Case B6QZ4H3R, before Deputy District Judge Ellington, UKPC v Mr M.
The claimant’s documents had been served by SCS Solicitors, and they were represented by Miss Nottage of LPC Law. Bargepole was called in as Lay Rep although did not prepare the Defendant’s bundle, which was done by Salmosalaris.
The case was listed for 10am, but it was 12:05 before they were called into court. It soon became apparent that neither the Judge, nor Miss Nottage, had much if any previous experience of parking cases, so it was a Janet and John first steps education exercise.
The defendant’s car had been issued with two windscreen parking charges, when parking without a permit outside a housing complex (staff accommodation) within the grounds of Colchester hospital.
The claimant’s case was that they were authorized by Swan Housing to enforce parking, that their sign saying ‘No Unauthorised Parking’ created a contract with the driver, and that their NTK was POFA-compliant and therefore the keeper was liable. They hadn’t produced a copy of a contract between UKPC and Swan Housing, and their rep tried to show it to the Judge on her laptop. Bargepole objected to that, and the Judge agreed, stating they should have filed and served it 14 days before trial.
Bargepole's arguments were that there was no evidence of a chain of authority from the landowner (the NHS Trust) to UKPC, so no standing; that even if they did have standing, their signage was forbidding and did not make a contractual offer to motorists not displaying a permit; and thirdly that their NTK did not comply with s8 of Schedule 4 of POFA 2012, as it specified no period of parking, and didn’t properly identify the creditor.
These arguments went on until 1:25, when the Judge sent everyone out so she could have some lunch, and consider her judgment.
The judge called the parties back in at 2:15, and she gave Judgment. She said that the evidence of the relationship between the landowner, Swan Housing, and UKPC was inconclusive; however that didn’t matter because the signage displayed clearly only made an offer of parking to permit holders, and therefore only permit holders could be bound by the contractual terms conveyed. The circumstances of this were different from Beavis, and therefore that ruling did not assist the claimant in this case.
Any remedy for parking without a permit could only lie with the freeholder, under a tort of trespass. But that wasn’t being claimed here, and as the present claimant has no cause of action, the claim is dismissed.
Mr M was awarded £95 costs for taking time off work to attend, payable within 14 days.
Parking companies claim the ParkingEye v Beavis case is a magic silver bullet, justifying all parking charges. However this is clearly not the case; the Beavis case was only concerned with the level of charge, and there are many reasons why a charge may not be valid as well as the level of charge. In this particular claim the landowner could have sued for trespass, as per Ransome Park v Anderson, but the parking company had no right to do this.
The Parking Prankster