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Monday, 6 November 2017

Ex-tower Nigel Barrington-Fuller made bankrupt

This week The Prankster referred to the case of Mayhook v NCP. In that case Nigel Barrington-Fuller, an ex-barrister towed away Mr Mayhooks car from an NCP car park and refused to return it. Mr Mayhook successfully sued NCP and Barrington-Fuller, and was awarded damages and costs.

As a postscript to this story, it has now emerged that Barrington-Fuller has not paid NCP monies owed to them and had therefore been made bankrupt in May 2017.

The story was reported on pepipoo.

It is not known whether the monies owed had anything to do with the Mayhook case.

Mr Mayhook was awarded £87,000, broken down as follows;

Solicitors costs £45000
Barrister £12500
After the event Insurance £24000
Disbursements £4500

This did not include NCP or Mr Barrington-Fuller's costs - presumably they shelled out a similar amount. It is therefore quite possible that the bankruptcy concerned monies that Barrington-Fuller owed to NCP as part of this settlement. However, this is of course just speculation.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Sunday, 5 November 2017

IPC Kangaroo Court strikes again

The IPC appeals service, the IAS,  has been regularly exposed as a kangaroo court which does not provide a fair or independent appeals service. Instead, it is institutionally biased towards the parking operator.

A fair service would produce results which are by and large the same as would be produced in a court of law. Sadly the lead assessor Bynn Holloway has created a bogus set of rules for his minions to
follow which achieve almost exactly the opposite.

For example, in the civil courts the burden of proof is on the claimant. Although Bryn is apparently a barrister, and therefore should know this, he has created an appeals service in which the exact opposite applies.

Many parking companies have decided not to use the keeper liability provisions of the Protection Of Freedoms Act 2012, and so only the driver is liable. In those cases it is therefore up to the parking company to prove the driver is in fact, the person they are accusing of being liable. A large number of small claims cases have shown this to be the case. Here is just one of the many recent cases
http://parking-prankster.blogspot.co.uk/2017/07/new-transcript-keeper-not-liable-if.html

Therefore it strikes me that there is a simple question that the court has to ask itself. Is there evidence produced by the claimant to show that Miss Quayle, and I will call her Miss Quayle for the remainder of the judgment, is there evidence to show from the claimant that Miss Quayle was on a balance of probabilities the driver on 28th December 2014 when the car was parked in the Princes Dock area? The claimant has produced absolutely no evidence that the defendant was the driver and simply says that they are entitled to presume that the defendant was the driver because effectively she was the registered keeper at the time.
I disagree. 
However contrary to this, on Bryn Holloway's misguided orders, his lackeys regularly assume that the keeper was the driver even though the parking companies offer no evidence whatsoever.

Even worse, evidence the keeper provides to show they were not the driver is regularly ignored. In one case the Prankster helped with, the parking company stated on the driver was male. The keeper was female and therefore any fair appeal service would find for the keeper. However, this was not good enough evidence for the IAS. The keeper also provided witness statements from the occupants of the vehicle that she was not even present at the time of the incident (she was at home preparing a meal). Even this was not good enough for the IAS! The appeal was dismissed.

Of course, it is not possible to run a fair appeals service which believes whatever the parking company states, however incredulous, while simultaneously disbelieving the evidence of the motorist.

When motorists complain they have received a poor decision Bryn routinely refuses to investigate and instead sends out a template letter stating that he cannot investigate because this would compromise the service. Of course, this is smoke and mirrors. Any proper appeals service would properly investigate complaints.

The Prankster therefore has no hesitation in saying that based on the available evidence it appears that Bryn Holloway is an incompetent fraud who lacks the experience, moral fibre and legal knowledge to run an appeals service fairly and properly. In the Prankster's opinion he has zero credibility and should seriously consider whether he is the right person for the job.

Bryn's lackeys hide behind the cloak of anonymity. The Prankster believes that this is because if their names were to become public they would lose all credibility in the legal community. The Prankster therefore has no hesitation in saying that based on the available evidence it appears that Bryn's minions are either biased or incompetent, and have no place in serving on an appeals service.

Here is one recent example of the IAS's bias and incompetence.

The motorist parked in a car park in Folkestone run by CPM a couple of months ago. It turned out the ticket machine was out of order; a small group of people gathered round it and one person phoned the number given. She was told to text the car reg no to the mobile number given, which the motorist duly did. Two hours later they returned to find a PCN recently affixed to the car.

The motorist appealed to CPM, which was declined, and then in due course to IAS where the appeal was also dismissed. At no point was the point answered that the motorist had sought out and obeyed the instructions of the parking company.

The Prankster firmly believes that if this goes a claim the parking company will be laughed out of court by the judge. Essentially an oral change to the parking contract has been discussed and agreed by both parties, and this will therefore take precedence over any signage.

The fact that Bryn Holloway fails to understand this proves in the Prankster's eyes that he is not a fit person to run an appeals service and that his knowledge of contract law is shaky at best and non-existent at worst.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster


Clamping is back! But is it legal?

The Times this week reported that some car parking companies are attempting to bring back clamping.

The situation arises at station car-parks where byelaws are in force. The British Parking Association has recently told its members that they do not need to offer an independent appeals service for tickets issued at these car parks, which means that POPLA is no longer available to motorists.

This immediately sets alarm bells ringing. Indigo, one of the companies who manage railways car parks, lost 90% of their POPLA appeals in 2016.

As any parking tickets are issued under byelaws, the next available step to a motorist who wishes to dispute a ticket is to wait for the parking company to prosecute the driver at a magistrates court.

Essentially, the payment of the £100 charge to the parking company is equivalent to a bribe to stop them taking the process to court.

However, the court route opens up more problems than it solves. The first problem is that the Protection Of Freedoms Act 2012, sch 4 does not apply, and only the driver is liable to any charge. As this would be a criminal case, the burden of proof is on the prosecution and that burden is significantly higher in criminal than civil cases. We have seen that similar cases where POFA does not apply and the driver is not known are routinely thrown out of civil court, and this would therefore be even more likely in criminal court. The byelaws do also provide that the owner may be liable, but this is not necessarily the same as the registered keeper. As all the TOC knows is the name of the keeper, this leaves them with a tricky problem. For instance, with many vehicles, the actual owner is a finance company. In addition, there is the possibility that the supposed ability to fine the owner may be ultra vires, as the enabling regulation (Transport Acts) only refers to "conduct of persons while on railway property".

Chances of successful prosecution are therefore seriously diminished.

The second problem is that any case must be filed within 6 months. Unlike civil cases, where a debt can be pursued for up to 6 years, there is a much stricter time limit for bye-law cases. If the parking company dilly dallies, they will find themselves timed out.

The third and more fundamental problem, is that the penalty for breaking a byelaw is a fine, and any fines levied go to the state. The parking company gets nothing. There is therefore no financial incentive for them to take a driver (even if they can identify them) to court.

Clamping

Some creative person at the parking companies has therefore decided to chance their arm and reintroduce clamping. “Clamping in operation” signs have started appearing in certain station car parks operated by Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR). The signs warn:

i) Any vehicle parked contrary to the railway byelaws may be clamped and/or removed by
the Operator or authorised person;
ii) The costs incurred by the Operator for this may be recovered from the owner of the
vehicle;
iii) In addition to any parking penalty, a clamp release fee of £125 will apply

GTR have stated that they will "target only persistent offenders who aren’t buying tickets and owe us large sums as a result."

The premise being that if somebody continues to dispute that a parking charge is owed, then one day they will return to the station to find their car clamped. The car will not be released until all the parking charges are paid, together with a release fee.

However, the legal basis for this appears to be extremely shaky. The Prankster has seen an extremely insightful analysis by a former barrister which identifies five reasons why clamping in these circumstances is probably unlawful.

In summary, these are;

a) Train Operating Companies do not have lawful authority to clamp/remove. Any attempt to use the Railway Byelaws 2005 to grant that authority is ultra vires, for the power to make such a byelaw was not granted – either expressly or impliedly - by Transport Act 2000.

b) The words of Byelaw 14/4/ii are not enough to constitute lawful authority within the
meaning of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. In order to create the lawful authority that
Parliament had in mind it would have to (a) define how, when and where clamping can take
place, and (b) incorporate the required level of regulation.

c) Even if Byelaw 14/4/ii did amount to “lawful authority” it clearly does not permit
clamping when the authorised person only has reason to believe a breach has occurred. Any
clamping carried out on the basis of a merely alleged breach (which would, in any event,
require an associated appeal process) would be illegal.

d) Even if Byelaw 14/4/ii did amount to “lawful authority”, there is no lawful authority to
charge a release fee in addition to costs. Any attempt to demand such a fee before removing
the clamp would be another form of extortion.

e) A demand that a motorist pay an unenforceable “penalty” is wholly unwarranted. To use
a clamp in order to force him to pay it would be an act of blackmail


There is a similar previous case on the record. In Mayhook v NCP, NCP confiscated Mr Mayhook's car and refused to return it. After a long legal battle they found themselves a five figure sum lighter.

