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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69259
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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I have received a parking charge notice for £50. When parking

Customer Question

I have received a parking charge notice for £50. When parking my car, I put in my registration details (in the same way I have done in many other car parks) and then put in my payment of £1 for one hour's parking. The display ticket was not forthcoming. Attempts to retrieve my coin in order to start the process again all failed. Consequently, I wrote a note explaining that I had paid for one hour's parking and displayed that clearly in the windscreen. 32 minutes later I left the car park. The parking notice was issued on the evidence of photographs taken of my car entering and leaving the car park. This I do not dispute. My subsequent appeal was rejected as it was claimed that the machine which had failed to issue my ticket was apparently unable to show evidence of my registration number having been entered - it also didn't seem able to show that it was, consequently, one pound to the good! I was then disinclined to write off the payment I had made, as I am now even more disinclined to pay a hefty fine for a transgression not committed. What else would they expect me to do, as there was no evidence of anyone attending the car park? Where do I stand legally? Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

Who is the issuer please?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Highview Parking. PO Box 3573, Barnet EN5 9QA.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.

This is a private land fine. They are not parking fines whatever they may look like. I realise that many of them mimic those issued by the council or the police but they do not have the same authority.

A private land firm is not an emanation of the state. It does not have the right to punish you for the manner of your parking any more than your neighbours do.

This is essentially an invoice arising from a civil dispute arising from an alleged agreement whereby you agree to park for a fee. They say that you accepted a contract by parking there and breached it by staying too long or otherwise parking at variance with the contract. That is what is in dispute.

Private land fines used to be very easy to escape by refusing the details of the driver. They only have a contract with the driver. Unfortunately the Protection of Freedoms Act came into force in October 2012 and it makes the registered keeper liable for the penalty if he does not disclose the details of the driver within 28 days.

All that means is that the claim runs against the registered keeper. It just makes it easier to find the person against whom there should be enforcement.

The chances are high that they will not sue. Even though the law has recently changed in their favour and they were quite aggressive in the beginning, they do not sue in the majority of cases.

If they do sue then they would only have a claim for the sum of the original fine plus about £35 in costs. They will send you debt collection letters in which they will threaten to sue you for their debt collection costs. Do not be intimidated by that.

Even if they do go to court, they would still have to prove that the signs are adequate and clear. Quite often they are not.

They will send you some very nasty letters though. You will get debt collection letters making threats of legal action. They will probably get Graham Whyte solicitors to write to you as well. None of these are anything to worry about. It will not impact upon your credit history and it will not add to the costs.

Unless you actually get a court summons, none of these correspondences have any legal basis. If you do get a court summons then you can always part admit the claim and offer a small amount for their loss.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for this - very helpful. Highview did, in their rejection of my appeal, refer to my right to appeal further to POPLA - presumably they are obliged to do this. Would you suggest - disclaimers notwithstanding and agreed to - that I bother with that or is it, as rather implied in your answer, a waste of time. (It does add to Highview's costs, I gather!)


Of course, the botXXXXX XXXXXne for me is that I committed no offence as the money was paid. In the unlikely event of a showdown, would the onus be on me to prove that I did, or on them to prove that I didn't? Thanks again. Tony Millinger

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
it would have been better if you had not appealed but there is no point in crying over spilled milk now.

I wouldn't bother with POPLA personally. I don't see the point. I think its just an opportunity to put your head in the noose and give them information that they will use against you.

There are people who disagree with me but thats always been my practice.

POPLA have no powers of enforcement anyway.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69259
Experience: Over 5 years in practice
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

A final follow up if I may, and mainly for my wife's peace of mind: would the burden of proof be on them or me if this thing did somehow get out of hand? Many thanks, Tony M

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
No, if they sue the burden of proof is on them although only to the civil standard.

Even if you lost at court it would only be the sum of the original fine plus about £35 in costs and a fixed solicitor's cost of £50 and that is worst case scenario.

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