Friday, 2 December 2016

Minster Baywatch - you've been Gladstoned. Frustration of Contract

01-12-2016 C2GF5R96 Minster Baywatch v Ms W. York

The motorist parked in a car park charging £1 for 12 hours. The motorist was perfectly willing to pay, but the machine was out of order.

The Hearing

Gladstones supplied their template witness statement stating that the motorist should have telephoned the parking company.

Minster Baywatch sent a young woman from their offices to represent them and Gladstones only passed on the defence documents to her the day before the hearing. She struggled with the judge's questions and couldn't justify how Minster Baywatch arrived at its costs.  The main thrust of her argument was that they had not had any reports the machine was out of order and they would have issued more charges if it had been.  

The defence waited until they received their documents from Gladstones, and submitted evidence which included a picture of the machine with a sign stating it was out of order, showing the date and time. She therefore had to accept the machine was out of order to the Judge - at which point it was game over.

He upheld the argument regarding frustration of contract caused by the out of order ticket machine and stated it was unreasonable to expect users to leave the car park if they had no access to a telephone to report the out of order machine or make payment. He also highlighted their signage did not make it clear the process that should be followed if the machine was out of order.

The judge pretty much ignored all the other points - stating it would be difficult to win the case based on them.

Without mentioning frustration of contract, the motorist would probably have lost.

Prankster Notes

Frustration of contract is discussed here.

It does not make sense for a parking company to charge motorists when their own equipment is faulty. That would mean they make more money than if they ran a proper service, and would therefore incentivise them to artificially break their own machines.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster


  1. Did the defendent wait until court to show the photograph of the machine not working? If not what was Gladstones/Minister Watches answer to it not working?

    1. It was in their evidence pack. Minster said that if their machine was not working they would have issued far more charges. However, the motorist was there with a bunch of friends who also parked but did not get charges. The killer of course was the picture.

  2. But if they would have appealed with the picture that they took then surely this would have not have come to court?

    1. I think you are assuming that parking operators have a meaningful appeals system which actually considers appeals properly.

    2. I had one similar, shown that the machine was faulty, appealed and my appeal was accepted by the operator so there was no real work involved. If the person who got the ticket appealed to say that the machine was broken and showed the proof of it, then the operator may have accepted it? I don't know, I can only go by my own experience.


    3. Parking Prankster3 December 2016 at 05:25

      I think you are assuming that parking operators have a meaningful appeals system which actually considers appeals properly.

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