion, which again points to it being unlawful.
33. The underlying logic appears to be “some commercial vans are in frequent use and cause a lot of polliution”, joined to “you are driving something that looks like a commercial van”, to infer “you are causing a lot of pollution”. This is a false inference; not all vans are in commercial, mine is not commercial, and mine is not in frequent use in cities. NCC could have used an objective measure like vehicle weight, but chose not to.
34. If NCC asserts that my “car derived van” is necessarily involved in commerce because it may be useful for moving goods, the burden of proof is on them, and thus far no evidence has been offered. After all, many ordinary saloon cars are used in commerce, but there is no presumption of that being so. This presumption of acting in commerce, based only on form, goes against the facts of my case, and agains opposes equity.
35. This type of conversion (between private car and commercial van) has been justified by NCC on the basis of “data laundering” through the DVLA as a third party, blaming the DVLA, and transferring responsibility. The vehicle type was only ever collected for the purpose of driver and vehicle licensing. The data field Is correctly descriptive of the static physical conveyance itself, say should the police wish to identify it. But that is all it is.
36. This data field has been extended by NCC to infer its nature when deployed in operation, both in terms of its emissions class, as well as its commercial nature. This in to impute information that is not there: it is an “either way” general purpose conveyance, that can equally be used privately or in commerce. This over-extrapolation breaches the GDPR requirements for data to be accurate, transparently obtained, fairly used, and limited in purpose. By breaching a number of core data protection principles, NCC undermine their own case.
37. It is worth pointing out that applying the CAZ charge to a private “car derived van” is iniquitous in another relevant manner. For the road tax, DVLA charge a “car derived van” the same as a car, and less than any form of commercial goods vehicle. The road tax has reflected emissions for a number of years. That DVLA itself treats a “car derived van” the same as a car is further evidence, should it be needed, that the McVitie’s precedent applies.
38. There is also a form of “double dipping” with the CAZ fee. (It may be “triple dipping” with tax on diesel fuel.) The CAZ differential pricing for a “car derived van” is enrichment, violating equity once again, since it is based solely on form, not substance. Whatever public harm my Ford Escort may cause during highly infrequent trips to Newcastle, that is already accounted for through these existing levies. There is no suggestion my conveyance is anything other than compliant with emissions standards for ordinary private domestic use of the public highway, which this travel constitutes.
39. The problem of NCC sourcing its data from the DVLA categorisation runs even more deeply. A pedal cycle can be operated commercially (e.g. Deliveroo), and likewise a motorcycle (e.g. courier), or even a horse and card (e.g. rag and bone man). While it may be reasonable to presume a specialist tool like a crane is for commercial use only, this is clearly untrue across a swathe of types of conveyance. The term “van” in ordinary use simply refers to a wheeled wagon with a loadspace. There is nothing intrinsically commercial about a mororised wagon with two seats that can haul a modest cargo.
40. The CAZ rules appear arranged around the deficiencies in the data available, such as not knowing its insurance type (commercial or non-commercial). They are thus drawn over-broad to include everyone possible, in order to evade addressing the distinctions that affect the civil liberties of some travellers, for which there is no supporting computerised data available. This is unfortunate, but noes not justify unfairly penalising the few who occupy the “grey zone” where the data is ambiguous or uncertain.
41. To summarise the equity argument against this PCN, it is iniquitous because it (a) elevates form above substance, (b) unfairly penalises a traveller without a balancing public interest, (c) constitutes enrichment, as others in factually equivalent circumstances are not charged, (d) fails to achieve a fair balance of interests by treating what is substantially a car the same as the largest and most polluting HGV vehicle, (e) lacks fairness in how administrative data is obtained and processed.
42. Taken together, this charge is functionally equivalent to a “no rear windows” tax on my private car. There is no law that enables NCC to extract a charge on this basis.
43. As noted in my original representation, this discriminatory policy of treating a “car derived van” as a commercial goods vehicle, irrespective of the facts of its substance and use, violates superior law through international treaties that the UK is party to. Specifically, it violates ECHR Articles 2 and 14 on travel and non-discrimination, and ICCPR Articles 2 and 12 on non-discrimination and freedom of movement. There is no public interest in regulating the aesthetics of my car that permits these constraints on statute law to be ignored. Equity is sufficient grounds to dismiss this PCN, but these additional constraints force the matter. NCC is not above international law.
44. NCC make the argument that I have consented to their rules by passing their signage. This falls foul of hardened case law, specifically Olley v Marlborough Court Hotel , where the Law Lords made it clear that you cannot impose terms after the fact. At best the sign infers “someone may be charged for something; no penalty announced or agreed to”.
45. This is a known, and potentially existential, problem for all CAZs, since they present no opportunity to inspect terms, there is no signposted alternative route, and no penalty charge is notified in advance. These are not rules of the highway itself, but peripheral to the physical act of safe travel while operating a motor vehicle. Clean Air Zones are not part of the Highway Code, do not form rules of the road itself, and are not intrinsic to the safe sharing of the public highway.
46. These CAZ charges appear to be in a constitutional limbo. They operate under public environmental law, but have the look and feel of criminal fines or forfeits subject to longstanding constitutional limits of due process that ensure mercy. This includes Magna Carta  clause 29, The Statute of Marlborough  clauses 1 and 4, and Observance of due Process of Law  clause 3 — all being currently in force to this day. It is not to be obtuse by refering ancient law, but to highlight that the matter here concerns some of out most longstanding freedoms and customs (including unhindered travel on the public highway) that are protected by the Coronation Oath Act 1688 s. III.
