Thursday, 22 March 2018

Court report. UK CPM lose on POFA and signage

Case No. D6GF60EJ – UK CPM -v- Mrs H – Before Deputy District Judge Bruce. Chatham.

Bargepole report

This involved setting off at the crack of dawn, and waking up the larks. Chatham is so far East that it’s almost in France. Angus also turned up, to sit in on a few of the 7 parking cases being heard that day.

The Defendant was represented by me. There was no appearance for the Claimant, as previously notified by Gladstones. Although Ms Cross of Elms Legal was there for three other UK CPM cases, she hadn’t been instructed for this one.

This was for a PCN issued at The Meads, Sittingbourne, at a location where the Claimant’s signage says “No Parking At Any Time”. The Defendant was the keeper but had been at home at the time, and the car was being used by another driver.

So the defence really boiled down to two points – no keeper liability, as the Notice To Keeper (NTK) was not Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 sch 4 (POFA) compliant; and no contract was possible due to the forbidding signage.

The Claimant had submitted the usual rubbish Gladstones template witness statement, citing Eliott v Loake and other irrelevant stuff.

The DDJ (a barrister) took it upon himself to make the case for the Claimant from their evidence, and it seemed that it might be an uphill struggle given that he had awarded the case before ours to the Claimants.

We started with POFA, and he said that a ‘period of parking’ wouldn’t apply in a situation where the car shouldn’t be parked at all. I argued that if that had been the intention of Parliament, they would have included wording to that effect in the statute, but they hadn’t, so there must be a period with a defined start and end time.

The DDJ then said that the notice stated that the charges hadn’t been paid in full, and the PPC didn’t know the name of the driver. I pointed out that these statements were prefaced by the word “if”, which gave a different meaning to the wording mandated by statute.

Moving on to the signage, he said that the terms were that if you parked without permission, you agreed to pay £100. I argued that the key phrase was “without permission”, which indicated that there was no contractual offer capable of acceptance by the motorist, or alternatively no contractual licence which could be construed from this wording. I took him to the relevant paragraph from the Bull judgment, and made the case that this situation was on all fours with that one.

He then gave judgment, and at this stage we weren’t sure if we’d done enough to get over the line.

On the POFA question, he felt that the NTK was ‘substantially compliant’; however that wasn’t good enough, the wording of the statute meant that it had to be fully compliant. Therefore, keeper liability did not apply.

He agreed that the Bull case was persuasive, and agreed with DJ Glen that the only remedy could be a claim in trespass. It was a moot point as to whether the Claimant had the capacity to bring such a claim, but in any event, trespass wasn’t pleaded, so that didn’t apply.

The claim was therefore dismissed, and he also observed that had he been finding for the Claimant, he would have disallowed the think-of-a-number-and-double-it additional costs added on by Gladstones.

The Defendant did not take any time off work so there was no order as to costs.

Prankster Notes

It is sad that the incompetent bunch of solicitors holed up in the golf course at Gladstones Solicitors are allowed to keep churning out these bogus claims. Although they have totally lost all credibility, they work on the premise that either people are scared by their letters, or do not know the true legal reasons why their claims are utterly flawed, and so they make their money from people who are bullied into paying up or who fail the court procedures.

It is difficult to understand why they keep on doing this. Most people would call taking money from other people which you know you are not allowed, theft. Sadly, by hiding behind a legal shield they are able to avoid being called thieves and scammers. Nevertheless, The Prankster wonders how people like Will Hurley and John Davies can sleep at night knowing how they earn their money.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Sunday, 4 February 2018

Parking Bill moves to next stage. Will Hurley and John Davies's use of obfuscation techniques found out.

On Friday Sir Greg Knight's Parking Bill passed the second reading and now moves to committee stage. If all goes to plan it should reach the next stage around October.

The proposed bill can be found here

The bill's progress can be monitored here.

Hansard's copy of the Friday's debate can be found here.

