parking fine

In two blog posts last year, we reported about a £100 Car Parking Notice for allegedly 12 minutes parking. Although our commercial litigator successfully swerved the charge, the Court of Appeal has recently decided a test case in this area…

Mr Barry Beavis was charged £85 by a private car parking company for overstaying a two hour limit at a retail centre. Mr Beavis challenged the lawfulness of the charge, simply claiming that it was an unenforceable penalty because it was not based on a genuine estimate of loss. However, last month the Court of Appeal ruled that it was lawful (and therefore payable) because it was “not [an] extravagant or unconscionable [amount]”.  Now £85 seems quite a significant sum to us, as did the £100 to our commercial litigator – the charge worked out as almost £10 per minute!

It is understood that Mr Beavis is appealing the matter to the Supreme Court but pending the appeal, the Court of Appeal has set a precedent which is binding on lower courts.

Unfortunately, our commercial litigator has since received another car parking notice. Before any criticisms of carelessness are made, he assures us that it was in fact his wife that had the car that day. He remains adamant that the car parking company is not entitled to be paid the charge and just because one legal avenue of defence may, in the light of the Beavis decision, no longer be available, there are several others.

So what is to be learnt from this update?

  1. The Courts usually do get decisions right but occasionally there are odd decisions. However, such decisions are normally capable of being appealed successfully. We think the Supreme Court will take an alternative approach to Mr Beavis’ case to that taken by the Court of Appeal. It is always worth appealing odd judicial decisions
  2. Just because one line of defence may not be available, in most disputed claims there are always other lines of defence. They just need to be identified.

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This blog is intended only as a synopsis of certain recent developments. If any matter referred to in this blog is sought to be relied upon, further advice should be obtained.