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Thursday, 25 May 2017

Motorist awarded £900 for data protection breach by parking company

D6GM2199 CEL v Mr B, Bury County Court, before DJ Osborne

This thread on MSE details the story of a motorist awarded £900 because a parking company committed data protection breaches against him.

The parking company was Civil Enforcement Limited (CEL), who have a long history of making bogus inflated court claims and then discontinuing if a robust defence is filed.

Mr B. was the vehicle keeper but was not the driver on the day. As CEL do not use keeper liability, they had not valid claim against the keeper. In addition, and aided bylaw firm Wright Hassall, they artificially inflated the claim from £100 to £300 by adding spurious amounts. Mr B filed a counterclaim for breaches of the data protection act. True to form, CEL discontinued the claim, which left only the counterclaim to be decided.

Barry Beavis assisted Mr B in preparing the paperwork and acting as his lay representative.

The case was heard by DJ Osborne at Bury. The DJ was initially critical of the defendant for failing to file papers and obey court directions.

However, he then interviewed Mr B as witness, establishing the validity of the counterclaim and the distress caused.

In his judgment DJ Osborne ruled a data breach had occurred, the tort of damages was applicable and that £500 was not an unreasonable amount in the circumstances.

He added an additional £405 in costs, part of which were awarded under rule 27.14.2(g) for the unreasonable behaviour of CEL.

He also stated he was disappointed in the claimant bringing an unfounded case, and in the behaviour of Wright Hassall who were otherwise a respectable law firm.

Prankster Notes

It is important to obey all court instructions. Witness statements and evidence need to be filed on time, otherwise a winning case can be lost by procedural errors.

A number of cases have now established that a data protection breach can occur when a parking company pursues a charge which is not valid, or an over-inflated charge, or both.

The size of damages will depend on the facts of each individual case .This case establishes that a claim of £500 is not unreasonable for the particular circumstances of today's case.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Saturday, 13 May 2017

UKPC lose residential case. Will victim get costs before UKPC are wound up?

C8HW3P0T – UKPC v Miss B, before District Judge Jones. 12/05/2017

UKPC were represented by Mr Elfer (not a practicing solicitor or a regulated barrister). Bargepole appeared as the Defendant’s Lay Representative. £1590 was claimed, for multiple tickets for parking at her own residence.

This was a residential parking case, for which Barry Beavis had assisted with the defence submissions. The main defence points were:

1/ Miss B had a tenancy agreement, predating UKPC’s appointment, which granted her rights to park without the need to display a permit.
2/ Ticketing bona fide residents was not within the purpose of the scheme
3/ The signage forbade unauthorized parking, therefore there was no consideration and so no contract
4/ There was no evidence of a chain of authority from the landowner to the Claimant
5/ This was clearly distinguishable from ParkingEye v Beavis

Bargepole wasn’t going to challenge the Claimant’s advocate’s Right of Audience, as the Defendant wanted this done and dusted on the day, with no adjournments. But as it turned out, he didn’t need to. The DJ started by asking all the parties who they were, and in what capacity they appeared. Mr Elfer stated that he was there as a Lay Representative. After a few seconds of stunned silence, the DJ asked if I had a copy of the Lay Representatives order, and Bargepole directed him to s3 (2)(a), which says that a lay representative can only represent a party if the client attends.

Mr Elfer argued that in CPR PD 3, a judge has discretion to hear any person, even if excluded by the Order, and that it would be in the interest of the overriding objective to allow him to speak.

The DJ agreed that he could exercise discretion. However, the Claimant had not notified the court that their Witness, Mr Kieran Ali, would not be attending, and had not previously notified the Court that they wished the hearing to be conducted by a person who was not an exempt person under the LSA 2007. They had not notified the Defendant of any of this either, and this potentially disadvantaged the Defendant who would not have had the opportunity to question the Witness in a case involving complex issues.

The ruling was that the Defendant had acted entirely properly in complying with Court directions, and arranging for a lay representative to put their case, whereas the Claimant had not. Therefore, Mr Elfer could not represent the Claimant in the absence of any representative of the Claimant company.

Bargepole  then directed the Judge to CPR 27.9, dealing with non-attendance of parties, and he agreed that this applied. He would ignore all of the Claimant’s submissions, and based on the Defence argument that the Defendant had an unfettered right to park granted by their tenancy, the claim was dismissed.