The Statute of Marlborough 1267 (the relevant sections of which are still in force):
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/aep/Hen3cc1415/52/1/section/I
makes it a criminal offence to seize property over alleged unproven debts.

In summary, the removal of the motorists right to independent appeal and the reintroduction of clamping appeal to be ill thought out and likely to introduce more issues than it solves.

Motorist Options

What should a motorist do if they find their vehicle is clamped on returning to the station?

POFA 2012, schedule 3, chapter 2 provides that it is a criminal offence to immobilise a vehicle without lawful authority. The above analysis strongly suggests that lawful authority is not present.

One option would therefore be to involve the police. Although they might not be sufficiently au fait with the nuances of the law, they will at least be able to take down the details of the clamper so that they can be prosecuted for criminal activity at a future point in time. The police might also be persuaded to order the removal of the clamp in order to prevent a breach of the peace, but this is not guaranteed.

Attempting removal of the clamp is another gray area. This may or may not be lawful depending on circumstances.

It might be that the most prudent manner is to pay the charge, then immediately start the legal processes needed to reclaim any amounts paid, and also to invite the commencement of criminal proceedings against the clamper.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster


Saturday, 4 November 2017

NWCP lose second reported court claim

D3QZ88D0. NWCP v Mr H 29/9/2017.Preston

The IPC have waved the hand of incompetence over another of their customers, resulting in the inevitable court loss.

The full story is on MoneySavingExpert

Mr H received a windscreen ticket on their car, but did not believe the charge was valid. Mr H therefore waited for the Notice to Keeper, and sent off an appeal. At that time, NWCP did not do court, but this was about to change, as previously blogged, and three months later a claim form was received.




Mr H constructed a defence with the help of MSE, with CouponMad pointing out that the signage made no offer to park, and that the charge of £100 was hidden in the small print.

The court struck out NWCPs initial statement of case. The court was generous, allowing NWCP a second chance even though they had failed to comply with Civil Procedure Rule 16.4 and Practice Direction 16, paragraphs 7.3-7.5.

A new statement of case was supplied and a hearing date set. Mr H misunderstood the court process and did not submit a witness statement. Upon realising the mistake, a witness statement was quickly submitted.

NWCPs witness statement was remarkably similar to that submitted for their previously reported losing case.

Mr H made a drop hands offer, which NWCP did not reply to.

The Hearing

Mr H didn't have to expound on the filed defence and was only required to answer questions from the judge.  Mr H was first asked if the car was parked there and he confirmed it was.  He then asked Mr H if he was defending as a keeper or a driver. Mr H replied as keeper. The judge acknowledged that he didn't need to give details of the driver.

The judge then asked about Witness Statements. NWCP contested that it was received late. Mr H advised the requirement to file was in small writing so they didn't notice, and also said they thought they would get another letter after NWCP had paid the fees. The judge ruled there was nothing new in the Witness Statement so he would accept it.

NWCP was asked to briefly explain the case in which they said they had affixed a notice on the car, there were clear signs everywhere, they sent NTK and various letters and that the defendant didn't appeal. They then said he only got in touch after court papers were received. The judge didn't question why he didn't appeal.

The judge asked what signs were placed, and he was referred to the pictures in the evidence pack.

Then came the fun part. The judge grilled NWCP rigorously about the terms on the sign and the terms of the contract in the sign. They were asked who could park on land to which they replied "Pre-Authorised Vehicles only". They had a list of vehicles on a device which were authorised. Mr H's car was not on there hence a ticket was issued.

The judge asked what the contract was between NCWP and the driver and where this was stated in the sign. They didn't have much an answer.

Judge asked if there was invitation to offer parking for "unauthorised vehicles". They said no. He said there are 3 elements of a contract (which Mr H had mentioned in his defence) - offer, acceptance and consideration. The first of these being offer, as there was no offer for unauthorised vehicles it becomes a case of trespass. As the offer to park is for pre-authorised vehicles only therefore there is also no contract in place. The driver was forbidden to enter land and hence this was a trespass issue.

NWCP were given a chance to comment on this. There representative explained that they had an audit on the sign which the IPC had passed. The judge did not find this explanation helpful.

The judge went on about for some time about there being no offer for unauthorised vehicles therefore there was no contract this was an issue of trespass. The judge stated he was considering this as a preliminary matter, and as this was an issue of trespass they had no grounds to make a claim. He concluded by saying the case was dismissed.

Mr H was awarded £5.35 costs.

It was reported that NWCPs representative's face was well worth the price of admission - total anger, disbelief and red in the face. She asked Mr H to forward  bank details so she could transfer the £5.35.

Prankster Notes

Yet another customer has been sold down the river by the incompetents  at the International Parking Community. The background to the signage is that when the IPC came into being the main model for parking charges was to charge damages for breach of contract, and this model was in disarray. Will Hurley of the IPC explained to the DVLA that  contractual model was in disarray, and that charges for breach of contract were unenforceable because parking companies made no loss if the contract was breached.

Instead, he came up with a wizard wheeze for customers of the IPC, which was not to use the breach of contract model but to charge on a contractual basis.

Now, it is perfectly possible to construct a contractual basis for parking. As an example, the signage could say something on the lines of;
You can park here if
Your vehicle is pre-authorised
or
You pay £100 to park

However, due either apparently incompetence or lack of legal experience, it appears that Will Hurley is unable to draft or audit a simple contract on this basis, and his signs inevitably end up as a dogs' breakfast of conflicting sentences.

A large and ever increasing number of his customers have have their claims thrown out of court by judges explaining that the signs do not create a contract but create a trespass situation instead.

Where notices are confusing or ambiguous consumer legislation requires they they be interpreted to the benefit of the consumer.

Will Hurley is therefore doing his customers a great disservice by continuing to promote a broken signage model. One problem might be that if he admits his mistake, and starts a rewording campaign across the IPC, this may open him to huge legal costs from customers who formally trusted his legal competence.

Ironically, the very model which he told the DVLA was broken and unworkable has been reinterpreted by the Supreme Court who have ruled that damages need not bear any relation to costs incurred.

It is worth noting that a trespass claim can only be brought by the land occupier and so this claim was bound to fail. Ironically the same man apparently owns the parking company and the land, albeit under different companies, so it might have been the case that if he brought a claim for trespass under a different name it could have succeeded, although in a trespass case only actual damages can be sought.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Sunday, 29 October 2017

Gladstones client PCM UK hit with £1500 unreasonable costs order

PCM UK v 'Sassii'

This case has been reported on MoneySavingExpert.

The defendant was being pursued for three parking charges totalling £300, plus fictitious charges of £180 added by Gladstones department of random numbers, £22.39 interest and legal costs of £130, totalling £632.39. Gladstones finest, Jamie Ashford made a bit of a dogs breakfast with the claim form, scribbling additions here and there.




Gladstones failed to pay the hearing fee or send in any evidence meaning that the claim was struck out.

A hearing was then held to determine costs.  Coupon-mad and Loadsofchildren123 assisted with the case and with producing a comprehensive costs schedule, charging at the litigant in person rate of £19/hour. This impressed the judge who said they had ''never seen a professional one like that before''

Originally the judge was intending to order only the amount of the claim form but the defendant explained to him that PCM / Gladstones never supported their claim with any shred of evidence and that they personally spent 3 months going around,  printing and managing thousands of pages of paper and exposing their personal details to Gladstones. The defendant ended stating they thought it is a type of fraud designed to waste a defendant's time if they didn't pay the alleged PCN.

In total, the defendant asked for £2607.

The judge said: ''It's unreasonable behaviour from a commercial company against an individual but I can't allow all the amount the defendant asked for and I order £1500 against the defendant's costs''.

The amount is payable within 14 days - by Monday 30th October 2017.

