Sword, shield, or serenade?
There is a time and place to woo the individuals in authority, but don't waste songs
Over the past year or two I have shared many letters I have sent to people in authority. For a change, I am going to share two that I wrote, but have decided not to send. I am experiencing violations of my civil rights and crimes against me, including fraud and treason. The most productive approach is to use the shield and sword, and not to serenade those who impose on me. That said, if I can turn them from adversaries into allies against the powers who divide us, that is a morally upstanding thing to do; just not at the cost of being weak or “pissing in the wind”.
The first one is the draft I would have sent to the Chief Adjudicator of the Traffic Penalty tribunal. It is to help surface that conscience and principles of natural justice have been abandoned. On reflection, I do need to put them on legal notice that they are accessories to fraud being committed by the DVLA, and that they have exceeded their lawful authority and as a result the tribunal adjudication is unenforceable. So this conciliatory message will have to wait for another occasion. The loving thing to do is to protect myself from state predation first.
Dear [FIRST NAME],
I hope you will excuse me in addressing you through your first name, as this letter is being sent to you more in your personal capacity as a woman with a conscience, than to your role as Chief Adjudicator and a practising barrister. It is also to bring to life that I am Martin, a man with a conscience, and not just a legal name attached to an adjudication case. My purpose in writing is to surface an issue with the ultimate authority that you and your organisation are serving.
I happen to have experienced my first Traffic Penalty Tribunal (TPT) hearing (via video) last week, but I am not reaching out in connection with the specifics of my case — there is a process for that which I will follow. Before I get to the structural, moral, and constitutional issues I encountered with the TPT itself, I would like to say a few words of praise. While some of my misgivings about this legal procedure were confirmed, I also changed my mind (in a positive direction) about the value of what you and your colleagues do.
I can now see how the format of the hearing brings high levels of professional expertise to administrative tussles at an extraordinarily low cost, with the minimum of delay. You are revolutionising everyday commercial and public law for travel-related disputes — “smallest claims” rather than “small claims”. This is in a manner akin to how low-cost airlines may have transformed travel, to the benefit of all. Of this, you can be rightly proud. The quality of public administration is being enhanced.
I have no complaint whatsoever about the diligence or professional presentation of the adjudicator (apart from she has been set up to break the law!). She has followed your remit and process to the letter (which unfortunately may be unlawful, more below). Likewise, so did the public authority who were making the claim — they went “by the book” (which also stretches limits of the law). The catch is that this process has elevated a part of government (the DVLA, as it happens) above objective truth and natural justice in the real world.
Sometimes “the book” itself is wrong in fact and/or superior law, and fundamental civil rights are in play as a result. In this situation “following orders” at a lower level of authority (e.g. secondary statute) goes against conscience, as a forfeit of liberty is occurring, the cost of which is far in excess of the monetary sum being adjudicated. In this context, the administrative tribunal outcome is nakedly perverse when compared to a hypothetical jury of one’s peers in a court of conscience.
This disconnect, between asserted authority and the reasonable person, tells us that we have abandoned our most cherished principles of justice. I raised matters of equitable treatment, case law, constitutional limits, tort, international treaty obligations, and legislative defects with the PCN. The merits of my arguments aren’t the point; they were not vexatious, and the adjudicator described them as “interesting”. Yet they cannot be adjudicated in the offered format or statutory remit.
As the person suffering iniquity and forfeit of both civil and property rights, I can tell you that separation of powers (Bill of Rights 1689), equality under the law (Magna Carta 1215), due process (EHCR Article 6), freedom to travel (UNDHR, EHCR, ICCPR, etc.), and equitable treatment (on an equal footing to Senior Courts Act 1981 s49 and Magistrates’ Courts Act 1980 s148) are not merely “interesting”. I am suffering loss of access to healthcare, right to protest, and ability to earn a living, all due to overreach of Parliament and public authorities.
These tribunals operate in a contested area of the constitution, and judicial reference tomes like Halsbury’s Laws of England say they are unconstitutional, as they lack separation of powers. From a legal and moral perspective, one could argue that members of the public have agreed to private adjudication within the limited jurisdiction offered, which is merciless adherence to secondary legislation. That ignores the violation of free will that is happening, which has personal karmic consequences.
I asked the TPT in advance of the hearing some simple questions, like which jurisdiction the hearing is in, and whether there is a duty to uphold the law (in all its forms). I did not get an answer, and was told that I had to ask the adjudicator. Yet the very short time slot presented me with the impossible choice of making basic inquiries about the legal framework we were operating in, versus actually laying out my case. I spent most of the past month preparing, as the priceless principles involved vastly outweigh the £12.50 fee in dispute.
My concern is not merely for myself or the public interest in accessing justice. My sense is that you are exposing yourself and your colleagues to moral, legal, and spiritual danger by operating in a capacity that risks being ruled as ultra vires by the Supreme Court (or a higher international body) down the road. This is not necessarily in blanket terms, but by failing to screen out cases that are more than administrative in nature. In particular, s16 of the Regulations appears to be an alarming mismatch of jurisdictions and authority.
A private tribunal whose adjudicator has no oath of office, no power of remedy, and where no counter-claim can be filed, is having their finding treated as equal to that of a court of equity where there is full personal accountability for upholding the full law. Lord Chief Justice Widgery once condemned the extraction of money using administrative tribunals in this way as “extortion”, and I have some sympathy with that view. Yet absolute condemnation neglects the value you bring by democratising access to dispute resolution, so is unhelpful to the masses.
