There being no sign of MIL's witness, owner Alan Davis, Mr Wilkie's team phoned MIL Collections to see if he would be arriving. Mr Davis got a tad upset, got off on a bit of a rant, and threatened to call the police. It seemed that yet again Alan Davis has chickened out of making an appearance. Cluck cluck cluck.
Unlike MIL Collection's fictitious Matt Murdoch, Alan Davies does actually exist. However, he seems equally reluctant to make a court appearance, which is hardly surprising given the quality of his case. The Prankster thinks it would be very interesting if Mr Davies were questioned in front of the judge regarding the true financial nature of the arrangement between MIL and parking companies they allegedly purchase parking cases from.
On entry to the hearing, the judge was concerned about Mr Wilkies Bona Fides, and had the defendant explain why he was using a lay representative. Once he was satisfied with the client, he rounded on Mr Wilkie, who explained that he has had the privilege of representing motorists in a number of cases, and does not charge for doing so. Mr Wilkies citing of the Overriding Objectives seemed to help.
At this point, the judge rounded on Mr Howes, the Solicitor for the other side. He made the point that signage is "trespasser" and forbidding, and that as there was no contract, they could not use contract to sue.
He then ask if Mr Wilkie was aware of any "forbidding offer" cases, and he seemed to know about Masterson, the High Wycombe three and the Akhtar appeal, as he specifically asked if Mr Wilkie was aware of anything that bound him. Mr Wilkie conceded that he was not. That does suggest there might be one though, as this judge had clearly done his homework.
The judge then made it clear that the particulars were "spectacularly unhelpful" in determining the cause of action, and, in the absence of a contract, and no evidence of tortuous damages, together with Particulars of Claim that were "woefully inadequate" he dismissed the claim with costs of £52 to the very relieved defendant.
It is clear that some judges are keeping a keen eye on developments in parking cases.
It is also equally clear that Will Hurley and John Davies are now in a very uncomfortable position. Any half decent first year law student would be able to identify that the signage they approved does not offer a parking contract, yet Will Hurley and John Davies have spectacularly failed to reach that level of competence. Their parking charge business makes money by advising customers on the legality of their signage. The Prankster considers that even a barely competent lawyer would have warned their client that there was a possibility their signage would not be enforceable, if not actually recommended a different wording altogether.
Having now lost a significant number of cases in court on this issue, Will Hurley and John Davies now owe a duty of care to their clients to write and warn them that their signage warranty is as much use as a neutral Mavic bike on a mountain top Tour De France finish**.
However, having previously told their clients that the signage was pukka, this could well leave them liable to claims from their clients to cover the cost of replacing their signs. Even worse, if millions of parking tickets have been issued which are now unenforceable, their clients may well have a case for claiming the lost revenue. As this would run into tens or hundreds of millions of pounds, if this action succeeded it would effectively bankrupt the IPC.
This also raises a clear conflict of interest with their satellite company Gladstone Solicitors, who have a parasitic relationship with the IPC. A proper firm of solicitors would warn their clients that it is extremely likely they have no case, and warn them of the dangers and costs of proceeding. A proper firm of solicitors would also realise that their primary duty is to the courts and therefore bring to the attention of judges in hearings that a large number of judges have found their signs do not form a contract and then allow the judge to make their decision.
As this is apparently not happening, it is time for the DVLA to draw a veil on this sorry episode and remove the right of Will Hurley and John Davies to run a parking charges trade association. They are clearly not competent to do so, in the Prankster's opinion.
The Parking Prankster
** none at all, for all you non-bike riders