The Prankster has been given permission to report on the following case, which highlights several interesting points for those of you due in court in the near future.
ParkingEye received their regular spanking, this time courtesy of EDW from pepipoo who was there to assist as lay representative. This was case 3JD02719, ParkingEye v Davison, Peterborough County Court, 17/1/2014. ParkingEye have lost every case where a lay representative has aided the defendant.
The judge, DJ Mason, would not initially allow EDW to speak, misunderstanding the difference between a lay representative and McKenzie friend. This was elegantly got around by EDW who told Mr Davidson what to say, until the judge got fed up with the parrot act, and let EDW continue by himself when necessary.
The Lay Representatives (Rights of Audience) Order 1999 makes it clear that a lay representative has rights of audience as long as their client attends the hearing. It is available here and well worth taking to any hearing.
In the small claims court judges have wide discretion on how to act. They can relax the rules and allow behaviour which would not be normally tolerated...or they can be a sticker for the rules.This judge was one of the second kind!
ParkingEye like to play fast and loose with the rules, and got caught out big-time by the judge. If you are going to court, you should make sure as far as possible you obey all the right protocols, and do not make the mistakes they did.
The judge ruled that as ParkingEye were not bringing their witnesses to court (they never do) then in the interests of fairness, ParkingEye would not be allowed to question any witnesses themselves. This is an interesting ruling, and is well worth bringing to the notice of any judge if ParkingEye try the same at your hearing.
The judge also ruled that precedents would not be accepted unless they were filed in full, and in advance. This is a very fair ruling. ParkingEye love to misquote cases and take small snippets of irrelevant text to use in their case. They never provide full transcripts in advance which leaves the defendant at a significant disadvantage because they are not able to show why the transcripts are not relevant, and of course, there is not time to read 30 transcripts (yes, really!) on the day.
If you are fighting ParkingEye, make sure you request all transcripts immediately, and repeat your requests until you get them. If you do not, file all correspondence as evidence, then ask the judge to disregard all ParkingEye precedents.
Similarly, you must provide your transcripts to the court. There are a large number on The Prankster website. The Prankster guide is funding more, and others are being donated. These will be made available as soon as possible.
The case was won because ParkingEye filed two different signs as evidence showing two different charge levels - £90 and £100. This is a regular occurrence; The Prankster knows of 8 other cases where ParkingEye's blundering legal team have filed wrong signage information. In fact, The Prankster considers that close scrutiny of most ParkingEye cases would reveal either their map or their signage information would be inaccurate. This is therefore always well worth checking.
The defendant raised that point in his defence prior to the hearing. ParkingEye replied, but only to the court and not to the defendant. The judge therefore ruled that this was not admissible, and since the defendant did not know which contract he was there to fight, the claim was dismissed.
ParkingEye were refused leave to use any of the information supplied as part of the defendant's CPR R.18 request for information, as they did not file it with the court. The judge was also very critical of ParkingEye because their bundle did not have an index, page numbers or paragraph numbers. Do not make the same mistakes. File all information you want to use both with ParkingEye and the court. Make sure you have an index and that at least all pages are numbered.
The judge also agreed that in any case the amount either of £90 or £100 was not right; a £5 fee for a 27 minute overstay was more in line with a genuine pre-estimate of loss. However, she did not rule on this point because this was not necessary.
All in all, another excellent result for the motorist, and one in which some valuable lessons can be taken away.
The Parking Prankster