Council Parking Ticket issued while parked on private property NSW

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Db7gtgrigio

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24 November 2023
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In August 2023 I parked my motorcycle in the Sydney CBD on Bent Street in a place where motorcycles have been parking for years. The location is adjacent to the Universities and Schools Club and is recessed from the building line. The Universities and Schools club has put signs on the building saying Private Property, no parking, but they don't in fact seem to mind motorcycles parking there as every day there are circa 20 bikes parked there. I subsequently received a fine in the mail for contravention of NSW Road Rule 197 Stopping on a path, dividing strip, nature strip, painted island or traffic island. I performed title searches which confirmed that the narrow strip of land has its own specific title and is owned by the Universities and Schools Club and is therefore private land. I submitted an FOI request to the City of Sydney who confirmed that there is no arrangement between the City and the owner of the land to issue parking fines. I have sought a review of the fine by Revenue NSW and the Council and both have responded that the fine is valid on the basis that the area meets the definition of "Footpath" in the NSW Road Rules. The definition is : footpath, except in rule 13(1), means an area open to the public that is designated for, or has as one of its main uses, use by pedestrians.

I am struggling to see how land that I can prove is privately owned and which the Council itself has confirmed is not subject to an agreement that gives Council the right to manage the land meets this definition. The boundary of the land is contiguous with the council owned footpath but given the private ownership I would argue that it is not "open to the public" nor is it "designated for use by pedestrians"

I am inclined to have the matter considered by the Court and would appreciate any thoughts on the likelihood of success. In the grand scheme of things the fine ($288) is not the issue but I am not comfortable being fined for something that appears to be incorrect. Note that I walked the bike to an from the spot so I did not breach rules regarding riding on the footpath.

Thanks in advance for any comments
 

Tim W

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I am inclined to have the matter considered by the Court....
First things first.... August? It's now November.
Even allowing for the review period, are you still within time to court-elect the infringement?

Second - on Bent Street, or on Phillip Street?
I know the bike parking on Phillip Street. I'm less familiar with anyone parking bikes on Bent.
A look Google Maps Street View does not show a warning sign
of a kind that could have been installed by the landholder.
Even if there is a sign installed on the Club's external wall,
perhaps that happened by agreement with the lotholder?

Third - have you considered the possibility that the land is a "road related area"?
 

Db7gtgrigio

Active Member
24 November 2023
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First things first.... August? It's now November.
Even allowing for the review period, are you still within time to court-elect the infringement?

Second - on Bent Street, or on Phillip Street?
I know the bike parking on Phillip Street. I'm less familiar with anyone parking bikes on Bent.
A look Google Maps Street View does not show a warning sign
of a kind that could have been installed by the landholder.
Even if there is a sign installed on the Club's external wall,
perhaps that happened by agreement with the lotholder?

Third - have you considered the possibility that the land is a "road related area"?
Thank you for your reply. I have elected to have the matter held in Court with the preliminary hearing date in March 2024.

The location in which the motorcycles park is in fact on the corner of Phillip Street near the Junction with Bent street. The address of the private property on which the motorcycles park is 25 Bent Street. I have attached an image showing where the motorcycles park and one of the private property signs which is displayed along the property. The signs are affixed to the wall of the building which is set back from the actual boundary.
The image highlights that the building is recessed in from the property boundary. The club is the owner of the building and the slither on land on which the motorcycles park. The slither of land is on a separate title to the building. I have all this confirmed via property searches.

Since the Council has confirmed to me that the are relying on the land being covered by the definition of footpath I don't see why it would be relevant if it is a road related area. The specific offence is Stopping on a path, dividing strip, nature strip, painted island or traffic island.

I still struggle with how I can be issued a ticket for parking on private property over which there is no agreement to allow the Council to issue tickets.
 

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Rod

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Stuff happens.

Take your evidence (photos and title searches x 3 copies [1 for you, 1 for the prosecution, 1 for the magistrate]) to court, and remind the court the onus is on the council or police to prove beyond a reasonable doubt you committed the offence.