By entering the arena of the tribunal, it is possible I surrendered many rights, but I was not given a real choice, both in clarity of the options, as well as duress from putative debt enforcement. This is why a spiritual aspect is in play — merely being legal is insufficient, as there is a residual matter of conscience and fairness under natural law. My purpose was to raise a wrong against me, and in doing so I was “turning the other check”. As it happened, both the council and the adjudicator decided that Parliament had told them I needed another slap.
Yet in their deepest personal convictions, I sensed their unease at what they were doing. The man and woman, as sovereign beings, were doing something to me that they would have objected to if the roles had been reversed. They wanted to find a way to provide an exception, as they knew it was wrong; “following orders” worships state authority over the divine, and has poor pedigree. What Parliament is telling you to do, what the Constitution is telling you to do, and what our Creator is telling you to do — these are not in alignment.
Ultimately, the real harm is to you as practitioners of jurisprudence. No amount of legislative decoration can turn a lie or dishonourable act into truth and integrity. I could be going into an adversarial and legalistic mindset, and writing notices, deploying estoppel, and seeking judicial review. From the basic need to protect myself from predation by the state, I may be forced to go down this route. But ultimately it is fruitless, and only a raising of consciousness of what we worship by implication can help us find peace.
I have enclosed the case I made to the adjudicator because the issue is really nothing to do with vans, clear air zones, and PCNs. It is a systemic matter, and constitutional in nature, and relates to power struggles at a level we have no individual access to, yet carry the personal consequences. I restate that I seek no intervention in my own case, and I have removed the case number on this basis. This is purely informational to “make it real”, and aid you in seeing the deep disconnect between principles of justice and the practise in this instance.
The matter for you to privately reflect on is the authority you act under. If, for instance, DVLA classification conflicts with case law, which takes precedence? With what is equitable in substance rather than form? With international treaty obligations? Is the state legitimately empowered to do anything it wishes without constraint? If not, is DVLA or the Council? If no, is the TPT as an organisation? If not, the individual adjudicator? Ultimately we cannot get away from conscience and the imperative to do unto others as we would have done unto ourselves.
My concrete suggestion is that you think about whether s16 invites an overreach of lawful authority given the wider constitutional constraints we operate under. Would it serve you to seek clarification of your remit from Parliament (or others)? In particular, should cases that touch on “higher law” be diverted to more traditional courts, with administrative tribunals ruthlessly limiting themselves in scope to purely administrative matters? How can you protect your own interests and conscience, as the knowing destruction of fundamental constitutional rights is technically treason?
If there is any way in which I can assist you in thinking over these problems, and aiding in putting your work onto a sounder constitutional and conscience footing, then I would be delighted to help. Angrily and adversarial holding of public officials to account is fashionable, but lovingly and gracefully pointing out a spiritual lapses is rarely done. You are keeping the “commercial peace”, just this cannot be done at the cost of aiding loss of cherished liberties. As someone with plenty of my own need for mercy and forgiveness, I hope this message lands in a way it can be heard.
In a similar fashion, here is the note I am not sending to the Council’s representative…
Dear [FIRST NAME],
I am addressing you in both your capacity as a man of integrity, as well as in your role at Newcastle City Council. My sense of our encounter on the recent Traffic Penalty Tribunal is that you are feeling equally trapped as I am by an illogical system not of your making. I note the offer to settle the matter, yet there are priceless principles in play that render the monetary cost moot.
I face a choice over whether to pay these PCNs under duress and have a quieter life, and pursue justice in other ways; to challenge them in the County Courts via the debt enforcement process, on the basis of equity and due process; or seek a judicial review leapfrog application to the Supreme Court, to judge the lawfulness of the Tribunal itself. While CAZs are contentious, the real issue is the rule of law, and how cases are adjudicated.
As such, I do not seek an adversarial relationship with Newcastle City Council over this matter, as the problem lies with Parliament and its overreach of power, especially s16 of the Regulations and how that relates to forfeit of civil rights (both travel and property). My personal preference is to work with both the Tribunal and yourself to aid you to cover off your own legal, moral, and spiritual risks. To achieve this requires empathy and communication.
Walking away from this PCN matter may resolve it at the personal level, but it doesn’t solve the deeper societal issues we collectively face. An aggressive and unscrupulous litigant could turn up after me, in pursuit of similar matters, but with a less kind attitude. Would you be interested in having a without prejudice and off the record conversation so I can better understand your needs? What does Newcastle City Council need in order to flag up the issue via the correct authority?
As you are doubtless aware, I am an activist and writer, with a public platform. At the same time, I am just an ordinary man who wants to get on with life, and seeks peace with my fellow man. There is clearly an issue here of conscience that deserves attention. My belief is that it serves us all to better handle this in a sensitive and private way than to engage in messy public battles. We have enough of those ongoing already.
If this offer is of interest to you, then feel free to reach out. My number is [REDACTED].
Who knows if they are reading this, the message may still land. If nothing else, these ideas may be useful to others who are engaging with members of authority who are showing signs of a functioning conscience, and appear uneasy at just following orders. This is not a war against our fellow man, but a process by which we need to elevate our collective consciousness to become self-governing, rising above the need to fight. The ultimate success of any warrior is removing the need to unsheathe a sword or yield a shied. Nonetheless, a diplomatic serenade can be worse than useless if substituted for ruthless policing of one’s boundaries.
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