The bill aims to impose a common code of practice and regulated appeals system across the parking industry. As Sir Greg Knight put it;

Motorists should have the certainty that when they enter a car park on private land, they are entering into a contract that is reasonable, transparent and involves a consistent process. Poor signage, unreasonable terms, exorbitant fines, aggressive demands for payment and an opaque appeals process, together with some motorists being hit with a fine for just driving in and out of a car park without stopping, have no place in 21st-century Britain.

The debate was a one sided affair with no dissenters and MPs from all sides of the house and around the country lining up to expose the scams and dirty practices of the parking industry.

There were a number of choice quotes.
“These people are the John Wayne of the cowboys”
 “The BPA are as much use as a multi-storey car park in the Gobi Desert”
 “This Bill will mark the beginning of the end of these parasites”
 “This industry is like putting Dracula in charge of the blood bank”

Some of the scams which have come to the notice of MPs include:

  • Parking companies failing to reply to correspondence
  • Confusion "marketing"; signs that advertise different terms and condition for the same car park - only one of which is correct
  • Using small signs mounted so high up motorists are likely to miss them - especially disabled motorists; using font too small for motorists to read
  • Obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception.; deliberately breaching the code of practice; cancelling charges when the motorist appeals, but not correcting the problem and continuing to accept payments from other motorists for the same event
  • repeated issuing of charges to individuals parking in their own parking space outside their property
  • repeat ticketing of motorists away on holiday
  • ticketing residents before they have been informed a new scheme is in place
  • stopping in an empty lay-by for 15 seconds to check satellite navigation settings
  • using the term PCN and the mimicking of police tickets or court documents to deceive motorists into thinking they have received a statutory parking fine.
  • charging motorists for mis-keyed their number plate into an automatic machine when the parking company has a record of all vehicles currently in the car park
  • failing to maintain payment machines then charging motorists when the machines do not work
  • Advertising phone numners which do not work; are not answered; or are too complicated.
  • Only accepting payment by app
  • Acting in a predatory fashion at hospitals
  • Making it hard to get parking permits for a change of car
  • targeting of taxi drivers picking up passengers from retail parks
  • disparity between the ease with which a roboclaim company can file a bogus claim compared to the cost of defending it
  • lack of transparency of hotspots where large numbers of charges are issued
  • charging customers for temporarily leaving a retail park
  • The grossly invasive, threatening and wholly inappropriate use of debt collection companies
  • Offering free parking with hidden terms and conditions designed only to trigger charges
  • Issuing charges to people who decide not to park
The Prankster has seen all these practices and confirms they are in common use. The Prankster receives 10-20 emails a day on these themes.

Prankster Notes

There are a large number of parking companies, and although no-one likes receiving a parking charge, most of these companies act responsibility and very rarely feature in the Prankster's email inbox. When they do, the companies involved very often accept the charge is not valid and cancel the charge.

However, there are a few companies who crop up time after time. they act in a predatory and unfair fashion. Names highlighted in the debate include Premier Parking Solutions, Premier Park Ltd, Link Parking, New Generation Parking, UK Parking Control and ParkingEye, and these correspond closely with the problem companies from the Prankster's postbag. Other problem companies include Excel Parking/Vehicle Control Services. These were not mentioned by name, but cases involving them were highlighted in the debate. 

Smart Parking, were mentioned as a company that blights communities throughout Scotland. Their activities hit England and Wales as well.

Rogue solicitor firm Gladstones Solicitors were mentioned; the MP in question had referred them to the Solicitors Regulatory Authority for investigation. It did not escape the MP's notice that the directors of Gladstones had tries to obfuscate their association with the International Parking Community by repeated changes of names and address. 

The Prankster notes that although the obvious conflict of interest was highlighted by MPs, the DVLA have already investigated this relationship and for some unaccountable reason found there was no conflict. noted. Apparently the DVLA see no problem with "putting Dracula in charge of the blood bank."

Genuine parking companies have nothing to fear from this bill. In fact, they stand to gain because removing the bottom feeding practices means a level playing field for all companies.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Link Parking, you've been Gladstoned.