On the subject of costs, Bargepole  referred to the Costs Schedule sent by the Claimant’s legal representatives, SCS Law, which the Defendant had received a few days ago, and Bargepole only became aware of on the morning of the hearing. This document set out total costs £651.20, including the £70 filing fee and £115 hearing fee. The other £466 was an inventive matter of pure fantasy, including £195 for drafting a witness statement, a £105 advocate fee, and £96 ‘fixed fee for issuing claim’, despite the claim form already including the standard £50.

Bargepole  submitted that this was not only an abuse of process, but also a deliberate attempt to mislead the Court and the Defendant, and possibly crossed the threshold of Contempt of Court. As such, it was evidence of unreasonable behaviour by the Claimant, which, together with their unreasonable behaviour in failing to discharge their obligations to the Court, meant that additional costs could be claimed under CPR 27.14(2)(g).

Miss B was therefore awarded a total of £170.80, to include Bargepole's advocate fee. Bargepole also asked the Judge to make the costs payable within 7 days, as UKPC are due in the High Court on 22 May for a winding-up petition by HMRC, and Miss B wanted the costs paid before they went out of business.

Bargepole also advised Mr E to submit his invoice ASAP, if he expected to get paid for his work today.

Prankster Notes

Parking companies are well known for submitting fictitious costs. This time it backfired on them.

Even if UKPC had sent a proper advocate, they had little chance of winning. In a residential claim, the lease will usually overrides any signage erected by parking companies, although the actual wording will be key and may vary from claim to claim.

The point of a residential scheme is not to penalise the residents, but to stop non-residents abusing the spaces, and parking companies would do well to keep that in mind.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster





Wednesday, 19 April 2017

UKPC winding up petition

UKPC is the subject of a winding up petition from HMRC.

https://m.thegazette.co.uk/notice/2759157


Given the large dividends trousered by the owner Rupert Williams recently, it would appear he could save the company if desired. However, it may be the intention to phoenix the company to get rid of the debt to HMRC. Only time will tell.

Here is a possible candidate - UK Parking Controls Limited
https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/company/06486938

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Sunday, 2 April 2017

ParkingEye lose bylaws case at Southampton port

ParkingEye v Mx X

As reported on pepipoo

Mx X's vehicle was picking up a disabled passenger from a cruise ship at Southampton. Mx X was not the driver. The port has byelaws which mean that the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 keeper liability provisions are not in force, and only the driver is liable. ParkingEye also failed to make reasonable adjustments to the disabled passenger; for instance, to let them take longer than able bodied passengers.

Court report

Turned up at court with my relative. Parking Eye had sent along someone from LPC who was pleasant enough but we obviously engaged in minimal small talk prior to going in to see the judge.

When we got in front of the judge my relative asked if I could speak on their behalf. The judge basically said no, but he might let me speak later, the LPC person then pointed out that the law on Small Claims does allow for lay representation. The judge looked less than impressed.

I wanted to try and speak and raise the issue of the "Rights of Audience" at the start but again I was asked not to speak at this stage.

The judge pretty much went straight for POFA and the Byelaws and spent some considerable time questioning the PE rep as to why they felt the Car Park was relevant land. Although they made an attempt to do so I go the impression early on the judge was not having any of it.

They then spoke to my relative who confirmed that the witness statement was true, they did not drive the car in or out of the car park and were in fact met from the ship. The judge accepted that this was the truth. They did however ask who was driving and despite the best efforts this was revealed to the court to be the person who provided the witness statement stating that a port employee had said they had to wait in the car park area.

The judge went back to the issue of relevant land and I felt was somewhat scathing of the fact that PE had used an opinion from the BPA as the basis of the argument regarding this. The LPC person tried again but I got the impression the judge was getting rather irritated at this point.

I was then asked if I wanted to speak. I attempted to bring up the issue of "Rights of Audience" and was shot down almost immediately with "I am not going there". I also brought up the size of the witness statement in relation to the claim (little response - perhaps a slight nod). I asked for the witness statement to be disregarded as the person who had written it was not present. I was told that as they had informed me in advance that they would be sending a representative then that was not relevant and the statement would stand. Finally I stressed that we felt that the land was not relevant land and therefore PE did not have the ability to take action against the registered keeper using POFA.

