Saturday, 26 April 2014

APCOA case struck out

[This story was originally posted on 23 March but was pulled on request of the motorist until the strike-out hearing was held]

This thread on pepipoo details the story of a motorist's parking fight with the hospital she worked for, Epsom St Helier.

The parking company the hospital use, APCOA filed a claim for over £700 for 4 parking incidents.

After a lot of time, effort and research, the motorist found that APCOA did not have standing to take her to court; only the hospital could. In addition, the parking company could not show any loss for the alleged breach of contract.

The motorist therefore applied to strike out the claim, paying £45.

The strike out hearing was set for 24th April.

The parking company solicitors (Gladstones) offered the motorist £80 if she would let them drop the claim so they do not have to go to the strike out hearing.

The motorist decided to let them stew for a while.

After some more correspondence between both sides she decided to accept an offer for £200 and signed a consent order to drop the case.

Gladstones forgot to send the £45 fee in to the court along with the consent order, so the strike-out hearing went ahead anyway.

Apcoa and Gladstones declined to turn up. District Judge John Smart presiding invited the motorist and her McKenzie friend in. He explained there had been a lot of toing and froing with the consent order which required a fee, which had not been paid. He stated simply that he was going to have to make some alterations to the consent order as now we were at hearing, some of the wording was no longer relevant.

The Prankster thinks this next piece is the most interesting part of the motorist's report:
"But to be frank he wasn't all that interested in me, the costs or the consent order. It was clear this was all a done deal before I had even walked in the room. He said that he was very interested in the content of my strike out application. Specifically the cases I had referred to and attached the transcripts for (Parking Eye v Sharma October 2013 and Parking Eye v Clarke January 2014). He told me that he and his fellow judges often discuss these parking company court cases they are being asked to rule on, over lunch. He said at some point one of these cases is going to go to appeal, in his view. He told me that he was going to "photocopy this material" from my strike out application.....and he thanked me."
The courts are now seeing significant numbers of parking cases, and the judges are starting to talk together. Perhaps some of them even read this blog. Interesting times lie ahead.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster


  1. Reading the transcripts, and having been part of the process myself, it sometimes appears that the Judiciary have a good grip of the issues prior to kick off.

    1. Quite often it appears otherwise. We have a convoluted situation where matters which need to be proven to criminal procedure standards (beyond reasonable doubt) are given the less demanding basis of the balance of probability.

      There exists no compliance, absolutely none, to the requirements of PoFA in respect of Relevant Contract for a starter. I have yet to see any Parking Management Company produce a contract from the landowner which devolves the landowners ownership of the car park to the PPC. Unless this happens the PPC can't invoke PoFA on a registerered keeper.

      We also have the likes of VCR who have neither a Relevant Contract, or indeed are operating on Relevant land in the control of airports.

      A good many judges seem to beleive that it doesn't matter. The fact that a PPC is used to manage parking and they have a contract, often backed up invisibly by huge [payouts to the landowner/principal, as being sufficient to grant them the authority to take legal action.

      That's far from the truth. Take NCR for instance. They own car parks or at least some car parks. They install a pay on exit system and run them as legitimate business premises.

      If other landowners followed this pattern there would be no need for PPC's. They are the modern day Mafia and it's about time the courts really got aboard this and made their presence felt.

  2. I know one judge who reads your threads

  3. NCR car parks are exactly that. Car parks. You park, you pay. The difference is that NCR want you to park there because you pay when you do. When you enter the barrier and take the ticket, you know you will be paying for the service of parking on the property. There is no grey area, duping with dubious signs, alleged contracts, etc. With private property, the alleged idea is to prevent you parking on the land unless you have a legitimate business of saying to use the local shops or facilities. Of course if you do park there when you shouldn't then you pay a penalty/monies for breach of contract, otherwise the PPC don't get paid.

    Perhaps if they did invest in the model of NCR, then their business model would look more legitimate, but for large business parks, shoppers would be put off as it's not the accepted practice.

  4. Another driver (not me) has recieved a ticket on my car on what I assume will be Railway Land at Worle Parkway station (the original circa 1994 side - which is why I'm wondering quite how the legalities of ownership lie if it was built post privatisation) from Apcoa 'working' for FGW. Everyone seems to be saying APCOA are one of the few that still never go to court, yet they did here? Especially as they seem to have money issues of their own!