Claim Number D6GF6K5E (Link Parking vs Mr Mann). 09/01/2018. Cheltenham. DJ Singleton

Last year a member of the facebook group Fight Your Private Parking Invoice was approached for help in regards to a County Court claim issued by Gladstones Solicitors on behalf of Link Parking.

Guest Report

Summary; Gladstones Solicitors sent evidence late; witness statement late; their witness wasn't present in court; they couldn't prove the permit was a photocopy; case dismissed.

Mr Mann had been ticketed for parking in a visitors bay within a residential complex where he owns a property. The claimant alleged that he displayed a "photocopied" visitors permit as opposed to a "proper" permit.

As per usual, and as I've become used to seeing, Gladstones Solicitors issued the usual nonsense roboclaim that did not set out any course of action, far from professional for a regulated solicitor.

Upon drafting a defence and submitting it, Mr Mann received the usual proforma nonsense from Gladstones Solicitors; however we proceeded ahead.

The hearing

The case was allocated to the Cheltenham County Court. District Judge Singleton gave a concise and strict set of directions for all parties, including that Gladstones Solicitors must file a response to the defence; this was submitted late by Gladstones. Parties were also asked to submit evidence by set dates. Mr Mann ensured his was sent out on time; of course Gladstones Solicitors filed their evidence late, and even filed their witness statement late. Their Witness Statement was from the director of Link Parking.

The hearing was due at 14:00 on the 9th January 2018. A solicitor appeared on behalf of the Claimant. Mr Mann was assisted by Michael Hartnett, a member of the Facebook group. In the hearing, District Judge Singleton essentially said everything that was needed to be said and was not impressed with Gladstones' conduct, wasn't happy that the witness was not present in court, and the main point being that the claimant couldn't prove that a photocopy permit was used.

Case dismissed.

It amazes me from having supported quite a few members on the forums with court claims, that Gladstones Solicitors still systematically behave in a way that is deliberately deceitful, unprofessional and is simply not the conduct you'd expect from a professional company.

They have no regard to the court system, and merely use it in the hope that they'll get a default judgment or the defendant simply pays up.

Once again, Link Parking, you've been Gladstoned.

Prankster Notes

Gladstones Solicitors are owned and run by John Davies and Will Hurley. Yet again they have shown what an incompetent pair of charlatans they are, filing a claim with no merit and failing to ensure their company obeys the most simplest of court directions.

Luckily John and Will are apparently untroubled by any moral compass, or they would no doubt be unable to sleep at night.

Their actions amount to no better than stealing from their customers, since they are not providing the least kind of service one would expect from a properly behaved firm of solicitors. They are also essentially stealing from motorists, by attempting to claim money which is not owed by them.

Link Parking, you've been Gladstoned

Happy Parking

The parking Prankster

Monday, 18 December 2017

Company not liable for driver's personal actions. SCS Law humiliated in court

UK Parking Control v XYZ Ltd. Basildon 04/10/2017. D5HW078T DJ Monlieaux

UKPC represented by a solicitor from SCS Law
XYZ ltd represented by Mr D, an employee

The Prankster was asked for help by a small company.

In March 2017 they had received a worrying county court claim from a law company called SCS Law (a trading name of LPC Law), alleging that one of their vans had been parked on several occasions on the estate which their client  UKPC managed the parking for. This was the first they had heard of this, so they requested more information, which was duly emailed to them.

The van was a company van which had been parked at the house of an employee at night. SCS Law alleged that no commercial vehicles were allowed on the estate between something like 19:00-07:00 and UKPC had “charged” the member of staff with this offence at various times in the middle of the night – midnight etc. The employee had no recollection of this happening, and did not receive any windscreen tickets. UKPC had sent everything to the previous address of the company, who did not receive any of it, even though redirection was in place. Unfortunately there were two buildings on the site with very similar addresses and the same postcode, and a large amount of post had gone missing.

The employee made enquiries and found out that UKPC do operate the parking there. New signs had been fitted around his estate, but these were done in late December – all of the charges were from October and November 2016.

The Hearing

The judge was not impressed by SCS Law's bundle. She ruled that the company had no keeper liability; although they were the registered keeper of the van, they were not the keeper for the purposes of POFA 2012, which defines keeper in a different way. The staff member who used the van was the keeper.