Prankster Note

The Prankster notes that any potential customers of solicitor Jamie Ashford, SRA Id 435535 should bear in mind that due to his lack of respect of the civil procedure rules they are potentially exposing themselves to unreasonable costs orders. These can of course be significant, as the above shows.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster


Gladstones lose on behalf of District Enforcement "chancers"

District Enforcement v X Ltd. D6GF60H3 at Nuneaton County Court on the 23/10/2017. DDJ Wyatt

District Enforcement issued a parking charge by post to a company whose vehicle they claimed was not parked correctly. No windscreen ticket was issued. The first indication was a letter claiming £100 which arrived 13 days after the event, an incident in Coventry in January 2017.

The address recorded was not accurate so the company prudently decided to contact DE to ask for photographic evidence to make sure it was actually their vehicle. They wrote to the PO Box number supplied, but never got a reply.

7-8 weeks of further demand letters followed, but no photographic evidence was ever supplied. The only telephone numbers for DE and Gladstones Solicitors which worked were 'pay by card' ones. Naturally the company declined to pay.

The first time a photograph of the car was produced was in the court bundle, received two weeks before the court appearance date. This is a clever Gladstones trick and the purpose is to give defendants as little time as possible to discover the flaws in Gladstones case. Of course, this is completely against the ethos of the civil procedure rules, which require both parties to disclose their case and try and work to a solution before a claim is even filed. Understandably behaving in an ethical manner like this would completely destroy Gladstones business model, so is never likely to happen.

Gladstones "witness statement" was of course no such thing, but was a thinly disguised statement of case. Claimants are meant to file the statement of case at the time of beginning a claim. However, this is not possible as Gladstones do no due diligence and therefore know almost nothing about the claims they file; certainly they have no idea of the possible merits or not of the case.

The documentation ran to 14 pages, which at first look were really daunting; the purpose of this document is to browbeat and bully the victim into submission. However, like the majority of the shoddy work undertaken by Gladstones, the closer the documents are examined, the more laughable they become. For instance, the contract to manage the land was not in place at the time of the incident,and the photographs were of a different place to the site plan.

Hearing

The hearing was the usual Gladstone shambles. The defendants sent a representative from their company. Gladstones sent Miss Jackson. In court, she admitted that they could not find a current contract and so just bunged in one which started in August 2017. She also tried to argue that an aerial photograph from above, was a site plan, even though it didn’t actually show the place where they were claiming the vehicle was parked and the building in the background was so obviously different. This just had the effect of making her look incompetent.

She tried to argue that they didn’t need apply a ticket to the vehicle, because their signage states that ANPR cameras are in use. This fell flat when the judge commented on the only photograph of the vehicle “But this was  obviously taken by someone standing in front of the car on the ground, and there is no ticket on the windscreen"

The local rumour is that a local resident is bunged £50 for every photograph he takes.

In his summary, the Judge tore into their representative. “Why did you bring this company to court when you knew your evidence which you had presented was incorrect and the contract out of  time?”.

Miss Jackson was forced to defend her actions by claiming she had not put together the Court papers, and somebody else had done it.

The claim was dismissed and costs were awarded against District Enforcement, to be paid within 2 weeks.

Prankster Notes

Some interesting comments from the company in question are worth repeating.

Most members of the public will do anything to avoid standing up in front of a Judge, but this experience has shown us that DE are real “chancers” and we shouldn’t let them get away with it, but do all we can to bring them to book.

They had no reservations about making us stand up in court, and lose time from our work, but they were very ready to try and add on a load of costs if it had been found in their favour.

Do not be bullied or intimidated by them. They aren’t that clever.

Thank you Parking Prankster.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Gladstones Solicitors lose in Grimbsy

UKCPM v Ms P. Grimbsy 27/10/2017.

Ms P asked the BMPA for assistance with a court claim.

The background was that on 16th November, 2016 she stopped for a few minutes on Pelham Road, Grimsby to collect some drugs for work; monthly one of the staff goes to Lloyds Pharmacy on the corner of Dudley Street/Pelham Road to collect the medication. As the box is often large she stops on Pelham Road for as long as it takes to walk into the shop, sign for the medication and put it in her car.

This looks like a public road but apparently is private and part of it is owned by Pelham Accountants who boosts their income by self-ticketing using UKCPM. They don't put up decent signage in order to maximise their income. Ms P fell victim to this scheme and was issued a ticket.

Ms P did not agree this was a fair system and so contested the charge. UKCPM used the discredited and incompetent Gladstones Solicitors to process the claim, which eventually made it to a hearing this week.

The Hearing - Motorist's report.

Am so excited and proud of myself! Had my hearing at Grimsby today.

I did not have a clue about Court procedures and Gladstones' representative (a solicitor) came up to me in the waiting room trying to show me some older photos of the road in question.  I said why are you  speaking to me - you're the opposition and I don't really want to have this conversation!  I did not take his photos.  He was oh so patronising, telling me how the Court hearing would go and that I should address the Judge as "sir" and basically talking down to me.

The judge was absolutely lovely and I felt he was on my side from the start. The solicitor spouted on about Beavis (which the judge said was not relevant) and showed a photo from two years ago stating the road was private. That was also ruled as not relevant. The solicitor even tried to make a point of the fact that I was parked half on and half off the pathway which the judge made nothing of.

The ticket was given when I parked on a road adjacent to a big car park.  The railings of the car park had signs on and the solicitor tried to allude that the signs also applied to the road.  There were no signs to say it was a private road and the solicitor had no proof just some badly copied Google maps and a piece of paper purporting to be an agreement with the landowner.  The Judge said their signs did not create a contract and also that there was no signage to say that it was a private road.

I told the judge I had never been in court before but I was familiar with the area in question and if I had known it was private I would not have parked there. I told him I could not spout legal arguments. The judge went on at length about the signage being the contract. In his eyes the signs did not create contracts.

He finished by saying in the balance of probabilities it was totally unclear as to what the signs meant and whether UKCPM had control of the road.

So he dismissed the case and we got up to go and I remembered about costs. The solicitor looked even more annoyed and I was awarded £90.00!  I got the distinct feeling he'd encountered Gladstones before!

As we left the Court building I smiled at the solicitor and said "well that went well didn't it"  He didn't reply.....

Prankster Notes

Jamie Ashford and Helen Cook run Gladstones' parking department. Based on their track history they must be two of the most incompetent individuals ever to have their papers regularly fill the courtroom wastepaper basket.

The Prankster would say their credibility has taken a great hit being seen off by yet another courtroom novice, but they never had any to start with.

The Prankster notes that their boss John Davies appears to be of the same opinion as he has recently revamped the Gladstones' website to remove all details of his staff and of what his firm does. Now, the only way to get past the homepage is to login with an account.

Sadly, the perverse reality is that despite their incompetence regarding parking related law, Gladstones' owners also run the IPC, a trade body whose members are allowed access to the DVLA keeper database.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Thursday, 26 October 2017

Funding Appeal to get Civil Restraint Order against Private Parking Solutions London Ltd

A funding appeal has been launched to raise money to to get Civil Restraint Order against Private Parking Solutions London Ltd

A link to the appeal is here.

The background to the appeal is that PPS have so far lost 18 out of 18 court hearings regarding parking claims in Ashford town centre car park, yet continue to bring new claims. They were turfed out in June 2017 by the new Leaseholder, Greene King brewery, for their aggressive ticketing, but continue to bring claims for historic tickets.

The way to stop this appalling behaviour is to get a Civil Restraint Order to stop them bringing new claims regarding this car park. Please consider donating to the appeal in order to stop this unscrupulous company continue its bullying ways.

Prankster Notes

As well as PPS, Gladstones Solicitors are hardly blameless in this matter.

Gladstones Solicitors take on and file court claims without doing any due diligence or any credible investigation as to whether the claim is valid or not. The 18 lost claims by PPS clearly demonstrate this. Their owners line their pockets through bullying and intimidating tactics, making their money not through assisting valid claims, but because they know that many people are scared of court and will therefore pay up to make the claim go away, regardless of validity. The Prankster therefore considers that both Will Hurley and John Davies are morally bankrupt individuals and wonders how they sleep at night, knowing that their actions could have serious financial effects on totally blameless victims.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Private Parking Solutions London Ltd lose 18th consecutive case

25/10/2017 D7GF4H98, Staines. Private Parking Solutions London Ltd -v- Mrs A, before District Judge McCulloch

Guest report from Bargepole

Claimant represented by: Mr Shippard

Defendant represented by me as Lay Rep (a guest appearance on behalf of the Ashford Parking Group, who have been campaigning long and hard about this site).

