Friday 21 February 2014

Civil Enforcement Limited finally turn up at court...and get absolutely spanked

3YK50188 (AP476) On Appeal from Watford County Court. Civil Enforcement Limited v Kerry McCafferty. (21/02/2014 Luton County Court). Mr Recorder Gibson QC.

Claim dismissed

Civil Enforcement Limited don't usually turn up at court if a strong defence is posted. Their usual operational mode is the same as bullies everywhere - to back down when confronted. The Prankster has a list of almost 20 cases where CEL cried off one of two days before the hearing.

This case was startlingly different. Not only did they turn up to the original hearing, but when they lost they decided to go for broke and appeal. No one knows where this sudden attack of courage came from, but it was sorely misplaced.

CEL forked out on an expensive barrister to represent them; Barrister Richard B Ritchie QC. This will have sent them some £3k-£4k down. Mr Richie immediately flexed his barristerial muscles by asking for the lay representative, Bargepole, to be barred. The judge, Mr Recorder Gibson QC, agreed - lay representatives are not allowed automatic rights of audience in a court of appeal. Bargepole was relegated to the position of McKenzie friend and the defendant, Ms McCafferty took up the reins.

This was Mr Richie's only success of the day. Despite quoting from an impressive list of cases, the judge found they were not relevant. CEL's argument was that the parking charge of £150 was a contractual sum agreed to by the defendant when she parked. The judge disagreed. His judgment was that the sum was not a genuine offer to park at that price, but its main purpose was to deter. It was, therefore, a penalty dressed up as a contractual term, and not recoverable.

The case was dismissed.

Well done Ms McCafferty, Bargepole and Andy “Two Dinners” Foster from Pepipoo, who was also in attendance.

In future this will no doubt be a key case to quote in parking cases where the charge is a contractual charge, rather than the more usual breach of contract. Although the result is not binding, it will be 'persuasive' to other similar cases. There may of course be useful aspects which apply to breach of contract cases too, and the Prankster eagerly awaits the transcript.

The Prankster thinks that CEL will be well satisfied with their spend of over £3k and will no doubt be getting congratulatory phone calls from parking companies all over the weekend. The BPA will be getting involved, doling out sanction points like confetti since their maximum allowed charge without special dispensation is £100. The DVLA will be refusing to divulge keeper details for this car park, and all other car parks with similar conditions, until the charge has been lowered until it is no longer intended as deterrent. Pigs will fly.

The original owners of ParkingEye will be breathing a sigh of relief that they offloaded the company to a willing patsy before the doo-doo hit the fan, and the list of county court judgments against parking companies started to become compelling. Obviously if they object to this judgment because it it is a contractual charge they will have to dispense with all their favourite CPS v motorist cases.

There is no truth to the rumour that CEL have applied to companies house to change their name to Civil Unenforcement Limited.

Moneysavingexpert account
Pepipoo account

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

No comments:

Post a Comment