Tuesday, 17 June 2014

VCS and ParkingEye court cases adjourned to wait for Cambridge appeal

A case involving Vehicle Control Services Ltd was adjourned for a second time on 16/06/2014. The first case was adjourned to await the result of the Cambridge case, ParkingEye v Beavis and Wardley, heard by HHJ Moloney. It is clear that courts around the country are viewing this as some kind of test case.

Despite this, Joel Douglas the VCS legal beagle was apparently not too well informed about this case (or possibly just in a fluster because he arrived 2 hours late) and told the defendants before the hearing that he was unaware that HHJ Moloney had given leave to appeal. Luckily the defendants had downloaded HHJ Moloney's document from The Prankster web site and were able to give this to the judge.

During the hearing Joel Douglas had a sudden attack of memory unfailure and started to tell the judge all about the appeal he had earlier claimed to know nothing about. He argued that the defendants had waited until the last minute to appeal the Moloney case.

The judge adjourned the case a second time, told him to go away and wait for the appeal outcome.

Following on, the next case the judge heard was a ParkingEye case. He asked ParkingEye's representative from LPC Law whether it was true the Moloney case was being appealed. The LPC Law wallah did not know so went off to phone ParkingEye. He returned to say that ParkingEye did not know whether an appeal was submitted but word on the grapevine was that it had.

The judge adjourned this case too. No doubt he was suitably unimpressed that VCS seemed to know more about the appeal than ParkingEye were admitting to knowing, and that none of this had been bought to his attention previously by the claimants.

The ParkingEye wallah submitted a claim for over £200 for his time which was held over.

Prankster Analysis

It is clear that many judge's are reluctant to overrule HHJ Moloney's ruling, despite the clear warning he made in both his judgment and his leave to appeal, and despite the fact that the car park in question was a one-off in that ParkingEye pay £1,000 a week to the landowner.

However, when shown the leave to appeal document, they do take note of this and often adjourn the case rather than make a ruling of their own. This is sensible because if they follow the HHJ Moloney ruling they would be duty bound to allow an appeal too, which would further clog up the courts.

Given that an appeal is underway, if your case hinges on the fact that the charge is not a genuine pre-estimate of loss, it is therefore worth any defendants writing to both the court and ParkingEye.

To the court manager

ParkingEye are relying on the case of ParkingEye v Beavis and Wardley. However, HHJ Moloney recognised there was no higher case law backing his judgment and therefore gave leave to appeal. I enclose a copy, which shows his thoughts clearly. Paragraphs 1a to 1c of his judgment also go into more detail. This case is now being appealed to the court of appeal.

Several subsequent hearings have been adjourned on the day, after the leave to appeal was brought to the judge's attention.

I therefore ask whether the court can use their discretionary case management powers to adjourn this case until after the appeal is held. This will save court resources and also the time and money of both myself and ParkingEye.

If the court does not adjourn your case beforehand, but does on the day, you can then use this letter to argue against any ParkingEye costs, and argue for your own costs to be paid by the court.

If your case hinges on other matters, such as double visits, signage and so on, you may prefer to get it over with rather than wait a long time with this hanging over you.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster


  1. I'm interested, how if its public knowledge is the appeal being funded?

    1. Don't see as how it matters how it's being funded.
      If it were necessary though I know many folk would be willing to dip into their piggy banks to chip in.

    2. was the only reason I asked - If there was a crowd fund that needed a few quid

  2. The ParkingEye v Beavis and Wardley case may well become something of an own goal to the rights of defendants in these cases. As you rightly say, the case was one where there was a payment to the landowner for the rights to issue tickets. That fact is not one which is being allowed for consideration in the appeal though and this is a gross oversight as landowner rights are more important in the 1st place than the amounts charged.

    By only allowing an appeal based on the charged amount sets in stone, as far as county courts are concerned, that a right does exist for ticketing on private land; even though it's by payment to the landowner.

    It may well be seen as setting a precedent for other cases where such an landowner-PPC agreement isn't made, thus resulting in judges up and down the country deciding that a PPC does have the necessary rights.

    I think this should be referred back to HHJ for allowing the right to add this to the appeal. It's more important than the charging structure as far as I'm concerned.

    1. Too late for that now, the appeal papers are with the Court of Appeal, and it's being appealed solely on the penalties / commercial necessity issue.

      If the CoA rule that the charges are unenforceable penalties, then any agreement (or lack of) with the landowner becomes irrelevant; the whole basis of the tickets falls apart.

  3. I cannot see how there is any commercial justification based on the fact that PE pays the landowner 1000 pounds a week for the dubious pleasure of charging a motorist £85 for an overstay.

    1000*52=52000 pounds p.a. but there are 510 car parking spaces in the car park. It would follow that PE is paying £52000/510 for each space for a year i.e.

    approx £102 p.a. for each space (rounded to the nearest pound). So how is £85 for an overstay of say 10 minutes justified when PE is paying £102 a year for each parking space? What is the commercial justification for that?

    1. ParkingEye v Somerfield contains some gems, one of which is that ParkingEye issue 0.4 parking charges per parking space per week.

      So they would make £85 * 0.4 * 510 = £17,340 a week here.

      A nice little earner!

    2. That means a gross return of (17340*100/1000)=1734% - in line with the pay day loan comapnies!!!

  4. "Fake Law Firms....." where have I heard this before ?

  5. Wow, good bit of bedside reading the court report:

    I won't spoil the ending for you... ;-)