This was another case from the notorious Ashford town centre car park, which is split into two sections with two different PPCs, and no clear demarcation as to which bit is which. PPS have now been turfed out (as of June 2017) by the new Leaseholder, Greene King brewery, for their aggressive ticketing, but have a back catalogue of unpaid tickets from when they were still operating. Before today, they had brought 15 cases to court in either Staines or Guildford, and all 15 had been dismissed.

There were a number of defence points, but the main ones that the Judge quickly identified, were that a) the defendant had purchased a P&D ticket, which was evidenced in her bundle; and b) there was a letter from Greene King confirming that PPS were not authorised to pursue charges.

Mr Shippard tried to get the Judge to look at a Land Registry plan which was on his laptop, but as the Defendant hadn’t been served with it, and it wasn’t in the Claimant’s bundle, she was having none of it.

It was accepted that Mrs A had purchased a valid ticket, which may have blown over when placed on the dashboard. But none of that mattered, because the Claimant had, yet again, failed to demonstrate that they had any authority to act in that car park at the material time. Claim dismissed, and £98.60 costs awarded to Defendant. We asked for further costs for unreasonable behaviour, but no dice.

An application is now being prepared for an Extended Civil Restraint Order, to be submitted to the Circuit Judge, prohibiting PPS from issuing further claims relating to that location. This will include a list of the 16 claims that have previously been dismissed, and will argue that they should not be wasting the court's time with claims which clearly had no merit.

Channel 5 TV came along, filming the Defendant and members of Ashford Parking outside the court before and afterwards, for a four-part documentary they are making about parking (council and private).

On the way to the pub afterwards, a message was received from another PPS victim whose case was being heard at the same time in Guildford. This one was dismissed almost before he sat down, as the Judge spotted that the Claimant’s photos were of a completely different vehicle. He had flown in from Spain for the hearing, and was awarded his full costs of £280.

There was another case involving PPS at the same court, before the same Judge, at 2pm, with a different lay rep.

Unsurprisingly, that was dismissed as well.

Prankster Notes

There does seem something wrong with the system when a company brings 18 cases to court and lose them all.

A large share of the blame must lie with the company that brings these claims to court, Gladstones Solicitors and their owners John Davies and William Hurley. These two individuals claim to understand parking related law. It is is clear from this debacle they do not. Equally worrying is that the same two people are allowed to own and run the International Parking Community**, a trade body whose members are allowed access the the DVLA keeper database.

The Prankster believes there should be a mechanism to remove access from the DVLA database from companies and associations who abuse the privilege like this.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

** The International Parking Community have nothing in common with the Independent Parking Committee (apart from sharing the same initials), who are a different organisation. Any claims from a parking company that they belong to the Independent Parking Committee are likely to be fraudulent and should be reported to Trading Standards.



Saturday, 9 September 2017

ParkingEye witness "tantamount to perjury"

ParkingEye v Mr X. Crewe. 8/9/2017. DJ Rogers

Mr Price appeared as a Lay Representative for a case at Crewe County Court. The claim involved a stay of 1 hour 8mins at Ibis Styles hotel car park where no ticket was purchased.

Court Report

LPC Law representative Ms Sharma attended for ParkingEye. She had a chat before the case; she was very pleasant and explained the court process, then went on the quote Beavis and how it was binding on lower courts. She didn't like it when I simply said "only in certain circumstances..." and went on to query if she was the same Sharma as in case law that I had brought with me.

The clam was heard by DJ Rogers who outlined the case and asked if we were OK with the ParkingEye witness, a case handler, not being there. I Informed the court that we had sent an email 8 days ago to ParkingEye and the court saying that we were not happy with the witness statement as it contained 'facts' that we disputed and we had requested her attendance.

There was a short adjournment while advice was sought. ParkingEye's position was that it taked them 10 days to reply to emails so it would have been unreasonable to expect a reply before today. The DJ said the failure of PE to deal with their emails for 10 days was not his concern; it was a failing in their systems but he would allow the case to go ahead and put what weight he felt was deserved on the statement in the absence of the witness.

The case was then presented for PE. It was scrutinised at each step by the DJ who was not letting anything pass unless it was evidenced.

"Are you happy that a contract exists for PE to enforce parking on this site" - "No Sir."
"Are you happy that a contract existed on the day of this parking allegation for this site?" - "No Sir."

The evidence submitted by the claims handler included a site plan showing 18 signs, with one of them prominently to the left of the site entrance.

"So you are relying on this plan as submitted?" - "Yes Sir."

Evidence then was then examined of the "clearly displayed entrance sign".

"So you are relying on this photo of evidence of the defendant having clear notice that he was entering a paid for parking site?" - "Yes Sir."

DJ Rogers (having, unlike PE and the LPC Law representative read our submissions) "So can you explain why the plan shows the entrance sign to the left of the entrance, whereas your own photo shows the sign to the right of the entrance where it would have been obscured?"

LPC "It is a minor oversight."

DJ "No it isn't, you see the witness goes on to state that the signs as indicated on the plan were present on the day of the parking event. That is tantamount to perjury, she has ample access to all of ParkingEye's records and in the course of her employment she has tendered a document to the court which contains evidence that cannot be true. I therefore cannot rely on her evidence and I am dismissing her statement and therefore every document that she produces in that statement. That leaves you with the outline of facts on your court claim which is so brief and without supporting evidence that you cannot sustain a case, so it is dismissed."

We had no wages to claim as the defendant was not at work this day, but did point out that he had incurred parking costs of £2.10p. "Do you wish to recover that cost?" Well what do you think? The chance could not be missed could it?

The LPC Representative said outside that we were lucky as it was a technicality and she had no problems with how ParkingEye had dealt with the case. I pointed out that she might not have a problem, but the Judge obviously had, and it was a shame that we had not even got to the defence case where we had several points to put forward, any of which could have won in their own right.

If anyone else is fighting a case on this car park I will happily share the results of my research to assist them.

Prankster Notes 

The Prankster has seen many appalling witness statements from the likes of ParkingEye, Gladstones, Excel and BW Legal - basically all of the regular court attendees. He has seen signage that could not have been present, fake Notices to Keeper that were not in force on the date of the incident, and dubious statements from parking attendants. In the Prankster's opinion, there have been misleading statements, misleading calculations and regular attempts to mislead the court with incomplete information. ParkingEye are one of the worst culprits.

The only time these "witnesses" ever turn up are in major cases such as the Beavis case. It is worth noting that in that case the statements were eventually substantially altered from the rubbish that was trotted out before it was apparent the case was going to be important.

Parking companies and their lawyers simply do not care about the truth and are content with regularly supplying false information to the courts, happy that they will not produce a witness to defend their porkie pies, and that nothing bad will therefore happen to them.

The Prankster thinks this should stop,, and that a witness should be produced for every claim if the defendant so desires, so they can be challenged on their statement. If the parking company does not want their witness to be examined, they can withdraw the case.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster




Wednesday, 30 August 2017

CP Plus lose data protection claim

Dr Bird v CP Plus. C6QZ6Y27. 30/08/2017. Guildford County Court in front of DJ Bell

Dr Bird received an unsolicited invoice from CP Plus for a parking event at Clacket Lane Services which did not occur. The make, model and colour of the car in the Notice to Keeper were not the same as Dr Bird's car.

CP Plus had therefore failed to check the details after receiving keeper and vehicle information from the DVLA. This was therefore a breach of their KADOE contract with the DVLA. The DVLA agreed with Dr Bird that no parking charge should therefore have been issued. Dr Bird also investigated Clacket lane and found an entrance apparently not covered by ANPR cameras, which means that no parking charge for that site can be considered valid, as it would be possible to leave and return without being logged.

Dr Bird therefore made a claim against CP Plus for breaking the Data Protection Act 1988. He asked for £750 for distress.

CP Plus failed to respond to his letter before action, but did file a defence.

The claim reached the mediation stage in December 2016 with CP Plus denying that they are liable for their errors.  It is interesting to note they make their money from drivers making "a human error" but deny all liability when the error is on their part.

On Tuesday 22 August 2017 Russell Corin rang Dr Bird claiming to be from CP Plus and asking for his email address as they wished to use a solicitor to reach a settlement agreement.  Dr Bird received the email at 11:00pm on Thursday 24 August from Derek Millard-Smith of JMW Solicitors. JMW are the solicitors recommended by the British Parking Association to their members.