The driver was also not acting as agent of the company, because this was private use after the working day had finished.

No contract was formed with the driver because the signs were poor and not visible at night when the tickets were issued.

The paperwork had also not been received within the mandatory time period, and was therefore out of time to establish keeper liability.

The claim was dismissed.

Prankster Notes

There were a number of other flaws with the case, any of which could also have rendered the charges invalid. The signage was forbidding, which would make any contravention a trespass, and the charges invalid as per the rulings in ParkingEye v Beavis [2015] UKSC 67. The UKPC contract appeared to be with a company which was dormant. It was not apparent why UKPC thought they could override the rights of the home owner to park on his own drive.

The operation appeared to be a self-ticketing one, with part of the income from each ticket going to the management company. This would appear to contradict their claim they were dormant.
 which it was decided not to use were not explored.


The claim was handled by Andrew Morgan.

The claim was so flawed that The Prankster questions the judgment of Andrew Morgan for his handling of the case. SCS Law claim to be experts in parking law, but on this showing The Prankster can only conclude that they are completely incompetent.

The buck has to stop somewhere, so the Prankster holds director Len Crowder to account.

If Len is not ensuring Andrew is trained properly, and apparently failing to ensure he has basic knowledge of the law surrounding parking, then this is partly Len's fault too. In the Prankster's opinion Len is failing his duty to his client by filing no-hope claims and taking his client's money without apparently fully appraising them of the risks involved.

Really, if you are holding yourself up to be experts in some area of law, you should at least have basic knowledge of the issues.
We are a firm that specialises in litigation on behalf of private parking companies.
We have issued over 5000 legal proceedings to date in relation to parking tickets and attended over 4000 hearings representing parking companies at court
Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Did you book parking online at Liverpool Airport?

The Prankster has been made aware of a twitter thread from foodwithaface

A parking space was booked online with a company called Liverpool Airport Limited. The car was duly parked at the airport.

On returning from the trip, Foodwithaface found that the vehicle has a windscreen ticket, issued by a different company called Vehicle Control Services. The ticket claimed the vehicle has contravened some new terms and conditions which were not present on the web site.

She therefore appealed to VCS, who as usual dismissed the appeal. The dismissal appeared to have little in common with the actual appeal.

Foodwithaface therefore started a Facebook and Twitter campaign highlighting the problem. After a short time Liverpool Airport relented and cancelled the parking charge.

Prankster Notes

If you have booked online at Liverpool Airport and been issued with a parking charge, then you may have grounds to either get it cancelled; or, if you have paid, get the money refunded.

There are two issues in play here. Firstly, if you have entered into a contract to park with Liverpool Airport Limited, then Vehicle Control Services are not a party to that contract and therefore have no rights to charge to for breach of contract.

Liverpool Airport could of course get VCS to enforce the contract on their behalf - but that is clearly not what is happening - the (not a) parking charge notice claims that VCS are the creditor, and not Liverpool Airport.

The second point is that once you have entered into a contract with somebody, the other party cannot unilaterally alter it. They cannot, for instance, introduce additional terms and conditions which were not originally present.

The terms and conditions do not mention that there is a parking charge for contravening the contract. The ParkingEye v Beavis case in the supreme court shows that it is crucial for the existence and level of any charge to be prominently brought to the attention of the motorist at the time the contract is in force. If it is not, then it is likely to be an unfair term breaching the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

On another level, it is extremely worrying that the DVLA is giving out keeper data to a company who appear to have no rights to request this. The DVLA give this data out without putting any robust processes in place to check that the request is valid and that the company has the right to this data.
This is a clear dereliction of duty by the DVLA and may also be a breach of data protection legislation.


Liverpool Airport changed their terms and conditions on about 7th December. The new text is as follows.

5.2 Customers should park vehicles only within designated bays, within authorized areas and so as not to cause obstruction, failure to park within a designated bay may result in a Parking Charge Notice.

