Mr Hargreaves represented the claimant
The defendant (a solicitor) represented herself
The claim was for £150
The claim had been issued for a breach of conditions as a motor scooter had been parked in an area on the Spinningfields Estate, Manchester in April 2016.
The defendant had two defence points which were no Locus Standi and inadequate signage. Locus Standi was very briefly discussed but the Judge appeared to accept that ES had it.
Signage was then discussed. The defendant stated that they had parked their scooter in an area that they believed was part of the public highway (a paved area). Mr Hargreaves advised the Judge that there was clear signage 10ft away from where the scooter was parked which stated 'no stopping'. The defendant advised that the nearest signage is at least 20ft away and was partially obscured by trees.
The Judge looked at a set of photos of the area provided and told Mr Hargreaves that the photos showed that the signage was certainly more than 10ft away. The defendant advised that there had been no parking ticket placed on the scooter. The Judge then read from POFA schedule 8 and 9 regarding the issue of notices (I was unclear as to why he read both as I believe that paper tickets are not issued at this site) The Judge then asked to see a copy of the notice that had been issued. Surprisingly, Mr Hargreaves did not have a copy of this.
The Judge commented that a copy should have been made!
The Judge asked Mr Hargreaves to show him the terms and conditions on the signage. On viewing copies of the signage, that Judge stated that the signage was forbidding, there was no mention of the word 'contract' on them. The word 'breach' was on the signage. As a result of this, the only person that could bring a claim was the landowner for trespass.
Mr Hargreaves said that the signage had been approved. The Judge asked who approved it. Mr Hargreaves said the IPC approved it. The Judge asked to see a copy of the IPC code of practice but Mr Hargreaves could not oblige.
The Judge then delivered his verdict which was in favor of the defendant. Loss of earnings/expenses were then discussed. The defendant stated that she was a self employed solicitor. She had two cases at a court that she had to pay another person to attend instead. The Judge asked what the cases were and the defendant gave details. The Judge then awarded the defendant £125.
I found Mr Hargreaves to be a pleasant man who did not say very much in the hearing. I got the impression that he has had very little (if any) experience in parking issues.
The only losers yesterday were ES Parking as they will have to pay Gladstones Solicitors for sending Mr Hargreaves and pay the defendant £125. No wonder Gladstones are keen to issue claims on behalf of parking companies because they are winners everytime even when the parking company loses.
As we left the court room and went down in the lift, Mr Hargreaves commented to me 'you look different without your hat'. I suspect he thought I was the Parking Prankster as the Prankster wears a hat in the photo of him on his website!
Congratulations to Ms A. on your well deserved win.
Not all people turning up in court without hats are The Prankster.
When a parking company joins the IPC the signage is vetted by Will Hurley and John Davies (or their employees/agents). They have been warned almost since they started that their signage model does not create a contract and therefore are well aware that they risk their member's livelihood by advising them to create parking schemes which are not enforceable.
Will Hurley and John Davies then encourage their members to use their other company, Gladstones Solicitors to take court action to try and enforce charges.
There is a clear conflict of interest when two scoundrels who clearly do not have the same understanding of contract law as judges are encouraging parking companies to use their signage model in one company, and then take futile legal action with another company.
In one case this year a Gladstones Solicitor client was ordered to pay £2,000 in costs for their unreasonable action in bringing a claim in the first place.