Friday, 1 November 2013

BPA Ltd Warms up courts

The British Parking Association Ltd has been 'warming up' the courts regarding parking charges, as this post on Pepipoo shows

In order to maximise the awareness of POPLA among the judiciary and to seek to make the findings of POPLA persuasive if an operator has to proceed to Court to pursue any unpaid parking charges, we are working closely with the Ministry of Justice, the Justices’ Clerks Society, the Association of District Judges and Master of the Rolls' Policy Team with some success. The intention is to make it easier to prosecute people who have not paid their parking charge notices especially where they have gone to POPLA and the appellant has lost their case but still doesn't pay.
We have also put together some wording for operators which may help them when taking a case regarding non-payment to court under the Protection of Freedoms Act. These include instances where;
 the independent adjudicator has found in favour of the operator and rejected the motorist's appeal
 the motorist has been offered the independent appeals service but has not made use of it.

Normally The Prankster would take offence at an action like this, considering it a blatant attempt to influence the courts into pre-judging a case. However, as the note states the BPA 'seek to make the finding of POPLA persuasive', The Prankster considers this is probably a good thing after all. No doubt the BPA has been touring the country warning courts of the findings of POPLA regarding its biggest rogue operator, ParkingEye. ParkingEye have never won at POPLA when its costs have been called into question, as this post shows. If the BPA have been diligently informing the courts that POPLA find time after time that ParkingEye's charges are not justified, despite the many and varied excuses they use to try and justify them, then they will be doing the motorist a great service.

ParkingEye file hundreds of court cases each week - sometimes even a thousand or more. The BPA will presumably also warn the courts that the POPLA website deliberately tries to keep the motorist in the dark by not informing them they can query the charge as not a genuine pre-estimate of loss. The courts can therefore expect a huge influx of cases from ParkingEye, all of which would have been dismissed by POPLA, if only the motorist had appealed.

Of course, it would be churlish to suggest that the BPA are trying to save money by not encouraging POPLA appeals, for which they have to pay around £100. Making the taxpayer pay by diverting them to court is surely the last thing on their mind. In any case, the courts have a simple remedy. They can direct the case back to POPLA, which will save the taxpayer money and ensure a quick and simple result to the case.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster


  1. totally agree, it's a double edge sword, if the BPA Ltd want the courts to be swayed by POPLA decisions then PE will lose hand over fist regarding charges.

  2. From the motorists perspective, I'm not sure this is positive. The situation now with appeals is quite perverse. Perfectly reasonable POPLA appeals based on mitigating circumstances are being routinely turned down (e.g. I own the space, it was 37 seconds over, I was helping a stranger who collapsed), whereas appeals are being upheld for matters unrelated to the parking incident (e.g. no contract, GPEOL).

    Typically those that cite the latter are those that have done their research, and they are advised to use this because mitigating circumstances don't work. Those that cite the former are typically those that misguidedly think that operators would have a sense of fairness, logic, and/or sympathy.

    What this would result in is operators using this as a stick to beat the unfortunate motorists who fall in to the former category with (e.g. You'd better pay because POPLA decision will be upheld by court).

    So, I think all this would do is help protect the PPCs enforcement rate because they know there will always be a set of people that fall into the former category.

    1. Mitigating circumstances can never be considered by POPLA except possibly under the most extreme circumstances e.g. motorist had coronary & was rushed off to hospital leaving car on Motorway Service Area.

      POPLA would be on very dicey ground offering subjective opinions on what is sufficient mitigation to get a charge cancelled. They cannot tell the PPCs how to run their business. Mitigation should only ever be a matter for the PPC or more realistically their employers.

  3. I see it in a better light. If POPLA's results are being presented as setting a precedent or being persuasive to a court then we all need to arm ourselves with copies of successful POPLA appeals to submit as evidence of No genuine pre-estimate of loss.
    What poisons some folk will cure others......

  4. Isn't the BPA Ltd's choice of words a gross misrepresentation of authority & thus contrary to their own Code of Practice?

    "The intention is to make it easier to PROSECUTE people who have not paid their parking charge notices"

  5. We should all "seek to make the finding of POPLA persuasive" and a good start would be if POPA were to publish all their adjudications in a register along with the appeals submitted just as a proper appeals service like PATAS. A handy side effect would be that motorists could easily view those 50%+ winning appeals & see what are the successful arguments to put forward.

    1. I asked them to do this but they said they were not required to and so would not. funnily enough, when I asked them why they DID do some other things they said 'because PATAS does it like that'.

  6. This would be commercial suicide for the PPCs so I can't see this happening at all... but I guess we all know where to find sufficient obvious POPLA decisions to submit to court.