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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71040
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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My son mistakenly parked a car in a disabled parking place

Customer Question

My son mistakenly parked a car in a disabled parking place for 4 minutes, about 5 weeks ago . The car is registered in my name, but he is the only driver. Today I have received a notice from UKCPS car parking solutuions for £100.
My son had had a £60 fine placed on his window, but was told to ignore it by the shop assistant serving him, as it had happened to many customers before.

I am extremely angry at him for parking in the disabled bay even for 4 minutes and he has assured me it was a mistake, but is he legally obliged to pay the fine, even if they threaten further proceeding if fine left unpaid. Thank you
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.

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

In order to give you an answer tailored to your circumstances, I will just need to ask you some preliminary questions so that I can consider your position from all angles.

What is the date of the offence?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.



29/05/2013. Is it an offence ?



Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 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. 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.
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. They have no claim for 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.
Also, they will have to prove that they have suffered loss. They may be able to claim a very small amount in administration costs but it is going to be the sum they are trying to claim from you. Their loss would seem to amount to no more than about £5.
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 £5 for their loss.
Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for the advice. Do you think I should now write to them and give my sons name and address as the driver and then would it be safe for him to ignore the letters they send to him?


I forgot to add that it was a free parking area for all cars, does this make any difference ?


Is it an offence to park in a disabled bay for a few minutes in a non paying car park ? (although I think is morally wrong and my son now agrees!)

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
Not at this stage. You are outside the 28 days so still liable.

Its never really safe to ignore it. There are risks. The risks are just low here.

It is an offence to park in a disabled spot if you are not disabled but only if the land owner is an emanation of the state. This is just a civil dispute.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you, but I have read on the web that parking on a private car park, that the rules regarding disabled parking bays & mother/toddler bays have no legal existence in private parking. Can you tell me if this is correct ?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 4 years ago.
No, its not.

A private land car park is basically regulated by the land owners. If they choose to have mother and baby areas and disabled bays then they are free to do so as long as they advertise them.

Parking in those locations will be a breach of contract if there is a scoop up clause in their contract.