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Analysis of Local Authority responses to "Metric Martyrs" ruling, as applied to
|Click on image to download copy of BWMA Analysis in
The above paper highlights new
doubts expressed by Local Authorities regarding the February 2002 ruling of
Lord Justice Laws which convicted Steven Thoburn for using pounds and ounces.
The conviction was based on the creation of a "hierarchy of Acts" whereby the
"constitutional" European Communities Act 1972 (requiring the use of metric
units) took precedence over the later but "ordinary" Weights and Measures Act
1985 that allows pounds and ounces. This is in conflict with British
constitutional law which regards all Acts as equal and resolves conflict by
applying the later Act.
Doubt as to whether a "hierarchy
of Acts" can exist under British law has
been acknowledged by the House of Commons Parliament &
Constitution Centre which described Lord Justice Laws' ruling as "opinion" that
not universally accepted amongst judges or
The BWMA Analysis shows that
Local Authorities also have doubts over Lord Justice Laws' ruling. Research
shows that all councils surveyed - 48 out of 48 - say that they will not apply
a constitutional Act in the face of a later but ordinary Act. All councils
questioned rejected the hierarchy of Acts. BWMA believes that this makes the
position of trading standards authorities untenable, since how can trading
standards officers apply metric regulations that are dependent on a ruling that
council legal departments dismiss?
What are the key points in
BWMA's Analysis of Local Authority responses to "Metric Martyrs" ruling?
|Motorists have asked
their local authorities to act in accordance with the ruling of Lord Justice
Laws and refer parking fines to court, as required by the constitutional Bill
of Rights 1689. The Analysis draws four conclusions:
|1: Local Authorities do
not deny that the Road Traffic Act 1991 fails to meet Lord Justice Laws' test
for "abrogating" (removing or amending) the Bill of Rights 1689.
|2: None of the 48
councils questioned was willing to implement the Hierarchy of Acts in relation
to parking enforcement. All indicated that they would apply the later RTA 1991.
Councils are therefore acting inconsistently; they apply the constitutional Act
in regards to metric conversion, but the later Act in relation to parking
|3: Councils say that the
Bill of Rights refers to conviction; yet, NPAS says it does not. Councils that
have adopted the NPAS standpoint are concealing a realisation that RTA 1991 and
the metric provisions of ECA 1972 cannot be lawful simultaneously.
|4: Since February 2002,
there has been confusion as to which laws apply in Britain: Acts that are more
recent, or Acts that are considered more important? The government cannot claim
a special constitutional rule whereby ECA 1972 can override W&M 1985 when
local government is denying the same constitutional rule by applying automatic
financial penalties. As long as the government says that RTA 1991 is lawful,
then so too must be the Weights and Measures Act 1985, meaning lb/oz are
copy of the BWMA Analysis in the form of a Word document by clicking the above
image or by