However, this does not properly provide the information about parking charges required by Beavis, such as the charge level and the full set of reasons for charges. It also does not address the fact that VCS are still not party to any contract, and so have no rights to any charges.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Is Bryn Holloway Lead Assessor of the Independent Appeals Service corrupt or incompetent?

The Prankster has been made aware of yet another bogus decision by the kangaroo court run by the the IPC, as detailed in this MSE thread.


The vehicle keeper was not the driver, and based their case on the fact that keeper liability did not apply in this situation.


The parking company stated that they were claiming against the vehicle keeper and that keeper liability applied.

The vehicle keeper informed the IAS that they were not the driver and appealed to the IAS on the single point that keeper liability did not apply. This was because the notice to keeper failed to specify the land where the vehicle was parked and also was not delivered in the correct time.

The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, schedule 4 makes the keeper liable for parking charges in certain circumstances. This is a quite incredible concession which does not exist anywhere else in contract law - that someone can be liable for a contract entered into by another person which they have no real knowledge or control over. In return for this, the parking companies have to obey a few minor rules.

It is completely fair they they need to tell the keeper where the vehicle was parked. Without this information, the keeper is completely in the dark. Clearly 'ONE STOP' does not fulfil this requirement. If this is perhaps a shop, then there are over 770 of these in England, Scotland and Wales.

The notice also has to be served within a specific time frame. The parking company claim they posted it within the time frame, but this is not the requirement. The requirement is that it arrives in the timeframe. The parking company also failed to provide any evidence of posting.

As there is no reason to disbelieve the fact that the letter arrived out of time, and the parking company are not disputing this, then clearly keeper liability does not apply.

So how then does the assessor deal with this minor irritation which blows the parking company case out of the water? Simple. They rule the late delivery as an inadmissible appeal point and tell the keeper to refer any complaints to the IPC. As for the relevant land point, this is silently ignored.

The appeal was dismissed

Prankster Notes

The assessor claims to be a barrister or solicitor (although they apparently do not know which they are).

It is therefore ludicrous that they are unaware of the basic law surrounding keeper liability and they also demonstrate a beginners failing to understand the law of contract.

It is also bizarre that a person who claims to be legally qualified is unable to deal with both points of a two point appeal.

Bryn Holloway

Bryn Holloway is the lead assessor of the Independent Appeals Service and the buck stops with him.

This is not an isolated incident. Pretty much EVERY appeal to the IAS which the Prankster has been made aware of is not dealt with correctly by the assessors.

When complaints are made, the IAS does not investigate them but instead send back a template reply stating that it cannot investigate the complaint because this would affect the impartiality of the service.

Therefore, in the Prankster's opinion, this is clear and unambiguous evidence that the process is not fair, but is biased against the motorist.

  • Assessors have little or no knowledge of the legal issues surrounding parking
  • Assessors fail to consider relevant appeal points
  • Assessors put different weight on evidence from parking companies than they do from motorists
  • Assessors make rulings which are out of line with those being made by real judges
  • The service is set up to be difficult to use by the motorist - for instance, they cannot paste into online entry fields, but must type everything out.
  • The service claims to be an ADR Entity, but fails to comply with the requirements for being an ADR Entity.
  • The service fails to investigate complaints or make meaningful changes

Bryn Holloway should be ashamed of his disgraceful behaviour in the way he runs this service.

If he is running the appeals service in this way knowingly, then The Prankster believes that the man on the street can only class this corrupt behaviour - Bryn is essentially colluding with parking companies to defraud motorists out of money they do not owe. If he is running the service in this way unknowingly, then by definition he is incompetent.

A fair appeals service needs a strong character who can stand up to the parking companies and the trade association, and run it in an impartial way. The position of lead assessor is vitally important in an industry staffed by chancers, fraudsters, bullies and incompetents. There are good people in this industry, but they are disadvantaged by having to compete with bottom feeders allowed to get away with anything.

It does not need someone like Bryn Holloway who appears on the available evidence to be a weak character, and no more than a lapdog for Will Hurley and John Davies.

So Mr Holloway, which is it? Are you corrupt or are you incompetent?

