Wednesday, December 02, 2009

When is a statute not a statute?

I have just had to submit a complaint to the Information Commissioner as a result of my Freedom of information request about the number of Section 32(3) notices Birmingham City Council has served on the Local Government Ombudsman over the last 5 years.

As readers will know I have submitted this request to every English Council but Birmingham City Council's refusal to give me the information stands head and shoulders above other council's ridiculous excuses for not supplying the information.

Whilst most councils use costs as a basis for not supplying the information Birmingham City Council now suggest that a 1974 Local Government Act Part III Section 32(3) notice is not a statutory notice at all, it is merely a letter to the Ombudsman.

Now a statute is simply a law enacted by legislation. The legislation in question is the 1974 Local Government Act. Therefore, a Section 32(3) notice has legal effect, it is not merely a letter to an Ombudsman, it is a legal notice forcing the Ombudsman to comply.

If you live in Birmingham may I suggest that next time you receive a parking ticket you suggest to the council that it was merely a letter to the driver of the car and as such has no legal standing. Then see what they have to say.

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