Once you prove you parked on private property (with no overhang onto the footpath) you do not have to show an arrangement with the council doesn't exist (can be hard to show a negative fact), they have to show one does exist, or the road rules allow the ticketing.

You have a good chance.
 

Tim W

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28 April 2014
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Since the Council has confirmed to me that the are relying on the land being covered by the definition of footpath I don't see why it would be relevant if it is a road related area. The specific offence is Stopping on a path, dividing strip, nature strip, painted island or traffic island.

I still struggle with how I can be issued a ticket for parking on private property over which there is no agreement to allow the Council to issue tickets.
Perhaps you are making two of the frequent mis-assumptions.

1. Contrary to popular belief and American TV,
there is no legal bubble around private property
on which the law - any law - somehow does not apply.

2. If it was me prosecuting, then I'd be arguing
that it was a road related area.
Because a footpath is a road related area.

3. Don't forget tortious trespass (although I can't see the Club going to the expense of running that when they can flick it to Council)
 

Db7gtgrigio

Active Member
24 November 2023
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31
Stuff happens.

Take your evidence (photos and title searches x 3 copies [1 for you, 1 for the prosecution, 1 for the magistrate]) to court, and remind the court the onus is on the council or police to prove beyond a reasonable doubt you committed the offence.

Once you prove you parked on private property (with no overhang onto the footpath) you do not have to show an arrangement with the council doesn't exist (can be hard to show a negative fact), they have to show one does exist, or the road rules allow the ticketing.

You have a good chance.
Thank you for the comments - I have written confirmation from Council they do not have an arrangement with the land owner so hopefully they won't try and assert that they do. I wonder what would happen in the event that they tell the magistrate they do but I provide their correspondence with says they don't.......,
 

Db7gtgrigio

Active Member
24 November 2023
8
0
31
Perhaps you are making two of the frequent mis-assumptions.

1. Contrary to popular belief and American TV,
there is no legal bubble around private property
on which the law - any law - somehow does not apply.

2. If it was me prosecuting, then I'd be arguing
that it was a road related area.
Because a footpath is a road related area.

3. Don't forget tortious trespass (although I can't see the Club going to the expense of running that when they can flick it to Council)
Thanks you again for your comments. I am interested in your point on road related area. I'm not a lawyer and I have assumed I have to respond to the specific offence with which I am charged which is S 194 of the Road Rules 2014 which does not mention parking on a road related area. It specifically deals with parking on a footpath and it is my contention that the land on which I parked is not a footpath beacuse it is privately held land which does not meet the definition of footpath in the Road Rules.

As a prosecutor, how would you argue that the privately owned land is a footpath by virtue it being a road related area. I did have a look at the NSW Road Rules Regulation 13 which defines a Road Related Area and I don't believe the slither of land on which I parked meets that definition.
 

Db7gtgrigio

Active Member
24 November 2023
8
0
31
Perhaps you are making two of the frequent mis-assumptions.

1. Contrary to popular belief and American TV,
there is no legal bubble around private property
on which the law - any law - somehow does not apply.

2. If it was me prosecuting, then I'd be arguing
that it was a road related area.
Because a footpath is a road related area.

3. Don't forget tortious trespass (although I can't see the Club going to the expense of running that when they can flick it to Council)
Sorry, I should also note that the owner of the land (the Club) is not involved in that at all. Despite the signs saying don't park, motorcycles park there all the time and the club seems to turn a blind eye. The Club has not pushed the council to issue the ticket. The council has done this off their own back and have confirmed in writing to me they have no arrangement with the club in respect of enforcing the no parking signs
 

Tim W

Lawyer
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28 April 2014
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What's the SEINS code for the offence?
Experience tells me that City of Sydney Rangers don't always select the correct offence.
 

Db7gtgrigio

Active Member
24 November 2023
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From the Court Attendance Notice:

Description of Offence: Stop on path/strip in built-up area
Statutory Provision Describing Offence: Act/Regulation: Road Rules 2014
Section/Clause: 197(1)
Law Part Code: 82918