Wright Hassall brand-POPLA assessments are now coming in, and it is clear they are far from the standard set by London Council. This has the smack of a rubber stamping exercise rather than that of proper considered assessments, asking the question of whether Wright Hassall thought they were getting money for old rope during the tender process and could just write off all appeals with a few minutes work.
Here is their boiler-plate paragraph regarding charge levels.
The Supreme Court case judgment in ParkingEye v Beavis is 124 pages long, but nowhere does it state that a blanket charge of £100 is reasonable in all cases.
In fact, the Supreme Court went to great lengths to make this clear, tweeting that the judgment took into account the use of the car park, and the clear wording of the notices.
There have been a number of recent court cases where gnu-for-hire lawyers** have swaggered into court, chanting 'Beavis, Beavis, Beavis' only to leave with their tails between their legs whn the judge patiently explained that Beavis did not apply in this instance.
The Prankster expects the same diligence from Wright Hassall in their adjudications. 'Pursuant to the guidance' just doesn't cut the mustard and gives no confidence that Wright Hassall have analysed the current case on the facts. The Supreme Court made it clear that the penalty situation was 'in play' and was only taken out of play by mitigating factors. Each case therefore needs to be analysed to see if these, or similar mitigating factors apply; if not, the charge remains a penalty and an unfair consumer contract.
It is clearly necessary to examine both the placement and wording of the notices. There is no evidence that Wright Hassall have done this (the Prankster has previously analysed the Supreme Court decision in this respect).
It is necessary to examine the nature of the charge. If it is for trespass, for instance, then the Supreme Court decision favours the motorist. There is no evidence that Wright Hassall have done this.
It is also necessary to examine the nature of the charge and the use of the car park. There is no evidence that Wright Hassall have done this. If the charge is for overstay in a free car park, subject by its location to misuse, then the Supreme Court analysis is likely to apply. If not, then the way the legal sysem in this country works, it would be up to the claimant to make their case and show how ParkingEye v Beavis applies in this situation. It would certainly not be Wright Hassall's job to make the case for them. The lead assessor of POPLA made this clear when he first stayed the cases to await the Supreme Court judgment.
In the Beavis case, the Supreme Court made it clear there was no viable alternative to a large charge to prevent overstaying free time. However, this would not be the case in all circumstances. For instance, MOTO Services make a modest charge of around £12 to deter overstaying the two hours free time at service stations. This presumably works well for them as they have been doing this for many year.
Given the current crop of verdicts, The Prankster therefore asks the question, are Wright Hassall incompetent, institutionally biased, or just plain lazy?
If the answer is the first, then Wright Hassall must be removed as POPLA assessors. Alternatively, if the answer is the second, then Wright Hassall must be removed as POPLA assessors. Lastly, if the answer is the third, then Wright Hassall must be removed as POPLA assessors.
The Parking Prankster
** These are like gun-for-hire lawyers, only not as good***
*** A bit like the IPC Baristas are not as good as Barristers