The judge then went into a fairly lengthy summing up going through the byelaws and pointing out the fact that ABP (in accordance with the byelaws and statutes) did have the ability to change the byelaws. They also, under the existing byelaws had the ability to enforce penalties for any breach of the byelaws and because of this the land was not relevant as defined by POFA and so the ruling was for the defence.

Prankster Notes

There have been a rash of judges getting the rights of audience issue wrong lately. The Lay Representative Order 1999, gives anyone rights of audience in the small claims track, as long as the person they are representing is there.

The Prankster suggests lay representatives print out and take a copy with them.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster


Saturday, 1 April 2017

BW Legal continue to file claims for Albert Street, Birmingham

BW Legal are still filing claims for parking events at Albert Street, Birmingham, on behalf of Vehicle Control Services. This is despite the fact that Vehicle Control Services do not appear on the signage, and therefore there can be no possible claim that a contract existed between themselves and the motorist.

This is trite law.

VCS and BW Legal have discontinued all claims where this point has been filed as a defence, including:

VCS v Zozulya A8QZ6666
VCS v Ms M 3QZ53955
VCS v Ms O C8DP9D8C
VCS v Mr H C2DP0H7C
VCS v Mr W C1DP3H5V
VCS v Ms C C8DP37CH

By their actions they therefore appear to be well aware there is no valid claim. This does not stop them filing new claims anyway, presumably in the hope that the defendant does not bring this point up and pays before a hearing. If the claim goes to a hearing, presumably they hope the judge is having an off day and does not notice the signage is not in their name.

The Prankster questions the ethics and morals of Sean Barton, CEO of BW Legal, in allowing his company to file claims when they know there is no standing to bring the claim. The Prankster has asked Mr Barton if he wishes to comment on his reprehensible actions.

Vehicle Control Services are a member of the International Parking Community (IPC), The IPC have stated they will take no action on this matter.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Possible fake appeals site

A possible fake appeals site has sprung up at http://winparkingappeals.co.uk/

The site owners don`t appear to have any appeals handlers and appear to have won zero appeals.

They appear to have copied (badly) the site from the old Appeal My Ticket site.


The site claims to have ICO registration CSN1934969, but this does not check out on the ICO website.

The site claims 218640 visitors, and to peak at 1178 hits per month as on 1/3/17 and to have 500 submissions in "the last months alone" but was registered on 17 March 2017 according to whois.

The site appears to be similar to one previously owned or controlled by Mark Seddon and Peter Lunt, so The Prankster would appreciate any information from those two gentlemen as to whether they are the owners of this new site, and if so what exactly is going on.

http://www.wrexhamwebsites.com/
theukgroup@hotmail.co.uk

Remember, "You have nothing loose with use"

The Prankster wishes to make it clear Tony Tyler has nothing to do with this site.

Parking Tickets Appeal" for Liverpool

There appears to be a sister fake site http://parkingticketsliverpool.co.uk/

This processes charges for the bargain price of £15, compared to £25. as long as the ticket is issued in Liverpool.

Despite the fact the domain was only registered on 16 March 2017, they claim Our Parking Appeal success is very high and we have had over 500 successful appeals in the last 18 months alone from our website.

The 'visitors to domain' counter appears to be shared with the other site. If you visit one site then the other, the shared counter increments by one.

The Prankster has put a number of questions to the twitter account of the site, @andsavemoney.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster



Tuesday, 28 March 2017

ParkingEye lose - no proof machines were working at Royal Free Hospital

ParkingEye v Mr H C7FC6J8D 28/3/17

Mr H purchased a ticket for what he thought was the correct amount at the Royal Free Hospital. ParkingEye disagreed. He appealed to POPLA. POPLA did not uphold his appeal.

ParkingEye therefore took Mr H to court.

The hearing

Mr H had very little to do. The judge started off by saying that it was up to the claimant not the defendant to prove their case. He said that as Mr H was saying that he had tried to pay, but either the payment machine was faulty or that the signage was in error, it was up to the claimant to prove that this was not the case.

Because the Parking Eye witness didn’t appear in person it was left to their solicitor to argue their case. She could only rely on the papers in front of her and as these didn’t contain any information to show that the machine was working properly, the judge found in Mr H's favour.

The judge wasn’t interested in anything else (Beavis, Cargius etc) and said that Parking Eye’s evidence was ‘just a lot of white noise’. It all seemed a little random. Perhaps a different judge would have come to a different conclusion.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster