It appears that the owner of the car park or their enforcing agents (“Claimant”) have threatened to issue Court Proceedings against you as “Defendant” under Part 7 of the Civil Procedure Rules 1998 claiming for damages comprising a penalty for unauthorised parking worth a few hundred pounds, plus interest on damages and the court fee to issue the Proceedings.
If you fail to respond to the Proceedings, the Claimant will request that the Court will enter a Default Judgment against you for a specified amount and you will have a County Court Judgment (“CCJ”) entered against you. The Claimant may not enforce the CCJ but leave it to you to discover it at a much later date when you attempt to obtain credit (such as a mortgage to buy a house) and are declined by the prospective lender as the CCJ will adversely affect your credit rating.
You must therefore file at Court and serve on the Claimant an Acknowledgement of Service stating your intention to defend the entire claim. You must then serve and file a Defence stating your reasons for denying that you are liable for the damages claim. There is plenty of good advice online about how to get out of parking fines, such as unclear signs and bay markings, the parking enforcer not proving that they have the right to levy the fine and them not replying to your attempts to appeal the PCN.
Thereafter, you are in a bit of a tricky spot. The value of the PCN will be comfortably within the Small Claims Track threshold of £10,000 damages. Even if the Claimant issues Court Proceedings against you for this amount, plus interest, and wins at a fully contested Trial, they are unlikely to be awarded their legal adviser’s costs of the Claim. Legal advisers’ costs are generally not recoverable in the Small Claims Court: only Court fees for issuing the Claim and for the Final Hearing. Nevertheless, the Claimant will be well-versed in such low-value recovery action against Defendant car owners and will be able to instruct legal advisers for a low fixed fee to litigate the entire Court Proceedings on its behalf making it economic to claim against you. These parking enforcement companies’ entire business model is based on most people paying up at the first time of asking as it is a small claim and not worth defending. However, this is a double-edged sword as the value of the PCN may not be worth the parking company pursuing to a Final Hearing.
I suggest negotiating an economic settlement of the Proceedings with the Claimant by offering, say, 25% of the value of the Claim with scope to settle up to 50%, to dispose of the Claim economically.