Court cases for private parking tickets
Shown below are example court cases for Private Parking Tickets
CASE 1 – COMBINED PARKING SOLUTIONS (CPS) V STEPHEN THOMAS IN THE OLDHAM COUNTY COURT. OCTOBER 2008.
In November 2007 car park managers CPS issued a parking charge notice of £85, reduced to £65 if paid promptly, against 26-year-old Stephen Thomas the registered keeper of a vehicle.
It was issued on behalf of its client St Andrew’s Church, Rochdale, after Mr Thomas’s vehicle was parked on the church’s private car park without a permit.
Mr Thomas was the registered keeper of the vehicle so the parking charge notice was served on him. Whilst Mr Thomas didn’t actually accept that he was the driver of the vehicle at the time the parking charge notice was issued he didn’t say that he wasn’t either. He said he could not remember if he was driving at the time although he did accept that he had parked at the church before. However on the same day as the ticket was issued he went on the internet and accessed a consumer website and asked for help. His posting was discovered by combined Parking solutions (CPS) who produced it in evidence! In the meantime however CPS discovered that Mr Thomas had modified the original posting when he heard that the matter was going to court. Mr Thomas admitted making a post on the website but could not remember what he wrote.
Mr Thomas also said that he had not seen the car park signs warning of enforcement although he did say that he had parked there before.
District Judge Ackroyd said on the balance of probabilities, Mr Thomas was driving the car.
He did not accept that Mr Thomas had not seen the warning signs so had, therefore, entered into a contract. And he said the charges were not disproportionately high so awarded the case to CPS.
Mr Thomas was ordered to pay the £135 parking charge with £1.86 interest.
The judge also ruled he must pay a £25 listing fee, £25 hearing fee, as well as £68 for Mr Perkins’ mileage and £3.50 for parking. Speaking after the hearing, Mr Perkins of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: “This is a landmark hearing. Internet sites have always said these are unenforceable penalties but the judge clearly stated a conract was entered into, although the defendant never admitted to being the driver. I would warn people from going on these internet sites. If you have a legal question, see a solicitor.”
COMMENT -We think the crucial point here is that the judge ruled that, on the balance of probabilities, Mr Thomas was driving the car. Mr Thomas had never specifically said that he was not. He had therefore entered into a contract (the judge did not accept that he had not seen the signs) when entering the car park. Mr Thomas was not a credible defendant. Unusually he was also asked to pay the full fine and the parking fee as well as some costs. We do not believe that this case sets a precedent. There are other cases where only a nominal amount was awarded or the motorist won.
Because these cases involve only contract law and this award seems to have been penal in nature the outcome seems in part dubious. Under contract law the claimant should be entitled only to a sum which would put him in the same position as he would have been in if the breach of contract had not occurred. This view arises from other cases reported below.
CASE 2 – EXCEL PARKING SERVICES VS MS HETHERINGTON-JAKEMAN
In a ground-breaking decision, the judge quashed a series of £100 demands sent to Victoria Hetherington-Jakeman, who had allegedly left her car at the Portland Retail Park shopping centre for more than the permitted two hours on 3 separate occasions between September and November 2008.