Dr Bird decided to reject the offer, and instead proposed a counter-offer. Derek Millard-Smith rejected that and proposed another offer, which was again rejected.

Derek is the self-acclaimed leading lawyer in the UK Parking Sector and also claims to be able to save client's reputation and to maximise damage limitation. However, it seems he was unable to work his magic this time around.

The main bone of contention was that Derek Millard-Smith wanted a gagging clause so that Dr Bird could not make the result public. Although he offered more money that was actually claimed, Dr Bird felt he would rather make the result public than be gagged.

On the 29 August Dr Bird received an email from Russell (who actually works for Ranger Services) stating that they had paid £810 into his account and apologising for not being able to attend court the next day.

The Hearing

Dr Bird attended court anyway due to the lateness of the payment. He asked for costs for unreasonableness on this basis.

DJ Bell's approach was that the case had been settled as they had paid the amount claimed and the defendant did not attend the hearing.

He refused costs on the grounds that their behaviour was not unreasonable even though their late settlement did cause considerable inconvenience to both the court and Dr Bird.

Prankster Notes

Dr Bird was unlucky not to get costs for unreasonableness. Only last week Nicholas Bowen QC was awarded £1550 costs when ParkingEye failed to turn up to pursue their claim against him.

Practice direction 27.9 stated that parties must give 7 days written notice if they are not going to attend. However, parties are also encouraged to settle claims right up to the courtroom door and so the judge had to balance the two conflicting requirements.

CP Plus have previously claimed that no DPA claim has ever been successful against them. This is obviously no longer the case, and they have now lost a claim for £750 plus costs.

Gagging clauses are common in DPA related parking cases as the parking companies do not want the public to know they have paid up to settle a claim.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Monday, 28 August 2017

Judge disposes of Civil Enforcement Limited set-aside and hearing

D6GM0372 Civil Enforcement Ltd v Mr B. Reading. 23-08-2017

Mr B found he had a judgment against his name for a parking charge from Civil Enforcement Ltd. The court papers were sent to the wrong address, which is why Mr B did not know about the claim.
He therefore applied to have the judgment set aside.

Defendant's court report

I just wanted to let you know, yesterday I attended court and the following happened:

Judgement against me was set aside.
The claim against me was dismissed
I was awarded my costs (£255) which must be re-paid in 14 days

The judge commended me on my witness statement, saying it was clear and concise and allowed him to make a quick judgement.

Firstly, he quickly agreed to set aside the judgement, because it was clearly served to an incorrect address. This took him less than 10 seconds.

Secondly, he agreed that the claimant (CEL) had not established or submitted evidence that proved it could bring this claim against me. I was smiling at this point, as I realised he was about to also dismiss the claim against me. He then asked if there was anything else I'd like to add. I asked for my costs to be reimbursed (£255 set aside fee), which he agreed with and said CEL must pay me in 14 days.

The case lasted perhaps five minutes, maybe less. The judge spent more time complimenting me on my witness statement and telling me I should change career and become a solicitor than the case itself. I told him I was very happy with my career choice and after telling him what I do, he laughed and agreed.

Thanks for all of your excellent advice. I appreciate the help.

Prankster Notes

It is rare that a judge will both order a set-aside, then hold the hearing immediately; however, as this case shows, it is not impossible. if the claim has no hope of succeeding, it is good management of court time to dispose of it immediately.

Civil Enforcement Limited (CEL) specialise in filing bogus inflated claims using template paperwork. A typical parking charge of £100 will have inflated to over £300 on the claim. Even if the parking charge is valid, the extras will typically not be.

We will never know if this particular charge was valid. To save money, CEL typically send out a template claim which has no details of the actual parking event. Their business model relies on the victim being scared of court and immediately paying up. When the claim is robustly defended, CEL usually don't bother to turn up.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster



Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Excel Parking Services v Drain Trace Ltd

Excel Parking Services v Drain Trace Ltd

Keeper report

After numerous threatening letters from BW legal wanting payment for a private parking charge dating back 2.5 years I finally had my day in court!

I run a drainage company and one of my engineers got a parking charge whilst working for Direct Sports and Fitness at Cavendish retail park in Keighley; he didn’t buy a ticket while working on site. We received the notice a week later and I appealed sending the job cards and invoices stating we were working on site. Excel Parking chose to ignore this even though my vans have a distinctive logo.

After numerous emails and telephone calls to both Excel and BW Legal they finally took my company to court. I gathered all the information, emails, photographs, etc and arrived at court. A young solicitor working on behalf of BW Legal introduced herself and asked for a consultation, I agreed. She then went on to mention that it was an open and shut case that my engineer hadn’t purchased a ticket and as such had broken the agreement. She then went on to say I should settle. She produced a letter for a £10 settlement that was sent to me. That was her first mistake as that was for a previous charge on a different date but on the same site. I mentioned that I would settle for £10 as a goodwill gesture. She phoned B W Legal who declined my offer; they wanted the full court costs of £269.00 plus a further £400 for the solicitor. I refused and said I will let the judge decide.

We Went in to court, sat down and the judge introduced himself; then the solicitor went to work stating I had broken the agreement by not obtaining a ticket. I mentioned that we were working on site and the signage doesn’t instruct contractors to sign in at site or give a number to contact the parking company.

The judge was gobsmacked that they expected a company working on site to purchase a ticket. He asked the solicitor“If I was to have a heart attack whilst at the gym are you telling me that the ambulance would need to purchase a ticket before they attended to me?” The solicitor had no answer; she had to say yes. She did say there was an exemption list but she couldn’t produce one.

The judge dismissed the case and said that common sense should prevail and that he was sick and tired of presiding over parking cases.

My advice is fight to the end. The judge has common sense; get all relevant information to back your story up and don’t worry about CCJs. If you don’t win just pay the cost within 28 days and its wiped off. During the process B W Legal tried to bully me with CCJs  trying to frighten me saying my credit score would go down; well that’s just bully attacks.

I would like to get the full transcript on my case. I'm making notes so that when I go to court again for the numerous parking tickets my engineers have acquired I will just say I revert back to Excel parking vs Drain Trace Ltd and give the judge the transcript.

Prankster Notes

Transcripts

The judgment which arrives in the post will normally just say that the claim has been dismissed.

Parties at a small claim hearing are not allowed to record it themselves, but can get a transcript by paying a fee.

https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/rules/part27/pd_part27#5.1

5.1  A hearing that takes place at the court will be tape recorded by the court. A party may obtain a transcript of such a recording on payment of the proper transcriber's charges.

To get a transcript of your hearing, fill in form EX107, choose a transcribing firm, and send them the form. On payment of the fee, you will get your transcript. A short judgment will normally cost £20 - £50. The whole hearing will cost more.

The judgment needs to be signed off by the judge, so may take a few weeks to arrive.

Bullying

Disreputable firms like BW Legal often use underhand bullying tactics. Their letters are written to deceive the victim into thinking a CCJ is inevitable once the court process commences, and that this will inevitably damage the recipients credit.

Nothing could be further from the truth. You can only get a CCJ if you go to court, lose, and then fail to pay withing the stipulated timeframe (usually 14 days).

The real truth is that BW Legal would do anything rather than get to an actual hearing. As the above account shows, they are willing to go to a hearing on shaky grounds, and if it gets that far they are going to effectively lose whatever the result, since they will be paying £400 to a solicitor to recover a £100 parking fee. Solicitors fees are not normally reclaimable in the small claims track, so they will be at least £300 down, regardless of the result.

The negotiation attempt is laughable, and nobody in their right minds would settle for £400 more that the claim on the morning of the hearing. BW Legal were clearly trying it on in the hope that the defendant did not know that in the small claims court solicitors costs are not normally allowable.

It is likely that even had BW Legal won then the full claim of £269 would not have been awarded. A more likely scenario would have been an award of £100 parking charge, £50 solicitor filing fee, £25 court filing fee and £25 court hearing fee, totalling £200.

Prevention

Prevention is better than cure. If you own a business with similar problems then before agreeing a job it might be better as part of the negotiations to:

1) Get a letter authorising you to park on site for free for the duration of the contract
and/or
2) Put in your standard terms and conditions that you expect on-site parking to be free and that if not any costs will be chargeable to the client.

