Thursday, 11 December 2014

Civil Enforcement Limited fail to turn up in court. It's a numbers game

This thread in pepipoo details yet another case where CEL failed to turn up in court. The motorist stated:
The judge was scathing about them and indicated that they were "very well known" on his circuit. He was most grateful of the McCafferty transcript I provided for him and he will refer to it in all future cases
The motorist was awarded around £86 in costs.

CEL play a clever numbers game. In the 18 months from 1 October 2012 to 31 March 2014 CEL filed 2094 claims, or 116 a month (FoI 85865 from the MoJ) . Only 55 cases were heard between August and October (inclusive) or 18 a month (MoJ figures).

If we assume that all the cases which were not heard were settled for the claim amount (£130 not including court fees), then the monthly figures play out as follows:

Settled cases: 98 * £130 = £12,740

For each hearing they fail to turn up to, it costs £35 filing fee, £25 hearing fee, plus defendant's cost. Not all judges will award costs, while some will regard CEL's behaviour as unreasonable and award more costs than are normally allowed in the small claims court. Let us set an average figure of £100 for costs, which is probably on the high side.

Aborted hearings = 18 * (£35+£25+£100) = £2880

Profit = £12,740 - £2,880 = £9,860

This is an exceedingly good profit, using the court system as a form of scary debt collector, but rarely following through to actual hearings. In all reported cases when they do turn up, CEL get soundly spanked at court, because their claims are without basis.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster


  1. Surely this is the very definition of a vexatious litigant? I thought some of the Pepipoo folk were looking into this??

    1. You need a properly pissed off judge for a Civil Restraint Order. It has been tried a number of times but so far to no success unfortunately.

  2. Anybody who has paid since 1st October 2014 should have a look at "The Consumer Protection (Amendment) Regulations 2014"

  3. CEL notified a a high-profile and highly paid defendant in Newcastle-on-Tyne recently that they could not "defeat" the defendant's case, and were therefore withdrawing from the case. They forgot to inform the judge, who was greatly displeased!

    The defence included a letter from the local Planning Authority confirming that planning permission was not applied for, in respect of the ANPR cameras, AND CONFIRMING THAT IT SHOULD have been.. The defence also included a request for proof that the proper planning approval for the cameras - the source of the "photographic evidence" - had been obtained!

    Many I have come across have fallen foul of the "Ten Minute Rule" since early 2013. British Parking Association introduced the rule allowing for a 10 minute period of grace for the hapless motorist to buy his ticket without the possibility of a zealous car park attendant ticketing his car while said motorist is standing conscientiously at the ticket machine buying a ticket! Several operators, CEL included, seem to have seized the opportunity to use it as a stick to beat the motorist with in busy car parks with temperamental ticket machines......

    It seems, also, that CEL have begun to pursue "debts" in County Court which they have already assigned to Debt Enforcement and Action Ltd - a different legal entity. The Notice of Assignment of Debt clearly states they (CEL) are retaining title to 12.5% of the debt to cover their possible obligation to their client (in this case, Co-op Group!)

    Give me a couple of weeks to put together correspondence to send to Parking Prankster for him to use and puiblish

    1. This all sounds very interesting :-)

    2. Yes, think of Co-op, Whitby! Think also of the film-maker and documentary-maker! Therefore TWO films coming into planning for TV.

  4. Perhaps the film makers should get a few background shots in sharpish. CEL have been kicked out of the Co-op and need to be out next week. Cant remember the exact date but it was on pepipoo.