A driver who argued he should not have been fined for a prohibited U-turn because he actually performed a three-point turn has lost his case at High Court. Alexis Alexander’s initial appeal was rejected by adjudicator Anthony Chan at the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service (PATAS).
Alexander went on to challenge the decision, but it was upheld by the reviewing adjudicator Andrew Harman. Alexander then gained permission to seek a judicial review, which was heard on 7 March. The case centred on the penalty charge notice (PCN) issued to Alexander by the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham after he was filmed on CCTV carrying out a three-point turn in Gliddon Road.
Alexander said that ‘No U-turn’ signs in the area were poorly positioned, making them hard to see. He also contested that, in any case, the ‘No U-turn’ street sign (above) indicated that a continuous sweeping manoeuvre was prohibited whereas he had driven across the road, reversed then moved forward again in the opposite direction.
The judicial review was heard by Judge Keyser QC, who dismissed the claimant’s view that the ‘No U-turn’ sign did not apply to three-point turns. The judge said that Alexander’s “reliance” on the single forward movement of the black directional line on the sign “seems to me to take pictorial literalism to an absurd length”.
Judge Keyser doubted that a “motorist interpreting the sign reasonably” would think it applied only to a “paradigmatic” U-turn and not to a three-point turn.
The judge said he hoped Hammersmith & Fulham council would consider if there was any way it could improve its signage. “Even if information given to motorists is adequate, that is not to say it might not be improved,” said Judge Keyser.
The decision sets a precedent, and in future adjudicators will be bound by Judge Keyser’s findings.