Either way The Prankster calls on you to resign and make way for someone who can do the job in a fair and impartial manner.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Court Report - UKPC Sunk Without Trace in Southampton

D2HW1A2M – UKPC v Mr L, before District Judge Cawood, Southampton

Guest blog by Bargepole

Claimant represented by Mr Carmichael (a proper solicitor)
Defendant represented by me as Lay Rep

This was a case I picked up from the Pepipoo forum. The Claim was for £2,560 + fixed costs, for 16 tickets accumulated at the Defendant’s previous residence.

His wife had been the Leaseholder of the property, and the Lease granted exclusive use of a numbered space, with no mention of any need to display permits, or to pay penalties to a third party. Primacy of contract was therefore the strongest defence argument, and all of the relevant authorities supporting this point had been included in the bundle.

I agreed with Mr Carmichael beforehand, that we should ask the Judge to rule on that point as a preliminary matter, because if the defence succeeded on that, everything else was irrelevant.

But when we went into Court, the DJ started laying into the Claimant’s advocate, saying that they had filed a bundle comprising 400 pages, and how was he supposed to deal with that in a 2 hour hearing. He also said their Particulars did not address the point made by the Defence about the Lease, and they hadn’t explained how their contract with the managing agent could constitute a variation to the lease terms.

It got worse. He then turned to the redacted contract in the Claimant’s bundle, saying the Directions had clearly said that the original should be produced. I then pointed out that, even if the copy contract could be admitted as valid evidence, that didn’t assist the Claimant. The party named on the contract was “The Residents of Park Centrale C/O Hazelvine Ltd”. Hazelvine are the managing agents, but there is no legal entity such as the residents, or any unincorporated residents’ association, and the Defendant had lived there for five years and never heard of them. The contract was also for 12 months, and dated 2013, so didn’t cover the dates in question. The DJ said he needed to consider what weight to give to that evidence, the answer being zero.

The DJ then returned to the central point, which was that the case could not proceed unless the Claimant could show whether and how the Lease terms had been varied. He said that the Claimant should have requested permission to amend their Particulars pursuant to CPR 17.1, once they had sight of the Defence. Mr Carmichael requested a short adjournment to take instructions, and went off to phone SCS Law.

Upon his return, he asked if he could make a verbal application now, under the informal procedure of the small claims track. The DJ was having none of that, saying that the Defendant was already at a disadvantage because the Claimant’s witness was not there to be cross-examined.

So he gave his Judgment. He said that the Claimant’s solicitor was attempting to pull rabbits out of a hat, and that wouldn’t work in his court. The Claimant was a Limited Company with extensive resources, and had used solicitors to conduct their case. If he allowed an adjournment for the Claimant to file new particulars, it would then probably be re-listed a few months later for a full day hearing, which was not a proportionate use of Court resources. He also noted that the Defendant had had this hanging over him for several months, and it would not be just or fair to make him wait longer for the outcome.

Claim dismissed, and so on to costs. The ordinary witness costs of £103.60 were agreed without argument, and we had filed and served a costs schedule for further costs based on unreasonable conduct under CPR 27.14(2)(g). The DJ said that the Claimant’s behaviour had been negligent rather than unreasonable, but he did allow a Lay Representative fee of £105, so a total of £208.60 awarded to the Defendant.

Prankster Notes

Rupert William's UKPC is a disreputable company which has survived two prosecutions by Trading Standards, and widespread fraud by their wardens doctoring time-stamps on photographs to falsely accuse motorists of overstaying.

Now they have been caught issuing tickets at a place where it seems impossible they had a valid contract.

It the DVLA are to keep handing out keeper details, some form of balance and control is needed to protect the public from rogues and charlatans, and some form of appropriate penalty is needed to curb irresponsible behaviour. If the DVLA are too scared to ban parking companies, then perhaps some lesser penalty is needed. The Prankster suggest it might be appropriate that motorists get automatically paid £100 by the parking company if a ticket is found not to be valid.

Oh yes, and congratulations to Bargepole for another excellent court appearance.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster