How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Jo C. Your Own Question
Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71130
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
Type Your Law Question Here...
Jo C. is online now

I parked on a private car park for three hours one evening

This answer was rated:

I parked on a private car park for three hours one evening a few weeks ago. The signs were lit, albeit not clearly. These signs stated that parking charges were due 24hours a day. 6 months earlier the car park had been owned by the council and was free at night. The style of the signs is very similar to those which were used by the council (and which still are used in the council's other car parks). Therefore, I did not look at the signs because I thought that the car park was still owned by the council and was free at night.
I have now received a Parking Charge Notice from the private owner demanding £60 or £100 if I don't pay with two weeks. I am claiming that I am not liable as I was not aware of a contract between me and the company (i.e. because, reasonably in my opinion, I did not look at the signs as I thought it was still a council car park). The private company has heard my argument but will not back down. Am I right to claim that there can be no contract between us if I was (reasonably) not aware of it?
Many thanks for your help. :)

Jo C. :

Hi. Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this. What is your question about this please?


If i refuse to pay on the grounds that a contract did not exist, would a case be found in my favour in the unlikely event that it went to court?

I have converted this to Q and A for you as I couldn't see your responses.

Who is the issuer of this fine please?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Parking Eye Ltd, Chorley


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.
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you