Sunday, 19 January 2014

How to win a ParkingEye court hearing - worked example

The Parking Prankster has been donated the full transcript of ParkingEye v Lemon and Harris which is now available for those fighting ParkingEye court cases.

The Prankster thinks this is required reading. It shows how to behave in court; how to be prepared; how to answer questions and how to stick up for yourself when the ParkingEye lawyer makes factually incorrect statements.

The two defendants did a superb job and if they did make a few errors then that is no more than The Prankster has himself done on occasion and provides lessons from which everyone can learn.

If you are in a court case with ParkingEye then they will quote various cases they won. You should request copies of these transcripts (give them 14 days, then badger them every 7 days after that). When you read these you will be able to appreciate the difference between being well prepared and fighting a great case in court, and being unprepared, using the wrong legal reasons to fight a case, and not coming prepared with the right evidence.

ParkingEye v Lemon and Harris

The case gets going (page 5) with the LPC Lawyer, Mr Beeby producing a previously unseen contract like a rabbit out of a hat.

This was a schoolboy error for which he has no doubt been reprimanded by Chorley Towers. The whole point of the Landowner witness statement is to prevent the contract getting in front of the judge. The judge noticed that the contract was dated after the parking event and it all went downhill from there. Chorley Towers have stopped giving their LPC Law representatives a copy of the contract, presumably to stop them making this error.

You should therefore go to court armed with a list of cases where ParkingEye's landowner witness statement has been found by judges to be factually untrue. If ParkingEye do not produce the contract then ask for the case to be dismissed based on their past record. If the judge choses to adjourn instead you can now point out that judges have adjourned at least 3 cases to allow ParkingEye to come up with a properly dated contract and in none of them have ParkingEye come up with the goods.

If the contract is not dated properly then it should be game over. Otherwise, ParkingEye v Sharma and ParkingEye v Gardam will apply, and a close scrutiny of the contract should show ParkingEye do not have the right to pursue the claim in their own name. Take a copy of their standard contact with you in case they chose to redact the contract as they have done in the past.

The judge then hears the rest of Mr Beeby's case.

After that the judge hears the defendant's evidence.

Mrs Lemon correctly points out that the landowner witness statement contains untruths in regards to signage but could have perhaps at the start of the hearing explained that she did not accept either of ParkingEye's witness statements because they contained large numbers of errors, that this was a regular occurrence on the part of ParkingEye and an abuse of the court process because they never show up at court for questioning.

ParkingEye always trot out the template phrase that their signage is 'clear and ample' but this is essentially meaningless. They make these statements not from personal observation at the site, but from inaccurate maps and photographs stored on computers back at Chorley Towers. In the past they have send in pictures of the wrong car park to the court, signs they said were there in winter when the photographs showed people wearing summer clothing and signs with wrong values. They cannot therefore be trusted and their past performance can be highlighted to judges if you disagree with their evidence.

Mrs Lemon does an excellent job of explaining how the signage is deficient, using photographic evidence to back up her point. In the end the judge rules against her on this point but signage is always slightly subjective and so with another judge on another day this could have gone the other way. She also makes the point that, (as usual), the ParkingEye witness statements are not really statements of truth.

To improve the evidence The Prankster has a couple of suggestions. You can take in a video showing the vehicle's path from entry to parking. If this clearly shows a lack of visible signs then this will be very beneficial. You can also use Google maps to create an aerial view of the site, highlighting the vehicle path and also showing the entrapment zones that are so common in ParkingEye car parks.

Mrs Lemon does score a point with the signage contents. If there is any ambiguity then this should be resolved in the favour of the consumer, and that is what the judge does here. Mrs Lemon also points out that, as usual, Jonathan Langham was economical with the truth and his description of the sign wording is untrue.

Mrs Lemon and Miss Harris deal well with the standard questions LPC Law are always instructed to ask. You should prepare you own answers to these questions.

Mrs Lemon then brings up the subject of ParkingEye charges. She makes several excellent points, but again the judge finally rules against her. To strengthen the arguments, The Prankster recommends pointing out that in ParkingEye v Heggie, Clarke and Pearce the judge correctly considers the loss to the landowner, not to ParkingEye. The Prankster also recommends pointing out that ParkingEye use untrue figures. They quote a cost per ticket issued of £53 (or sometimes £55) per ticket issued. However, the DVLA have released figures showing ParkingEye issued over 500,000 tickets in 2011/12 and ParkingEye's 2011/12 accounts show costs to the whole business were £9.3 million. This gives a true maximum average cost per ticket of £18.60. However, not all costs will be allowable as a pre-estimate of loss, so the true figure will be much lower; say £9-£10. The Prankster recommends pointing out that the BPA code of practice requires any charge for breach of contract is a true pre-estimate of loss; the landowner contract (if in force) requires ParkingEye to keep to the code of practice, as does the landowner witness statement, and therefore ParkingEye's argument of 'commercial justification is not valid. There are a large number of other untruths and misleading statements in ParkingEye's justification of charge document. Feel free to download the evidence to rebut these from The Prankster's web site, but the judge may lose the will to live if you point them all out. Finally, ParkingEye's charges have been disallowed every time by POPLA on pre-estimate of loss grounds, so you could round off by giving the judge the list of known POPLA losses together with a few sample judgements.

Lastly, remember that when you win it will be best if you hand the judge a schedule of costs to reclaim your lost earnings.

Congratulations once more to Mrs Lemon and Miss Harris.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster


  1. A damm good read, it beats me how they are allowed to trade? Maybe all the relevant watchdogs are all in it together.

  2. This is marvellous, chipping away at this vile 'industry' bit by bit. I am still shocked at how loose a matter GPEOL is in a court though. They almost seem to make it up on the hoof, rather than rely on any clear-cut case law.

  3. If Miss Harris doesn't receive the £90 award she can get the court to enforce it, with some charges on top, of course. Parking(sh)Eye(sters) know only too well how unreliable the postal service is, if you catch my drift.

  4. Parking Eye seem to that contribute to that "unreliability" by not putting enough postage on their parcels and letters. In a recent case lost by PE the defendant claimed for the cost of going to the sorting office twice to collect the mail and pay for the excess postage on stuff sent to them by PE.