While oral contracts are valid, it does make life easier if everything is down on paper. If you have pre-authorised permission to park then you have strong evidence of primacy of contract. Any signage you encounter later cannot unilaterally override the already agreed terms.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster





Monday, 24 July 2017

Parking Awareness Services to pay £400 for DPA breach against motorist. DVLA confirm data cannot be passed to MIL Collections

Mr S v PAS. D2QZ229J. Barnsley. 24/07/2017

History

On 26th August Mr S had to attend court in Barnsley to defend against a claim from MIL collections.

MIL had claimed to have purchased an unpaid parking charge from Parking Awareness Services, issued for not parking fully within a marked bay.

Mr Alan Davis's witness statement was deemed inadmissible by the judge for non attendance, and the claim was dismissed.

Following the hearing, it emerged that PAS had no right to sell any parking charges to MIL Collections, because this was against the terms of their KADOE contract with the DVLA. The DVLA confirmed this in a letter to Mr S.

Dear Mr S.
I am writing in regards to your letter regarding PAS and MIL Collections .
i apologise for the delay in responding but DVLA have been considering the matter and the relevant course of action to take.
 Firstly, I can confirm that PAS did receive the keeper's details from DVLA and did not seek permission to provide this to a third party who were not acting as a sub contractor.
Having investigated the matter, DVLA has concluded that vehicle keeper data HAS been transferred to a third party that DOES NOT CONFORM to DVLA'S interpretation of a sub contractor as referred to in the KADOE contract. It has been identified that the company concerned has not breached this intentionally but instead believed their processes were in  compliance with the KADOE contract. As such , DVLA will not be taking any formal action at this time.
 DVLA has made the company aware of this issue and requested that they notify MIL Collections not to continue to process any information obtained from DVLA. MIL Collections have also been made aware of this.
I should mention that DVLA has no control over any data shared that has not been obtained from the Agency i.e if the motorist has provided their own details/driver details. .
I hope this explains the Agency's position. 
Yours Sincerely,
David Dunford.
Data compliance manager.

Mr S. therefore wrote a letter before claim to PAS, explaining they had breached the Data Protections Act (DPA). When they did not respond, he issued a claim for £250.

PAS engaged JMW solicitors, who are the British Parking Association recommended solicitors, to help defend the claim.

Preliminary hearing

A preliminary hearing was held on 1 June. Mr Wild of PAS represented the company. Mr S represented himself.  When he was shown the letter from the DVLA investigation clearly stating the data breach, the Judge stated "this is a very relevant piece of evidence ".

The hearing 

Mr S turned up at court but Mr Wild from PAS did not. At 2.30 pm prompt he went in the court where the judge explained he was willing to be persuaded by PAS that they hadn't breached if they could show two separate systems for data processing.

As they didn't turn up it was reasonable to assume they did not have these two systems and in all probability had breached the DPA and so the judge upheld the claim awarding £250 plus costs of £50 for court and filing fees and £100 in other costs.

The judge also pointed out that he could have claimed interest on the damages but as this was not claimed it could not be awarded.

Prankster Notes

It is not clear why PAS needed 'two separate systems' for data processing, as the claim was that PAS broke the DPA by passing keeper data to MIL Collections.

It may be that this issue would have been explored more fully has PAS turned up. However, as Mr S was awarded the claim, there was no need for him to press the matter.

There have now been three cases on record where motorists have won DPA hearings against parking companies for various reasons. In none of the cases has the parking company as yet turned up to defend themselves. There have been a number of other cases which have been settled out of court.

A large number of parking companies have sold data to MIL Collections, and they therefore could be open to similar data protections claims.

The DVLA are data controllers. It is not know what steps the DVLA have take now or in the past to prevent personal data being misused in this manner.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster




Sunday, 23 July 2017

Judge fed up with Gladstones behaviour

PPM v Keeper. C7GF75EN. Wakefield. 20/07/2017

The claim was for 2 PCNs at Travelodge, Hounslow.

The hearing (keeper report)

The judge dismissed the claim. She said that she was sick of telling Gladstones the same things.

Their witness statement was not good enough.
The proof of signage was no good.
They they had not made it clear whether it was the driver or the keeper they were claiming from.
They had no right to claim for additional monies other than the £100 per ticket that they had originally specified.

She insinuated that their business model seemed to to scare people into paying up before the case went to court and claiming additional money that they knew they would not have any right to in a court.

My witness statement was never even mentioned and I never had to open my mouth in court other than to say "Thank you ma'am".

Prankster Note

This judge seems to have hit the nail on the head.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

John Wilkie smeared during costs hearing in Indigo case

The Indigo matters continue - Who is Kristina Kealy, allegedly the General Manager of ZZPS

One of the witnesses produced, almost magically, at the UHW Cardiff case last week was a Kristina Kealy, apparently of ZZPS and working at may Court Links Business Centre, Old Woking road, Woking, Surrey, GU22 8BF.

On both the Claimant's and the Defendants' schedule, Ms (Oops, I should say Mrs) Kealy was listed as being called on Thursday, and as a result, at the start of the proceedings on Wednesday she wasn't present.

The defendants only found out that Kristina Kealy was a witness on 13 June 2017, and immediately scurried away to check her, and the other five witnesses Bona Fides. After all, readers of this blog will be fully aware of "Matt Murdoch/k" the blind superhero lawyer apparently working for MIL
Collections. However, as always, investigations were started on that basis that the witness is being honest.

What was discovered throws up more questions than answers. There are :-

* No publicly available Electoral Roll records for Mrs Kealy within 200 miles of Woking, or indeed within the United Kingdom.

* No publicly available Birth certificate for a person named Kristina Kealy within the last 65 years

* No publicly available Marriage Certificate in the UK between a Mr and Mrs Kealy, with the Bride's name being Kristina.

* No Linked-In information about Mrs Kealy at ZZPS, or indeed at any company in the UK

* No Facebook account in the name of Kristina Kealy in the UK

* No Credit Records for a Kristina Kealy in the UK

And for the record, both the spelling Kealy and Kealey were checked. The nearest Kristina Kealy found was a teacher in Kew York City.

Having got to the stage of ascertaining that, on the balance of probabilities, Mrs Kealy did not exist, work continued to investigate the company for whom she claims to work. Again, this investigation started on the basis that ZZPS Ltd are who they say they are, and background checks on the company were undertaken.

On 11 July, John Wilkie called ZZPS’s published phone number, and asked to speak to Kristina Kealy. He identified himself, and was told that there is no one working for ZZPS named Kealy. He asked as well, where at May Court he should deliver a legal document, such that it would be
served. He was told that he cannot serve a document at May Court and would have to deliver it to ZZPS’s registered office. This is in direct contradiction to a letter sent by ZZPS to Private Parking Appeals earlier this year, where they stated that correspondence needs to be sent to
their address in May Court.

However, prior to this call a visit had been paid to May Court. ZZPS is not listed as being based there; May Court apparently has two suites, and two businesses, Frobisher Capital and i-Corporate Risk Consultants. ZZPS is not located there, and indeed, with 16 staff as claimed by Mrs Kealy
in her cross-examination, there would not be enough space for the three companies in the two suites available at that site.

Contact was made with both Frobisher and I-Corporate. Neither firm has any association with ZZPS – no shared directors, they don’t handle mail. ZZPS appears, on the balance of probabilities, not to be based at May Court.

Another point as well – May Court is in Woking, which has an 01483 dialling area. Yet ZZPS has an 01932 telephone number – that’s for Weybridge, some 8 miles away. Long lines are not impossible, but have not been sold by BT since February 2008. With ZZPS only being formed in 2011
as Gary Osner’s Parachute for Roxburghe, and only starting trading in 2015, it is not feasible that this is what has occurred here.

Roxburghe, of course, was closed down when it lost its FCA consumer Credit Licence – one has to ask why ZZPS only pursues unregulated consumer debt, on the very edge of legality, though that is a question for another day and another place.

So, it appears that both Kristina Kealy and ZZPS have lied to the court about some material particulars  - the identity of a witness goes to their basic credibility.

There is worse. It has been widely reported that counsel in the hearing stated, and here I will quote Barry Beavis that "on the lunch break on day one JW and ZZPS witness, Kristina Kealy, were alone in the court room. JW is alleged to have said something about driving to their offices and
slashing all their tyres."

