3JD09341 ParkingEye v Jones (Bristol, 28/03/2014). Bristol Retail Park. DDJ Batstone agreed with the findings of DDJ Melville-Shreeve (ParkingEye v Collins-Daniel) that the signage in the car park was 'wholly deficient'. The judge referred to ParkingEye v Collins-Daniel case several times.
ParkingEye had previously lost a case in Bristol county court for this same car park. ParkingEye's representative from LPC Law, Mr Gopal, will now forever be known by his colleagues as 'that Mr Gopal' for his performance in that case, succeeding only in doubling the amount of costs awarded against his client. The Judge, DDJ Melville-Shreeve was not impressed by ParkingEye's conduct during the case.
Perhaps not surprisingly Mr Gopal either declined to take this new case, or ParkingEye declined to use him again. ParkingEye's new representative, Mr Purchase, must have feared a hospital pass and was not disappointed. DDJ Batstone referred extensively to the transcripts of the previous case.
Referring to the signage as 'wholly deficient', he dismissed the claim and awarded the defendant £97 costs.
This case is an excellent example how a defendant, initially very worried about the case, found the courage to fight it despite the wholly unreasonable and bullying paperwork submitted by ParkingEye. The Prankster salutes her and hopes that her example will help other people in the same situation.
Once the court process is de-mystified it becomes less scary. With plenty of resources and help available on the internet, this case shows you need no legal training and no prior knowledge of the actual issues to mount a robust defence and win a case even when the other side are using trained advocates against you. All you need is perseverance, courage and determination.
With this said, the small claims court remains a lottery with different judges giving conflicting judgements on the same issues. The Prankster recommends that the easiest way to win a court hearing is never to have one in the first place. ParkingEye have lost all known cases at POPLA where the issue of pre-estimate of loss is raised, and this remains the easiest way to get an invalid parking charge dismissed.
Failing that, consideration must still be given to the time and effort needed to fight a small claims case. ParkingEye are known to settle for £50, so if this is an acceptable figure, even if you know you are likely to win at any hearing, it may well be worth attempting to negotiate. The court encourages negotiation, which can take place at any time right up to the doors of the hearing.
The Parking Prankster