A parking supervisor must personally observe a parking offence to be able to impose a fine
Ombudsman Petri Jääskeläinen has drawn the attention of the City of Mikkeli's parking supervisor to the fact that parking supervision tasks can not be entrusted to private persons. Parking supervision can be performed only by a municipal office holder.
The Ombudsman was contacted by a person who had parked his car in the courtyard of an apartment block where his brother lived. As he was leaving, he noticed a sheet of paper headed "Notice of parking offence" on the windscreen of the car. The paper stated that the parking offence would be notified to the supervisory authority and that the result could be a parking fine. The paper had been signed by a resident of the housing company.
It emerged that the City of Mikkeli's parking supervisor had made agreements with some housing companies to the effect that representatives of the housing companies would notify the parking supervisor of incorrect parking in their properties' parking lots. Generally, an official responsible for parking supervision goes to the scene to witness the illicit parking and leaves a fine payment demand on the vehicle. However, cars are improperly parked in the courtyards of many apartment blocks mainly in the evenings and at weekends, when it is difficult to summon the authorities. Then, the parking supervisor decides on the basis of notifications from representatives of housing companies whether it is appropriate in the cases concerned to issue a fine payment demand or a reprimand.
The Ombudsman points out that the law requires that the duties of an assistant parking supervisor include notifying the supervisor of parking offences and assisting the supervisor with supervision-related tasks.
Under the Constitution, a public administrative task can be entrusted to parties other than authorities only under the provisions of an Act. However the Parking Fines Act does not include a provision that would in any respect allow parking supervision tasks to be entrusted to any instances that do not belong to the supervisory personnel. Thus the parking supervisor did not have any right founded in an Act to make agreements under which the tasks of a parking supervisor's assistant were entrusted to private persons.
In addition, a fine payment demand for incorrect parking can, according to the law, only be issued when a member of the parking supervision staff has personally observed the parking offence.
The Ombudsman has asked the City of Mikkeli's parking supervisor to report, by 1.10.2010, what measures his stance has given rise to.
Additional info will be provided by Legal Adviser Ulla-Maija Lindström, tel. + 358 (0)9 4321.