This is the same court as the one where HHJ Moloney gave the judgment on ParkingEye v Beavis, and it looks like the judges here have decided to follow the Moloney party line.
Mr Taylor for the claimant attempted to misrepresent the situation regarding the situation on standing, arguing that it was done and dusted following the Moloney decision, despite the clear warnings given by HHJ Moloney in his judgment. He made much of the fact that HHJ Moloney had only given permission to appeal on the penalty point, implying that the formation charges had been put to bed. Sadly the judge bought it, despite the warning given by HHJ Moloney that his judgment only applied to similar cases, and despite the fact that the Beavis decision on standing was for one of the few car parks where ParkingEye pay a fee and are apparently the principal. In most other car parks ParkingEye act as agent, and there was no evidence this was not the case in the Beehive car park.
Mystifyingly, the judge found the facts of this case were substantially the same as the Beavis case, despite the glaringly obvious differences. This shows the struggle that a unrepresented defendant has when pitted against a wily and experienced advocate happy to paint a false picture to the court.
He also found that Mr Taylor's claim that the charge was a genuine pre-estimate of loss was unsustainable, but that applying Moloney's judgment it was commercially justified.
Mr T asked to stay the case pending the appeal. The judge said that he was aware of the appeal but that as Mr T had not made the application earlier it would be unfair to the Claimant to stay the case. This disregards the obvious point that the Claimant ambushed the defendant by only submitting the Moloney judgment late in proceedings, giving the defendant little time to prepare. Ambushing defendants in this way is a typical ParkingEye tactic.
ParkingEye were awarded £175, which included £50 solicitors costs for lodging the claim. Mr T disputed the £50 charge, pointing out that HHJ Moloney did not award solicitors costs. Despite following Moloney in all other aspects, the judge decided to disregard him here and awarded the £50. Although claimants are allowed to claim up to £50 solicitors costs, ParkingEye do not actually incur these. Their claims are computer generated in such volumes that their solicitor, Rachel Ledson, would only have a few minutes to glance at each one, if in fact she bothers at all. ParkingEye's costs are also already taken care of in the parking charge, so this is effectively charging twice.
As usual the victory was a pyrrhic one for ParkingEye, spending an estimated £200 on Mr Taylor to recover £175, but this is small consolation for the motorist rail-roaded by the legal system.
This case shows it is vitally important to pre-warn the court that ParkingEye are misrepresenting the true situation, and that the case should be stayed until after the Beavis appeal is heard.
If you do lose, you should ask the judge for leave to appeal because the Beavis case was also granted leave to appeal. The judge will find it hard to refuse on these grounds. You don't have to actually appeal - you have 21 days to make your mind up. Depending on the timing of the Beavis appeal you can then either decide to appeal or not.
If your case is likely to be held in Cambridge, it may also be worth negotiating a settlement. ParkingEye will usually settle for between £50 and £100, since they always lose money if a case goes to a court hearing.
The Parking Prankster