At least £160,000 worth of Barnet Council parking tickets are invalid, it was claimed this week, after a High Court judge ruled that two fines issued by the council were so.

The council had applied to the High Court to overturn a previous ruling which stated that two of its penalty charge notices (PCNs) were invalid because they did not carry two dates - the date of the offence and the date on which the notice was issued.

But on Wednesday, Judge Rupert Jackson upheld the decision of an independent adjudicator from the parking and traffic appeals service (Patas), who ruled in March that two tickets given to Hugh Moses, of Golders Green Road, Golders Green, were not issued in line with the Road Traffic Act 1991. He also refused the council leave to appeal at the Court of Appeal.

The council argued that the two dates were invariably the same and said that no more than 2,000 outstanding PCNs - or £160,000 worth of fines - were issued before it changed its tickets to show both dates on May 5.

But this figure does not include the millions of pounds of unpaid fines passed to bailiffs. Last year alone, £5.5 million of tickets were handed to bailiffs, and many of these remain unpaid.

Barrie Segal, the founder of the CONTINUED Pg 5 FROM Pg 3 web site, who helped bring the case, said he believes the judgement is a legal precedent, under which the council should refund all the fines it issued before changing its tickets on May 5.

"The judge defined what is a valid parking ticket," he said. "He decided that if a ticket did not have two dates it wasn't valid. If the council chooses to ignore this decision of a High Court judge, it just confirms my view that it really doesn't want to consider anything which would stop it taking in money that it is not entitled to."

A council spokesman said: "Previously the council has used one date, because notices are invariably issued on the same day as the contravention is witnessed.

"Several months ago, we modified the notice to carry the two dates. We therefore believe there will be minimal impact resulting from this judgment - old cases will either be closed or going through the adjudication process, where each case is determined on its merits."