Now this is an interesting allegation. Its interesting for several reasons, the first being that John Wilkie is a well known and almost universally respected advocate. His company, Private Parking Appeals, is itself a BPA member, and Mr Wilkie also has good relationships with people like Mark Anfield and David Greenbank of Parking Eye, Mike Perkins of Combined Parking Solutions, James De Savery of Napier Parking, Derek Millard-Smith of JMW Solicitors, Paul Bohill of DCBL and of course Steve Clark and Andrew Pester of the BPA itself.

Additionally Mr Wilkie has now done a few parking cases - over 36 in total, and no-one has ever suggested that his conduct has been anything other than exemplary, indeed he has been allowed leave on more than one occasion to represent at appeal level and is regularly complimented about
the standard of his submissions and behaviour as a lay person. One District Judge remarked that he conducted himself “no less than I would have expected from Senior counsel”. Additionally, Counsel for Indigo made no objection to John Wilkie continuing to represent after judgment, nor, at the appeal did he object to Mr Wilkie making submissions; he indicated that even if the matter went to multi-track, he would not object to the Defendants being assisted by Mr Wilkie.

Now we come to the most interesting part of this reported allegation. The court heard from its first witness, John Hawkey of Indigo, up to about 12:20 on the Wednesday, and he was the only witness present. The next witness, Christopher Singleton, also of Indigo, was expected at around
1pm, but was not available to call at that stage. The District Judge asked the Claimant to see if any other witnesses could be made available after lunch. Kristina Kealy, at this point, was not present. The judge then adjourned for lunch, and asked the parties to return for 1:30.

When the court resumed at 1:30, Christopher Singleton had arrived and Peter Cockburn from the Hospital has also been produced. However, surprisingly, Kristina Kealy had arrived as well.

https://www.google.co.uk/maps/dir/ZZPS+Limited,+Links+Business+Centre,+Old
+Woking+Rd,+Woking+GU22+8BF/Cardiff+Civil+Justice+Centre,+2+Park+St,+Cardi
ff+CF10+1ET/@51.4277807,-2.4272855,9z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m13!4m12!1m5!1m1!1s0x
4875d84a34ec51e7:0x4fb2ee02304780b0!2m2!1d-0.5357953!2d51.3080256!1m5!1m1!
1s0x486e1b24f13043e1:0x46ca1f0f820c330b!2m2!1d-3.1796901!2d51.4782408

Woking is 2 hours 30 minutes by car from Cardiff. It’s over 3 hours by train. Even a Private Flight from the nearest airport to Cardiff would take longer than an hour, when you take into account leaving for Chobham or Farnborough Airport, the flight itself, and arriving at Cardiff
Airport, yet Kealy was here, fresh, composed, unstressed…

So one has to ask two questions - if she had come from Woking, as claimed, how had she managed to travel "faster than a speeding bullet" and make the 136 mile journey in less than 60 minutes. That's an average speed of double the motorway speed limit. And yes, it is known that she drove, as
she told Sue Prior of the TEPAG group that she managed to get a bus lane ticket (karma is a bitch).

And, if she was apparently verbally assaulted by John Wilkie at that point, as claimed, why was Mr Wilkie not removed from the proceedings there and then, why was he allowed to cross examine this apparently by now scared and vulnerable witness?

The answer, of course is simple. Kristina Kealy was never threatened by John Wilkie as claimed, and did not come from Woking, but was produced conveniently in Cardiff.  Indeed, David Jones of United Wales Media was also unable to contact Mrs Kealy via ZZPS either - how curious.

Indigo were betting the far on this claim, and it was worth their while to risk producing a witness who they know is untraceable, as the Defendants had no way of contesting this. When they tried the Judge shut them down, and then a scurrilous and entirely false allegation was made as a personal attack against John Wilkie.

Who behaved unreasonably here, I wonder?

Prankster Note

The attempted smearing of John Wilkie appears to be a calculated and premeditated attempt to 'justify' the Wright Hassall legal fees of around £50k. Wright Hassall started the maneuvering by trying to move the claim from the small claims court, where there are no legal fees, to the multi-track, where there are. This appears to be the next strategy  -attacking the lay representative of the defence to attempt to get fees granted under 27.14(2)g 'unreasonableness' rule.

The Prankster does not have a transcript of the judgment so does not know how much of the costs awarded are due to the alleged behaviour of John Wilkie, and how much are due to other matters.

So far no independent evidence has emerged to support the claims of this apparent non-person, who does not appear to work at the contact address given on her witness statement.

It is interesting that while counsel for Indigo was allowed to introduce unsubstantiated allegations against Mr Wilkie, Mr Wilkie himself was allowed no right of reply, and was given the choice of either shutting up, or leaving the courtroom. Mr Wilkie chose to leave.

This is not the only controversial event in a large parking case. Who can forget the hearing of ParkingEye v Beavis, when their counsel was not available. A mysterious hoax phone call caused the first hearing to be cancelled, and in the next hearing their counsel was free to attend.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster


Sunday, 16 July 2017

Fighting fund set up for UHW staff in parking dispute


A fighting fund has been set up to raise money to appeal the lead case verdict for the University Hospital of Wales parking dispute.

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/nhsvindigo


I am Sue Prior - i am Taff Ely Parking Action group assistant - we help people with unfair private parking charges.
We need to investigate the plausibility of an appeal against Judgement made on the 14th July 2017
Judgement means that £12.8m (as stated by Wright Hassall instructing solicitor) can and will be enforced.

The full transcript of the 3 day trial is required - approx £3k
We then need to get legal assistance to assess the information and see if there are grounds for appeal
Cardiff and Vale UHB's "Values into Action’ is about translating our values into the tangible behaviours we want to see from each other, and to inspire us to keep improving our patient and staff experience. http://www.cardiffandvaleuhb.wales.nhs.uk/v2a

And yet, as I sit here, pondering over the last 15 months, I find myself questioning how to make sense of the UHB's behaviour and their implicit message to staff over that time. One thing is certain, as healthcare professionals we will not be translating this hypocrisy and turning our back on our patients. But sadly the likelihood is, that as time goes on and the Parking Company vultures circle over their next victims, individuals beaten down and betrayed by their employer will leave their jobs at UHW. Unsuspecting individuals who are tempted into posts in the UHW won't be advised on the nightmare that is parking at UHW nor that a permit does not guarantee a parking space.
You see this isn't about all staff not paying for a parking ticket, it is about being unable to park. Following a long and very stressful 9 months, colleagues at UHW, Cardiff, find themselves at the receiving end of an aggressive battle where private parking company Indigo Park and their solicitors, engineered substantial and costly penalties to staff whose only crime was to park at their place of work. Some colleagues already financially over stretched as a consequence of years of forced austerity are now having to contemplate debt management programmes, 

Judge finds for parking company on all 7 points at University Hospital of Wales. £28,000 costs awarded

The University Hospital of Wales has around 1,000 parking spaces for staff. In order to park there, staff must enter a contract with the hospital. They apply and if succesfull are given a permit to park. Around 10,000 permits are in current force.

Although issuing 10,000 permits for 1,000 spaces seems on the face of it a perfectly reasonable strategy, in practice it has not worked well. For some reason far more staff attempt to park than there are spaces for, leading to chaos and a bumper payday for parking contractor Indigo. Offsite parking can be up to a 45 minute walk away.

Tickets start at £20 and are then increased to £120 by artificially bumping them between debt collectors ZZPS and Wright Hassall.

There are currently 100,000 unpaid tickets from hospital staff worth £12,000,000 and a hearing to consider these was held on 12/13/14 July.

There were 7 points of defence.

(i) The validity and enforceability of Notice to Driver (NtD)
(ii) The validity and enforceability of Notice to Keeper (NtK)
(iii) The enforceability of the right to recover parking charges under an agreement between Cardiff and Vale Local University Health Board and Indigo Park Services UK Ltd
(iv) Signage
(v) The source and Provenance of Parking Permits
(vi) Whether a contractual offer was made
(vii) Applicability of, and compliance with, the code of practice

The judgment

DJ Coates controversially found for the claimant on all 7 points. The Prankster was not in court and so is relying on others for an accurate report of her judgment. Full analysis is therefore reserved for the time when the transcript is available.

(i) The validity and enforceability of Notice to Driver (NtD)

Apparently no actual NtDs for the 3 defendants were submitted as evidence; only a pro-forma template circa 2017. Nevertheless, Judge Coates found this complied with POFA.

