Bid to de-criminalise parking breaches in Jersey

The new system would also establish a formal appeal process. Credit: PA

Failure to pay parking fines in Jersey could soon no longer be treated as a criminal offence.

Proposals from the island's Infrastructure Minister Deputy Kevin Lewis would see parking enforcement become a civil matter - meaning it would be dealt with by the island's Petty Debts Court.

The move is to reduce the burden on the Honorary Police forces, who hold parish hall enquiries for each unpaid fine. For St Helier alone, this amounts to around 15,000 enquiries each year for parking breaches, on top of hearings for other offences.

The only exception would be in the case of a vehicle being left in a potentially dangerous or obstructive position. In this situation, the Courts hold the power to endorse a licence or seize vehicles.

The new system would also establish a formal appeal process, with adjudicators appointed to deal with any appeals. It would also set out the criteria for upholding an appeal, and a maximum fine, which would be set through a Ministerial order by the Infrastructure Minister.

Under the plans, the responsibility for paying a parking penalty would sit with the registered owner of the vehicle involved.

The regulation would be applied retrospectively to the backlog of cases where a driver could not be given a summons to appear in the Magistrates Court.