Saturday, 31 May 2014

ParkingEye lose in court. Ignoring judge's directions and lying about them not the best tactic

3QT62386 ParkingEye v Arora. Claim dismissed for failure to obey directions.

ParkingEye lost a case which had been stayed since December. During the original hearing District Judge Jenkins, who had already ruled twice that ParkingEye did not have standing to bring previous cases, stayed the case to allow ParkingEye time to consider whether to substitute the landowner as claimant, and to potentially hear similar cases en bloc.

However ParkingEye chose to ignore the judge's clear directions, and instead sent him a letter containing the transcript of VCS v HMRC. Worse still, ParkingEye chose to lie in other cases, telling them that Judge Jenkin's previous decisions could not be relied on because he had scheduled a new hearing to decide the issue. This was a clear misrepresentation of the facts; the reason the case was stayed was to decide whether to substitue the landowner as claimant. Despite writing to Rachel Ledson, head of ParkingEye's legal department, ParkingEye continued to attempt to deceive the courts. 

ParkingEye missed the deadline to comply with the directions, but the defendant was left in the dark as to what was happening. Despite many emails and phone calls to the court, no information was forthcoming. Finally a letter was received from the court asking to attend for judgment on the case. This was a little worrying as so far the defendant had not had a chance to present any defence. The hope was therefore that judgment could only be for the defendant, but nothing could of course be sure.

ParkingEye's representative from LPC Law had no information either. He was sent to the court with no notes of information and was there just as an observer to note the judgment. 

During the hearing Judge Jenkins explained that the letter sent out was misleading. There was another  stayed case he was hearing today, where the judgment was being given. He ran through the chronology of this case, explaining that ParkingEye had not complied with his directions and that he was therefore striking the case out.

The defendant was given the maximum allowed costs of £90.

Prankster Analysis

ParkingEye have wasted a lot of money on this case; two LPC Law fees, defendant's expenses, filing fee and hearing fee, together with time and energy spent assembling their template responses, demolishing a small rainforest to print them out and associated postage costs.

Possibly a bigger cost to them is their loss of reputation with judges. ParkingEye seem to beleive that the rules and expected behaviours of the court system does not apply to them. They ignored the judge's directions in ParkingEye v Martin and again here. They have in the past filed tens of thousands of claims with non-compliant Letters Before Claim. They file new legal arguments willy-nilly without filing the required forms or paying a fee, despite warning defendants not to do the same. They conduct hearings by ambush, regularly attempting to produce new documents in court on the day of the hearing. They tick the box on the claim form saying they do not want mediation, then claim the opposite.

All this is no doubt being noted by the judiciary, and is not likely to win them friends in the courtroom. 

Meanwhile the thorny question of ParkingEye's right to bring a claim is still in issue. It seems that in some car parks where ParkingEye pay for the right to enforce charges, they may be viewed as principal. In these car parks ParkingEye do not provide their usual web interface to the landowner showing how many charges have been issues and paid, and do not collect charges on behalf of the landowner. However, in the vast majority of car parks, ParkingEye act as agent collecting the charges on behalf of the landowner. They provide a web interface showing the status of charges, and issue VAT only invoices to the landowner. In these car parks, the judgment in ParkingEye v Somerfield applies where the judges found that ParkingEye did not have the right to bring claims in their own name. This is a court of appeal judgment, and therefore binding on lower courts. The Prankster will write a blog piece on this in the near future.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster


  1. This is a court of appeal judgment, and therefore persuasive.

    Not persuasive, binding (on lower courts).

  2. ParkingEye's true status can be seen on the signs at the locations. On them all it proclaims themselves to be solely engaged to provide a traffic space maximisation scheme. and Parking is at the absolute discretion of the site.

    That doesn't even come close to them saying that they are the principal landowner. In any case, only a true lease of the car park should suffice and the ruling by HRH in the Cambridge case is bewildering since his judgement is fatally flawed in that respect.

  3. People might be interested to know the extent to which PE have lied about this.
    On 23 Oct 2013, in PE v Sharma, DJ Jenkins dismissed a PE claim on the basis that they had no standing, as they were not the landowner.

    Then on 4 Dec 2013, at the first hearing of the Arora case above, he adjourned it to see if PE wanted to substitute the claimant as landowner. Due to PE's inability to comply with his directions, no new hearing was scheduled. However, this didn't stop PE putting the following stock phrase in subsequent Reply to Defence letters: ""It should be noted that District Judge Jenkins has since scheduled a hearing to provide his opinion on this matter, and so we do not believe that any rulings made by the District Judge prior to this should be taken into account". Complete and utter poppycock, designed to mislead defendants and other courts.

    Of course, PE have form for this sort of thing, yet on their website they have the brass neck to state: "Due to the large amounts of outdated, misleading and inaccurate advice propagated on certain online forums and blogs, ParkingEye has been forced in recent months to take legal action against those who fail to appeal or pay Parking Charges." Outdated, misleading, and inaccurate - those descriptions sum up PE's correspondence to a tee.

  4. Replies
    1. I woulda asked for full costs rather than fixed.

    2. In small claims costs are fixed so getting full costs is not going to happen.

    3. How do they get that status? is there anything the public can do to push things along?

    4. I'm sure it has been considered, but the applications made must be totally without merit, which sadly due to POPLA may not be the case. We all know they're without merit, but legally speaking, they may be.

  5. EDW2000, that is the whole idea of Small Claims. As costs are fixed, it opens the law system to the "common man". It's designed to avoid the rich or companies denying the public the right to issue litigation by threatening large costs if they lose, as you see in libel cases. It's not supposed to be abused by corporations into threatening people into paying up, hence the vexatious rule, which at some point should be applied to Parking Eye.

    1. Quite correct, with the exception being that you can claim full costs if you can prove the other party has 'acted unreasonably' (CPR 27.14g).

      Arguably, PE did act unreasonably in this case, but as the defendant had already submitted his costs claim in writing, it wouldn't have been a good idea to try and change that with this particular Judge.

    2. Learned EDW2000 knows the CPR.

      'acted unreasonably' (CPR 27.14g), indeed.

      Lord Justice Bargepole may wish to associate himself with the case of

  6. In our case, the LPC representative spoke to us before we went into court, and said that she was trying to recover the £100 (charge), + £15 (court fee), +£50 (Solicitors fee), + "her cost of attending today." Was slightly nervous, as 4 hours had been scheduled for the case.

    Her opening comment in court was that it was her understanding that we didn't want to settle at mediation, and that we wanted to bring the case to court. This of course was untrue. With hindsight, I suspect she was trying to make us look unreasonable.

    Some 3 hours later (!) I was able to explain that we had been willing to settle at mediation, and that I had made what I considered to be a generous offer of what I considered to be a gpeol. The Judge appeared very interested in what I considered to be a gpeol. (£15).

    We won.