Undermining the Judicial system

by Larry Sweeney

8:52 AM, 16th March 2018
About 3 years ago

Undermining the Judicial system

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Undermining the Judicial system

The onslaught against the PRS knows no Bounds. Sect 24 , Restrictions on the use of section 21, and of course the Flawed revenue raising Licensing schemes being implemented on the back of sham consultations. I now wish to draw Readers attention to the 2016 planning bill.

This ill thought piece of legislation allows for so called civil penalties to be imposed on landlords by the useless local authorities. In effect rather than a prosecution where the defendant is innocent until proven guilty, the local authority decides that one has committed an offence and a fine is issued. The recipient then may appeal to the issuing authority and on to the first tier tribunal for final adjudication.

This sham piece of legislation undermines the idea that we live in a democracy governed by the rule of law. I shall expand. The civil penalty is supposed to be issued on a criminal standard of proof, ie that the landlord is guilty of the offence beyond reasonable doubt. Therefore it may be called a “civil penalty” but in reality it is a criminal sanction.

Now let us for one minute imagine we visited a country where one could be arrested and fined for a criminal offence without a trial, without the opportunity to plead and the appeal process was such that the defendant had to appeal the fine to the prosecuting authority which originally issued the fine. Who in their right mind would visit such a land. Yet that is exactly what the government of the united Kingdom has inflicted upon its citizens.

Clearly this is a serious and blatant breach of article 6 of the ECHR. The right to a fair trial. This is punishment without trial. What makes it even more disgusting is that it is dressed as a civil fine, but this argument is undermined by the standard of proof. Having said that Local Authorities will not adhere to this standard of proof, in their haste and greed to fill the empty coffers. This piece of legislation is far more than an attack on the PRS. It makes an utter mockery of the legal process, is a blatant attack on civil liberties and a clear breach of ECHR article 6. It is the “Gitmo” bay of legislation , the No mans land where the Authorities can impose criminal sanctions dressed as fines, but in fact amount to criminal sanctions without the safe guards normally afforded to defendants accused of offences in serious accountable jurisdictions.

The Uk just stepped away from the norms with this draconian ac , criminalising the public without due process.

Larry

Comments

Paul Fay

21:20 PM, 16th March 2018
About 3 years ago

The burden of proof for a civil case is 'balance or probabilities' rather than beyond reasonable doubt. It's a significantly lower standard.

sam

3:01 AM, 17th March 2018
About 3 years ago

Larry n guys
Nobody ever said life is fair. U just make the most of the system created by the powers that be. Or go somewhere more to your liking. Sounding off isn’t going to make any difference nor will it stop it getting worse.
Not being nasty, my question is : what are u going to do about it ?
If I was a leader, which I am not, I wud start a LL organisation to fight our corner. However, I m ready to contribute my share financially if somebody wud start a movement. May b Mark A is up to the challenge ?

Luke P

9:52 AM, 17th March 2018
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by sam at 17/03/2018 - 03:01
It’s right here and called The Landlords Union. Sounding off amongst ourselves is how ideas start and turn into action. West Brom…?

Michael Barnes

13:15 PM, 17th March 2018
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by AA at 16/03/2018 - 20:05What protects us from the hysterical law making factory is an independent judiciary.
Power corrupts individuals as well as organisations unless there are effective checks and balances.

I agree completely, and that is what we have got, and what I stated is the position.

Michael Barnes

13:19 PM, 17th March 2018
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Luke P at 17/03/2018 - 09:52
I agree about sounding off, but it helps if what is written is accurate (Larry's piece is not).

It helps not at all, and indeed hinders our case, when we make inaccurate claims and statements, and gives those who oppose even the concept of landlords existing easy targets.

Michael Barnes

13:41 PM, 17th March 2018
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Larry Sweeney at 16/03/2018 - 16:11Me?
I AM a genuine landlord.
I also have no council pals.
I did not suggest that you are a bad landlord, I asked the question.
The level of proof being to the criminal standard (if indeed that is what it says; I have not checked, but I will if you provide references to the law) does not change the offence and remedy from Civil.
I do not doubt that certain "licence breaches and breaches of the HA are criminal", but that does not make the sanctions criminal. It gives the offender an opportunity to remedy the situation without getting a criminal record (and without going to court) if she/he AGREES that an offence has been committed; if there is disagreement, then she/he has the right to have it tried before a court.
The fact that you have resorted to attacking me rather than my arguments seems to say it all.

Larry Sweeney

15:29 PM, 17th March 2018
About 3 years ago

Reply to the comment left by Michael Barnes at 17/03/2018 - 13:41Michael, I am simply stating the facts. You now acknowledge that you are not au fait with the legislation. You also seem to approve of the appeals procedure which puts you at odds with the general principles of law and puts you firmly in the Councils corner.
I suggest you examine the legislation carefully . The fines in theory should only be issued if the Council feel that the case could be proven beyond reasonable doubt in court. Firstly i dont trust these bodies one bit. I appreciate that you have great respect for the Councils but let me remind you that Liverpool introduced selective licensing on the back of a gigantic fraud. They brought their scheme in on the basis that the entire city was an area of low demand. The Government changed the law after that. Liverpool then were taken to task by the ICO as a result of my complaint which was upheld and their sect 21 condition was illegal. You however are happy to trust these cowboys to issue fines against landlords. Returning to the standard of proof, it must be to the criminal standard yet the penalty is called a civil penalty. Any fool apart from you can see that this is a ploy to extort fines from landlords without the inconvience of a trial where the accused can actually defend himself. The appeals process going to the first tier tribunal is a farce. This process as i stated is akin to Guantanamo . A legal limbo where the defendant is accused convicted by the authority and must appeal to the authority that imposed the fine in the first place. Michael even you with your anti landlord agenda must surely see that the process is a farce. The final appeal is then to the land tribunal. There is no Discovery , no Jury, no magistrates and no chance for an accused to properly defend himself. Remember Michael the fine is the guilty verdict. No trial. For these reasons as I originally stated the entire charade is in breach of article 6 of the ECHR.

