This is believed to be the first POPLA case which has been taken to court and had the POPLA verdict overturned. The case is reported here on pepipoo.
This is significant because up to this point POPLA were sticking their head in the sand and refusing to admit that the Equalities Act 2010 applied to parking.
The brief facts are that the defendant had a blue disability badge but forgot to display it. When he got back to the car he had a ticket and the car park attendant was still there. He showed the attendant the blue badge but the attendant refused to cancel the ticket. He then consistently argued all the way through the parking company appeals process and POPLA that he was entitled to a exemption on grounds of disability. He also pointed out that his disability included memory problems and that this was therefore reasonable cause to forget to display the blue badge.
POPLA ruled against him, but the defendant vowed not to pay up unless the parking company, Excel, took him to court, which they did.
At the first hearing, the judge adjourned the case because Excel had not provided the court with any details about the claim, and awarded costs against Excel. At the second hearing the judge ruled that the reasons the defendant forgot to display his badge were a reasonable adjustment considering his disability and dismissed the claim.
The Prankster considers that this should never have been brought in the first case. Parking companies enjoy preying on the elderly and disabled because they are easy prey and often give up without a fight. The Prankster congratulates this motorist for having the courage and tenacity to take the fight up against a multi-million pound turnover company with huge resources. It cannot have been easy, and must have been very stressful.
The Prankster urges POPLA and parking companies to take note of this case. If the idea is to provide parking spaces for disabled motorists, and the motorist turns out to be disabled, then no charge should apply. Life is hard enough for disabled motorists without money-grubbing parking companies trying to extort their pound of flesh!
It is difficult enough for normal motorists to write POPLA appeals, let alone those with memory problems or other impairments. Perhaps the POPLA Lead Adjudicator could take some time out from his busy schedule of writing witness statement templates and pre-estimate of loss requirements on behalf of parking companies, and write a step by step guide for disabled motorists in how to word their appeals correctly to highlight how their disabilities apply to the case. After that, he could hold a training session for his assessors on the Equalities Act 2010.
The Parking Prankster