Solicitor challenges dismissal of his appeal against €80 clamping fee

A Dublin solicitor has brought a High Court challenge over the dismissal of his appeal against an €80 fee imposed on him after his car was clamped
Solicitor challenges dismissal of his appeal against €80 clamping fee

High court reporters

A Dublin solicitor has brought a High Court challenge over the dismissal of his appeal against an €80 fee imposed on him after his car was clamped.

The action has been brought by Eamonn O'Hanrahan, a solicitor of Fairview Strand Dublin, against the Clamping Appeals Officer, which considers appeals against clamping fees, and the National Transport Authority (NTA).

Mr O'Hanrahan claims the appeal should be set aside on the grounds it was heard in breach of the requirements of natural and constitutional justice, and in breach of his constitutional rights by allowing submissions and relying on information from the party that clamped him, Dublin Street Parking Services Limited.

He claims that before the appeal was determined he should have been given sight of and an opportunity to respond to that information and submissions.

Mr O'Hanrahan claims that his Suzuki Celerio car was clamped on April 2nd last while parked on Fairview Strand by Dublin Street Parking Services Ltd, which immobilises vehicles under a contract with Dublin City Council. Dublin Street Parking Services, is a notice party to his claim.

Clearway

Mr O'Hanrahan disputed the clamper's claim that the car was parked in a clearway, arguing that the appropriate signage was not in place to indicate the existence of a clearway.

He paid the release fee and submitted an appeal to the Clamping Appeals Officer and the NTA. Last July he was informed that his appeal had been refused.

Mr O'Hanrahan claims that he made submissions and submitted photographs in support of his appeal.

He claims that the under the 2015 Vehicle Clamping Act appeals officers are required to act independently when considering an appeal.

However, he claims that appeals officers are administering justice in a limited manner and have acted in breach of his constitutional rights by allowing and relying on information from the notice party which he did not have sight of, with no opportunity to respond.

Appeals procedure

Mr O'Hanrahan also claimed that the appeals procedures published on the NTA's website does not provide for all information submitted to the appeals officer, to be given to the party bringing the appeal.

The matter came before Mr Justice Charles Meenan on Monday. The judge asked if allowing judicial review proceedings over an €80 fine, plus expenses, was "proportional."

However, he said that the applicant enjoys a right of access to the courts in order to have his challenge against the decision heard.

He directed that the application for permission to bring the action be heard on notice to all sides.

The judge said that while he could understand people being annoyed if their cars were wrongly clamped, he was not giving the case any priority.

He noted that the other cases in the judicial review list concerns challenges by families of children with special needs and autism over refusals to certain care allowances or provide certain services.

Those cases, the judge said would be given greater priority. In this case the judge adjourned Mr Hanrahan's action to a date in late October 2023.

In his judicial review action Mr O'Hanrahan seeks various orders and declarations from the court including an order quashing the refusal of his appeal, and that his appeal be remitted to another clamping appeals officer.

He also seeks declarations from the court including that the Clamping Appeals Officer and the NTA must comply with the principles of natural justice when determining an appeal under the 2015 Vehicle Clamping Act.

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