Michael Barnes

23:38 PM, 17th March 2018
About 3 years ago

I have not expressed an opinion either way on approval or disapproval of the appeals procedure. I am simply stating that it is what it is and a landlord who believes he is innocent can use the appeals process.
"The fines in theory should only be issued if the Council feel that the case could be proven beyond reasonable doubt in court. Firstly i don't trust these bodies one bit."
That is your prejudice, not a fact.
The reason it is "beyond reasonable doubt" appears to be because it is imposing a civil penalty is an alternative to taking criminal proceedings.
You have introduced to your argument activities by Liverpool Council which may be relevant to your life and dealings with your local council, but they have no bearing on the facts of the legislation. Furthermore, even if one authority is shown to act wrongly, that does not mean that all councils do so.
"Any fool apart from you can see that this is a ploy to extort fines from landlords without the inconvience of a trial where the accused can actually defend himself. "
That is clearly untrue if you read Schedule 9 of the Housing and Planning Act 2016 (http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2016/22/schedule/9/enacted). No penalty has to be paid until the appeals process has concluded; that includes appeal to the First Tier Tribunal, which is part of the court system and includes a Judge, and gives the 'accused' the chance to defend himself.
"even you with your anti landlord agenda"
I have no anti-landlord agenda, only anti-bad landlord. I have been a landlord for 18 years.
It seems to me (but I could be wrong) that your real issue is with additional/selective licensing, and in particular with abuses of process to decide that licencing should be imposed and the conditions that some councils seek to impose with those licenses.
I'm with you on that.
It seems to me that councils see it as a way for them to get the money they need to assess properties for breaches of existing housing law because their budgets do not cover it. They then need to justify licencing however they can, and then impose it on a wider area than is known to contain problem properties, causing resentment from good landlords.
And once they have a scheme approved, they impose excessive fees (as in Nottingham).
Finally, EHCR Article 6 says "In the determination of his civil rights and obligations or of any criminal charge against him, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law.". The tribunal is available; how has this been breached?

Larry Sweeney

12:12 PM, 18th March 2018
About 3 years ago

Michael, I shall respond to your points in the order in which you have raised them.
Firstly you state that you have not expressed an opinion either way on the appeals process. Incorrect you stated that if there is a disagreement a landlord can have a trial in a court. This is blatantly wrong. With the civil penalty regime the appeal is not to a court it is to the land tribunal. Furthermore Michael you are now arguing with yourself. Back to your statement that you did not express an opinion either way . Have you lost the plot Michael. Read the last paragraph of YOUR response , where you defend the appeals process.
What reasonable sane person could attempt to justify an appeals process where the first stage of that process involves appealing to the self same body that imposed the fine in the first place.
Michael let me simplify this for you. Imagine receiving a speeding fine from the police. They decide you are guilty and fine you but if you disagree you can appeal to the same constabularly which issued said fine. Need i continue?
Your next whinge is about my "prejudice". My argument is not based on prejudice rather hard facts. Im afraid i dont have time to go into licence conditions at length here suffice to say Councils all over the country are inserting illegal conditions in to their schemes, as Liverpool did. Yet instead of acknowledging the facts you defend these bodies time and again and accuse me of prejudice. There are fantastic contributions on property 118 from many sources , so i suppose your defence of councils adds flavour to the debate.
Finally Michael your last point about no.penalty being payable until after the appeal process is concluded is laughable. Remember one must first appeal to the council. This one point undermines and makes an utter mockery of the process. Bear in mind also the land tribunal is just that a tribunal and not a court. Allow me to educate you on how this forum operates. It can make a paper based decision ie without attendance by the opposing parties. No back to my example. You appeal your speeding fine to the nice officer who issued it. Amazingly he rejects your appeal so you go to a tribunal for final ajudication. The tribunal get the cops statement of fact, obtain your version and write to you some weeks later upholding the fine. That Michael is the system you so robustly defend. It is a flagrant breach of ECHR article 6. No amount of dogma alters this. It is a disgrace and no.landlord should be discriminated against in this way. If a local authority believe a landlord has comitted a criminal offence he should be afforded the exact same safe guards as any defendant facing a prosecution. The opportunity to see the evidence before him and the right to defend himself in court. Fining a landlord ex parte is convicting him without due process and denying him the right to appeal in the first instance to an impartial forum.

AA

21:27 PM, 18th March 2018
About 3 years ago

Depressingly Larry is talking sense. Where was the financial ombudsman and the FCA when the B of I and West Brom were sticking it up us ? Both lackies of the banks. Put it this way, would you trust the accounts of a company produced by an accountant that gets paid by that very company ? You would ? More fool you.

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