3JD04274 Parking Eye v Slijvic (10/03/2014, Warrington). DDJ Glassbrook.
ParkingEye's legal brains have spent the last few months trying to convince courts that they are agents of the landowners.
Late last year they hurriedly sent out a two page 'Document concerning agency' based on Barrister Jonathan Kirk QC's advice. This document was often filed after the filing date and without paying a fee to the court.
This was rather strange behaviour because ParkingEye complain bitterly if defendants file new legal arguments in the same manner. Their latest letter before action warns in no uncertain terms that any new arguments will be ignored if an application in line with CPR 17.1 is not made, an N224 form filled in, and a fee paid. The Prankster has helped with many cases where ParkingEye has filed new legal arguments without filling in form N224 and paying a fee.
It now appears that the monies paid to Mr Kirk for his document, and the effort spent in getting this document to all cases was not well spent, and that ParkingEye have decided to dispense with Mr Kirk's advice.
The document argued that ParkingEye were an agent (acting on behalf) of the landowner and that as they were acting on 'behalf of the principle' (sic) they had the right to bring proceedings under their own name.
However, it now appears that ParkingEye's guns for hire, LPC Law, have new briefs in the way they are to handle to case.
On Monday 10th March the hearing of ParkingEye v Slijvic took place. Mr Slijvic had a robust and forthright approach to his defence, which included serving an entire copy of the Prankster's guides personally to ParkingEye headquarters.
On the day of the hearing, the judge decided that as Mr Slijvic made a mistake and went to the wrong car park for the hotel, this was an allowable defence. He found that the grace period was not specified on any of the signs and it was therefore not clear what the terms of the contract were. The were other problems with the signage. The plan sent in by ParkingEye showed 27 signs, all on poles; the photographs ParkingEye sent in showed most signs on low walls.
Mr Smith from LPC Law argued that as ParkingEye's name was on the signs, they were the principal. The judge questioned Mr Smith in detail as the signs were not clear on this point. After Mr Smith finished, the judge summarised the legal points for Mr Slijvic.
At this point Mr Slijvic realised that Mr Smith was contradicting ParkingEye's own evidence; Jonathan Langham in his witness statement stated ParkingEye were agents of the landowner, and referred the court to Jonathan Kirk's document on agency.
The judge was not impressed with ParkingEye's clumsy attempt to switch from agent to principal.
The claim was dismissed.
The judge awarded Mr Slijvic the maximum allowable £90 for lost earnings. Mr Smith tried to argue that Mr Slijvic had only lost half a day, and so should be entitled to £45. The judge stated Mr Slijvic had probably left home at 10.30 and would not get back until 5pm, so awarded the full £90.
Mr Slijvic asked for parking costs. He suggested £100, discounted to £60 if paid within 7 days. The judge awarded £8.
Overall costs awarded against ParkingEye came to £108.
The transcript will hopefully be available shortly, courtesy of Mr Slijvic.
Prankster's NoteIf you have an upcoming ParkingEye hearing, make sure you bring it to the attention of the judge if ParkingEye try the same switch on you. Point out any relevant passages in Jonathan Langham's witness statement, and also the 'Document on Agency'. Make sure you have pictures of signage where the small print is visible.
Point out that if ParkingEye don't know why they are bringing the claim, and under what authority, perhaps it would have been better not to have brought it in the first place.
If hearing is still a way off, make sure you get clear pictures of the signage and any small print. As shown in this case, and many others, ParkingEye's own pictures and plans cannot be relied on.
The Parking Prankster