UKPC v Miss H, Altrincham County Court.
The Prankster was contacted at short notice to help Miss H. Miss H had seen the Prankster blogs about faked UKPC photographs and thought the same might apply. The case looked unwinnable to The Prankster based on the submissions filed by both sides, but John Wilkie decided to take it on anyway as UKPC were claiming hugely inflated costs which made it likely a substantial saving could be made even if the case was lost. Mr Wilkie also studied the photographs carefully and agreed they did appear to be fake.
As a result, a skeleton based on the usual arguments was supplemented with an argument about photos, and a preliminary application about the likely non-attendance of the witness, Michael Elliott of UKPC, citing Link v M Ltd, PE v Mr H and UKPC v Mr M, was prepared.
Mr Wilkie was firmly of the view that if the preliminary application failed, the case was lost. The preliminary application failed. However, the judge did say that she would give less weight to the evidence due to Mr Elliot's non-attendance and failure to notify the defendant.
And so the hearing began. For the Claimant, the young challenger, Mr Tang of SCS Law. For the defendant, the venerable Mr Wilkie.
Initial arguments by the claimant centred on Authority and actual evidence of the parking. Once he had dealt with these points, some of which were conceded (including that the OP was driver, had parked, had seen the signs, and had breached the terms) this was handed over to the defendant.
A 'contract' between UKPC and the 'landowner' had magically been produced on the day and the defence had been given 5 minutes to look this over and noted that there was no date, no authority from the lessee, no actual chain of authority from the Landowner to the Parking Company, and no
authority to sue in UKPC's name. Having brought all this to the attention of the court, the point was made that without a date, there is no evidence that this contract was in place when the parking events occurred, two years ago.
Following this, the Signage was attacked, as the single sign submitted was not the only sign in place, and hiding evidence like this which is visible in your photos is a bad idea.
Then came the photos. A photo taken at 12.41 on 17 September was in exactly the same parking space as 22 hours later, on 18 September at 10.34
But the killer point was that the same two other cars were also parked in the same place, to the left of the target vehicle, and also across the wall in a different car park.
As Mr Elliot was not present to be questioned on these discrepancies, Mr Wilkie suggested that this caused enough of an issue to justify dismissal of the evidence and claim.
The point was made that UKPC NtK's don't comply with either Section 8 or Section 9 of Schedule 4.
Finally, Mr Wilkie argued that as the newly revealed contract stated that UKPC was agent of the Managing Agent, who was Agent for the Landowner, who was Agent for the Lessee, there was no way Beavis could apply, despite the site type being the same, as PE paid to the principal, where on this site the contract revealed no fee paid for the management contract in either direction.
The other side was given a chance to respond, and made the submission that if they didn't have permission to put up the signs, why were they there. Mr Wilkie countered with the Akhtar appeal...
The judge asked us to leave for 5 minutes to consider her judgment.
1) Signs are sufficient to make a contract, despite the lack of consideration - Beavis applies. Signage was also sufficient to notify the reasonable man of the parking terms and conditions.
2) Statutory deficiencies in the NtK were irrelevant as the OP had admitted to being driver
3) Accuracy of photos - it was fair to say that the photos drawn to the attention of the judge did raise questions of the reliability of such evidence, and therefore cast a doubt on the entire evidence provided, however, this was not raised prior to the courtroom door, and either adjourning for an expert witness, or even instructing same, would be disproportionate to the value of the claim, especially when the OP admits they were parked.
The judge then returned to the Authority.
1) The authority relies on a contract. The contract as produced put the judge in difficulty as there were various issues in reliability of the document.
a) The contract is apparently for a different site according to the front of the contract, but the current site according to the content.
b) There is no date on the contract
c) There is no power in the contract to issue proceedings.
2) The contract refers to using a company called Debt Recovery Plus Limited to enforce, but this does not in itself mean UKPC cannot sue.
3) The judge reminded herself that it is for the claimant to prove their case, and because of the lack of a chain between landowner and UKPC, there was a gap in the authority. While this was addressed to a certain extent in the witness statement, the Claimant could not be cross-examined or give evidence in chief as to the veracity of the documents submitted.
As a result, the judge was not satisfied that the contract and evidence as supplied was sufficient to prove the claimant had Locus Standi. In the judges view, the fatal point to the case was the lack of attendance of the witness.
As a result, the claim was dismissed, with £90 loss of earnings for the Defendant.
Mr Wilkie would like to thank Mr Tang for his candour and professional courtesy.
Mr Wilkie is now 21-4
The result of this case once again throws into doubt the practice of POPLA allowing witness statements regarding contractual provenance to be used. These are pro-forma documents created by POPLA which are just handed to someone to sign to say a contract is in place. This case proves that even if the landowner or operator thinks a contract is in place, the actual contents are of vital importance as a contract might not actually be in place.
The IAS are even more laughable and do not even require a witness statement to be provided. The IAS rules solely on the word of the operator that a contract is in place. This encourages corrupt practices and the Prankster has seen one case where the operator was ticketing on the public highway! The Prankster contrasts this with the way the IAS assessors consider motorist evidence. In a recent case the assessor refused to believe the motorists statement that the car contained a 92 year old disabled passenger, despite the presence of a blue badge. This double standard shows clear institutional bias and in The Pranksters view means that the IAS is not fit for purpose. In The Prankster's view any legal person associated with the IAS sham appeal system should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.
On football match days in London large numbers of enterprising young men create car parks with signage, take cash payments and issue tickets. When punters return from the match the signs and the young men have disappeared, but the cars often have a ticket of another kind - one from the council
The council are sadly unlikely to cancel the ticket.
UKPC are essentially operating in the same way. Without a valid contract from the landowner the contract to park is of no more value than that offered by the enterprising young men in London.
The Parking Prankster