Starting Monday, people who want to fight their parking ticket in Vancouver will no longer get their day in court.
Instead, those wishing to dispute their parking fine, or other bylaw tickets, will have their case heard by an independent adjudicator appointed by the city.
The move, which council approved in November, is expected to reduce the pressure on the provincial courts and to help the city collect fines.
In the past, those wanting to dispute their ticket had their case heard in Provincial Court.
In 2009, there were 101,000 outstanding tickets, according to the city. Of those, only 16,000 were disputed by people or prosecuted by the city. But limited court time meant that only 6,000 cases were heard. In some cases, it took up to two years to resolve disputes.
Under the new system, ticket recipients have 14 days to either pay their ticket or file a dispute notice with the adjudicator’s office.
Disputed tickets will first be reviewed by a “screening officer” employed by the city who has the power to cancel the ticket if an error was made.
If that fails to resolve the matter, the case will go to an independent adjudicator who will hear the case either over the telephone or online.
Adjudicators will only have the power to cancel tickets if they were given in error, not to reduce the amount of the fine.
The city has also created an incentive for people to deal with their tickets quickly, reducing the fine by half if the ticket is paid immediately.
In contrast, those who fight their ticket risk paying more: the full cost of the ticket plus a $25 “adjudication fee.”
After 56 days, tickets that are not disputed are deemed owed and the city can collect on them immediately.
Along with the new adjudication process, the city will also unveil Monday new parking-ticket machines that will take a photo of the licence plate of every ticketed vehicle.
The city estimates the new ticket-adjudication process will allow it to settle cases in less than 60 days, compared to court cases that can sometimes take years to resolve.
It also estimates the new program, which will cost $238,000 annually, will generate $1.2 million in additional revenue this year and an extra $4 million annually by 2014.
According to the city, more than 40 other B.C. municipalities or regional districts have already gone to such a bylaw adjudication process.
Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/Van...#ixzz1EZ98vqJh