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Amsterdam court steers for proceedings on the merits against license plate parking

Today, the Amsterdam Court of Appeal handed down a judgment in summary proceedings (emergency appeal) brought by Privacy First chairman Bas Filippini against license plate parking. Filippini considers mandatory introduction of a license plate for parking to be unlawful due to violation of the right to privacy. The case also challenged the lack of cash or anonymous payment option for parking. However, the Amsterdam Court of Appeal refused to address both points of law.

Court considers case against license plate parking too fundamental for summary proceedings

The Amsterdam Court of Appeal apparently considers our case too fundamental and important to handle in summary proceedings. In doing so, the Court of Appeal is effectively steering towards proceedings on the merits in the District Court of Amsterdam. In the view of the Amsterdam Court of Appeal, our case does not lend itself well to summary proceedings because of a supposed lack of urgent interest and the complexity of the case. "The privacy legislation raises many questions and these cannot be answered immediately in the context of an urgent procedure.", the court said. However, great urgency is undeniable, as many a parker who wishes to park anonymously (both in Amsterdam and in numerous other municipalities) is unfairly punished with a parking fine. Thanks to a previous opinion of the Supreme Court such fines may have to be set aside, but in the meantime, the parking system as such is still in place. There are no complex legal issues in Privacy First's view. Moreover, protracted proceedings on the merits can take many years; most of the harm will have been done long before then.

No substantive opinion on license plate parking

In today's ruling, the Amsterdam Court of Appeal did not give a substantive opinion on licence plate parking. Therefore, contrary to reports this morning by some media (without prior hearing), the Court of Appeal today did not consider the system of licence plate parking to be lawful. Had the Court not taken our contentions seriously, it would have dismissed the case immediately. However, that did not happen. The Court of Appeal therefore considers the case to be so serious (and potentially far-reaching) that it is happy to leave a critical substantive judgment to the Amsterdam District Court, possibly followed again later by an appeal to this same Court of Appeal. The case will then be able to be heard again in all its breadth and depth. Privacy First expects to bring such new proceedings soon.

Privacy First considers direct appeal in Strasbourg

Besides the fact that the Amsterdam Court of Appeal is pushing for proceedings on the merits in the District Court, the Court of Appeal is cutting off the path to the Supreme Court today. Indeed, no effective cassation to the Supreme Court can be instituted on the basis of the Court's current, non-substantive ruling. Privacy First is considering filing a direct complaint on this matter with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg for violation of the right to privacy (art. 8 ECHR) combined with the right to an effective remedy (art. 6 and 13 ECHR).

Current state of play

With the current judgment of the Amsterdam Court of Appeal, the current state of affairs remains intact: parkers should not be required to enter their registration number when parking. After all, this is and remains the Supreme Court's opinion. Under pressure from Privacy First's recent appeal, the municipality of Amsterdam has already changed the texts on all parking meters from "mandatory" to "desired" introduction of license plates early this year. However, Privacy First continues to push for total abolition of (mandatory) license plate parking and control of an anonymous parking ticket behind the windscreen, as is already standing practice in the municipality of Utrecht, for example. Another privacy-friendly alternative is number box parking, as practised in numerous places abroad.

New case on right to cash, anonymous payment

However, privacy-friendly parking requires more: payment for a parking space should be able to be made in cash or otherwise anonymously. A new lawsuit (administrative law ground proceedings) by our chairman on this issue has now been scheduled for 29 June at the Amsterdam District Court. This case will focus on the right to cash and anonymous payment. Some of the legal questions left by the Amsterdam Court of Appeal today will then still be dealt with by the court.

Read HERE The full judgment of the Amsterdam Court of Appeal.