47. Meanwhile, CAZ charges take up the clothing of commercial law, presenting as being a contractual agreement in nature, yet lack essential properties thereof, such as consideration. It can be reasonably argued that commercial vehicles operated as parts of fleets are subject to a different standard, as the fleet manager owns the problem of compliance. That is not a reasonable burden to place on the private individual traveller, now forced to research every journey before undertaking it in order to see if new charges or rules have been imposed.
48. The signs at the entrance to the CAZ have the form of road signs (in terms of font and reflective style), using the information format, but are legally “roadside signs”. There is no obligation for a driver, focused on safety and nagivation, to prioritise attention to them. This is problematic in this case; where did free will agreement occur? Were the terms planly and transparently presented? Is any discriminatory charge lawful given this context?
49. There has been no notice to me personally of the terms before passing the signage, or opportunity to consider whether I wish to pass in my car derived van, or challenge or clarify this policy in advance. I have passed the same signage on a previous occasion while the scheme was yet not in force, and got no PCN. I do not have a television, I do not listen to radio, and I do not take any newspapers. I do not live in Newcastle, and do not visit it often by car. I have received no personal advance notice from NCC in any form before undertaking this personal and private journey (as it happens to help a friend collect lost luggage from the railway station).
50. That the finer points of cars versus vans can be considered at speed on a dual carriageway in unfamiliar surroundings lacks elementary sense. All other road signs (e.g. bus lanes, speed limits, no entry) disclose their full semantics via their symbology, and are immediately actionable, so do not impede the overall ability to reach the final destination on an equitable basis.
51. These new CAZ charges are complex quasi-contractual relationships with fine distinctions based on vehicle type that vary, e.g. between London and elsewhere. They are not “rules of the road” in the same way as other regulatory signage is, and are closer to turnpikes without toll booths or turning spaces. But turnpikes had toolbooths, and the carriages were pulled by horse, so could easily turn back.
52. Either the signage is the disclosure of full terms and represents a fair and reasonable agreement, or it is not; NCC cannot have it both ways. Is there anywhere signposted that you can easily locate to make such a check if you are a corner case, as is my own situation? Lawful agreement requires a meaningful alternative to consent; otherwise it is just unlawful entrapment dressed in legal costume.
53. Are you actually being forced to carry an Internet-connected laptop everywhere, so you must turn off and research the law in a layby every single time you approach one of these signs? Do you have to stop to check, even if the CAZ doesn’t apply to you? That appears to be the implied suggestion, which is a remarkable imposition on our established common law freedom to travel wherever we want.
54. As the last matter on the matter of disclosure and agreement, the Newcastle and Gateshead CAZ website states that private cars are exempt. Whatever the underlying policies and procedures based on DVLA data, my private conveyance is a Ford Escort, which is foundationally a car, and is being used as such. That I have chosen the “two seats, huge boot, easy to secure” Ford Escort car variant is my business alone.
55. As there is no substance to differentiate a “car derived van” from a car when in private use, it being discriminatory, there is no basis for this PCN, since I am reasonably entitled to interpret this website as ordinary English, and therefore have been directed not to pay a charge. I did indeed check the website after my journey, and interpreted it this way. To force a perverse interpretation of my Ford Escort car being a commercial goods van, when it is factually not in substance or operation, is unreasonable.
56. By ruling on the less contentious basis of equity to dismiss this PCN, I argue that it ultimately supports the lawfulness of clean air zone regulations. While it may constitute a tactical loss to NCC, who may have to adjust their rules for this exception, it is a strategic win, since it reasserts that the program as a whole operates under the rule of law. This in turn reinforces its legitimacy in the eyes of the public, including these tribunals as checks and balances on power. A reasonable compromise of an affidavit of private use has been offered to NCC, which does not limit their ability to enforce their rules upon others.
57. These zones are controversial and many perceive aligned to a wider political agenda that erodes longstanding freedoms, acting as a form of private enclosure movement of our last major common space on land, that being the public highways. Submitting to equity law confirms the intent to comply with our constitutional settlement and preserve our historic customs. Respect for equity signals that we are a society where the public still have have redress against overreach of power by authorities, especially where individual liberties (like the right to pick a small car derived van as your daily transport) are at stake.
58. NCC are attempting to differentially charge based only on the form of my conveyance, and not its substance, which denies my right to choose the style of my conveyance, as long as no loss or harm is done to others. This right is not to be casually dismissed: this particular conveyance with a low loading height suits me personally. No matter what administrative rules are in place, this is unlawful, since it breaches a fundamental principle of equity, which is to prefer substance over form. It is an overreach of legislative and executive power, no matter how presented.
59. This case is about a foundational freedom to travel without let or hindrance while being treated on an equitable basis with other private travellers. There is no evasion of the CAZ fee; the shape, colour, windows, doors, and cargo space configuration of my private car are simply none of NCC’s business to regulate or tax.
60. To rule otherwise is to claim we have a two-tier society where some (“the administrators”) are more equal than others (“the administrated”), to facilitate unfair enrichment of the former at the expense of the latter. This is nakedly unconstitutional as it violates the Bill of Rights 1689; we are all equal under the law, and Parliament does not have any power to create master/slave relationships. This tribunal is under oath to uphold the law, and each party is bound by the rule of law.
61. Unhindered travel on the public highway is a common law right also protected in constitutional law, notably by Union with Scotland Act 1706 c. 11 Article IIII. Being forced to research every journey, or stop to check terms on every journey, in a highly inconvenient manner, regardless if these terms apply to you, is an unreasonable burden on travel. This is especially so as the charge only relates to the style of my conveyance, all other things being equal.
62. Finally, “To destroy the constitution is treason” — R vs Thistlewood . Knowing failure to uphold all law under judicial oath is a serious matter. This includes fundamental constitutional law that asserts our equality as men/women, and freedom to travel equitably.
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