The Prankster therefore considers this controversial because
a) This NTD was not in force at the time of many of the parking events
b) POFA requires that the NtD contains specific information relating to the actual event. As only a template was provided there is no proof the actual NtDs continued this information and were compliant
c) It is up to the claimant to prove their case, which they clearly have not done

(ii) The validity and enforceability of Notice to Keeper (NtK)

Judge Coates ruled that the NtK could contain a charge different from that on the signage and the notice to driver. She ruled that because David Metcalf of the BPA had held out the NtDs issued by ZZPS to be a 'best practice' example, then they must be correct and she did not need to consider the matter further. She further ruled that in any case a keeper could be held to have agreed to a parking contract without visiting the site, if their partner had visited the site many times and could reasonably have expected to inform them of the contract in casual conversation.

The Prankster therefore considers this controversial because
a) POFA 2012 rules that the parking charge must be the on the signage [2, 3(b)(i)]
b) POFA 2012 rules that the parking charge on the NtD must be on the signage [7(2)(c). 2, 3(b)(i)]
c) POFA 2012 rules that the charge on the NTK must be the same as that on the NTD [8(2)(c), (2)(c). 2, 3(b)(i)]
d) POFA rules that the keeper is only liable for the charges set out on the signage and NtD [4(5), 8(2)c,2)(c). 2, 3(b)(i)]
e) POFA requires that the NtK contains specific information relating to the actual event and repeated from the NtD. As only a template NtD was provided there is no proof the actual NtDs continued this information and were compliant
f) It is up to the claimant to prove their case, which they clearly have not done
g) The Prankster has heard of accepting a contract by performance. he has never heard of accepting a contract by means of casual conversation
h) The BPA is not a competent body to authorise NtKs. It is a members club for the parking industry. Additionally, no evidence as to David Metcalf's competence in this matter was served, and he was not billed as an expert witness. It was therefore not appropriate to take his unsubstantiated report as proof the NtK template was valid

(iii) The enforceability of the right to recover parking charges under an agreement between Cardiff and Vale Local University Health Board and Indigo Park Services UK Ltd

No actual copies of any letter of authority were supplied for the time of all parking events. The Health Board state they destroy the previous letter of authority each year when sending out a new one.

The Prankster therefore considers this controversial because
a) It is a BPA requirement that written authority is kept
b) In ParkingEye v Beavis it was stated that parking companies need to obey the BPA code of practice
c) POPLA regularly uphold appeals if the operator does not produce written authority
d) It is not believable that the board destroys old letters of authority, as they need to keep these in case of legal challenges

(iv) Signage

Judge Coates ruled that it was sufficient that there were numerous signs. It did not matter that the actual costs were hidden in the small print and not detailed.

The Prankster therefore considers this controversial because:
a) ParkingEye v Beavis sets out clear guidelines for signage. In that case, the parking charge was clearly displayed in the largest font. There were no unspecific charges added later
b) ParkingEye v Somerfield Stores clearly sets out that unspecified debt collection charges above the parking charge are not likely to be enforceable

(v) The source and Provenance of Parking Permits

Judge Coates ruled the parking contract was made at the time of parking, and not when the permits was issued.

The Prankster therefore considers this controversial because:
a) This is directly analogous to residential parking. Primacy of contract therefore applies and a third party cannot unilaterally change the terms of the contract
b) As the staff pay the health board for permits and they are issued by the health board, this contract should be the one in force

(vi) Whether a contractual offer was made
Judge Coates ruled the signage did make a contractual offer.

Rather like the 'hawkeye' system, The Prankster considers this 'umpire's call'. In The Prankster's opinion the signage is confusing, and makes no contractual offer, and therefore is either void for uncertainty or creates a trespass, not a contractual breach. However, The Prankster accepts some judges will call it one way, and other judges another.
was not

(vii) Applicability of, and compliance with, the code of practice
Judge Coates ruled that compliance did not matter

The Prankster therefore considers this controversial because
a) In ParkingEye v Beavis it was stated that parking companies need to obey the BPA code of practice

Costs

Wright Hassall asked for £47k in costs. The judge ruled that it was unreasonable for the defence to bring up 2 of the points (Authority (iii) and Permits (v)) as she considered these as unwinnable. She therefore awarded 2/7th of £47k under the unreasonableness rule (27.14(2)g, or nominally £28,000.

She ruled that it be split between the 3 defendants. She further ruled it be split between the 90+ other cases waiting on the result of this won, as they had benefitted from not having to go to a hearing.

The actual cost will be determined in a costs hearing on 1st September.

The Future

This now leaves some hospital staff facing life-changing amounts of money for those on hospital pay. Not just the 3 in the hearing, but many of the outstanding 100,000 tickets.

For the reasons above The Prankster considers the judgment to be incorrect.

But what does he know?

The Prankster therefore calls on the legal brains of Wales to offer themselves pro-bono or at an affordable rate to help with an appeal and resolve the plight of these unfortunate hospital staff.

Please get in touch with The Prankster at prankster@parking-prankster.com if you are willing to help. The Prankster will then out you in touch with the people co-ordinating any appeal.


Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

Friday, 14 July 2017

Judgment on £12 million of outstanding parking charges expected today

[The Prankster previously blogged that tickets were issued from April 2017. This is incorrect, and the actual date was April 2016. The Prankster apologises and the article has now been adjusted]

Judgment on Indigo's claim for parking against doctors and nurses at the University Hospital of Wales is expected today at Cardiff at 11:00.

The hearing is for 3 lead cases, with another 90-odd claims depending on the result. In the 3 day hearing, Indigo stated there were another 100,000 tickets riding on this result, with a value of £12 million.

All tickets were issued since April 2016, which means that Indigo are looking to make around £750,000 million a month from charges in the hospital car park. Most of these charges are against hospital staff.

Indigo initially issue the tickets at £20, and then bump them around debt collectors to artificially raise them to £120.

Prankster Note

Any car park which is issuing £750,000 million worth of charges a month is by definition badly managed and not fit for purpose. The Prankster believes the hospital management should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves for letting this situation get to the current stage.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster



Wednesday, 12 July 2017

DfT block byelaw at John Lennon Airport to make it an offence for keeper not to name driver

Peel Holdings have for many years been trying to get new byelaws passed at John Lennon Airport.

The Department of Transport have been blocking the changes. It seems that one of the sticking points is the desire of Peel Holdings to make it an offence for the keeper not to name the driver of a vehicle (byelaw 8.5).


It is worth noting that parliament itself considered this option when enacting the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, schedule 4. They refused it.

Here is the relevant extract from the Impact Assessment document


The full correspondence between the DfT and Peel Holdings is available in this pepipoo thread, post #200.

Here are some more wise words from the DfT:


Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster



Excel finally admit ticket was "issued in error" at Peel Centre

The Peel Centre, Stockport is the worst run car park in the whole country. It is managed by Excel Parking Services who are owned and run by Simon Renshaw-Smith. S R-S sits on the board of the International Parking Community, where he helps set policy.

The Prankster previously reported a mysterious error at The Peel Centre around the 13/14 May where charges were issued to motorists who purchased tickets.

Although early reports were that Excel was not cancelling these charges it appears they have had a change of mind. This post on MSE tells all:

 My daughter appealed the ticket, and quoted the number of people on here and other forums who had been issued a ticket when using the same machine on similar dates.
The appeal has been upheld with the company withdrawing the claim as the ticket was "issued in error"

Prankster Note

Excel have not provided any information on what the error was, how they intend to fix it in future, or whether they will be refunding motorists who have paid in error.

The Prankster considers this is not acceptable.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

UKPC lose residential case. Tenant can derogate parking rights to visitors.

C8HW2E9Q – UKPC v Miss C, Reading 12/07/2017 before District Judge Harrison

Claimant represented by Andrew Gibbs-Ripley, solicitor instructed by LPC Law
Defendant represented by Bargepole.



Guest report from Bargepole

This was a residential parking case in which the Defendant had parked as a visitor in the space allocated to the tenant of the property, Miss B. UKPC had previously issued a claim against Miss B, reported a month ago: http://parking-prankster.blogspot.co.uk/2017/05/ukpc-lose-residential-case-will-vicim.html

The Judge at that hearing had ruled that Miss B had an unfettered right to park, and that trumped anything on UKPC’s signage. So the key decision that DJ Harrison had to make, was whether that principle could be extended to visitors.

Mr G-R argued that a visitor was not a party to the contract between landlord and tenant and thus could not rely upon it, whereas I argued that the tenant had inherent rights in the contract, which could be derogated to visitors.

The DJ preferred the Defence submissions, so case dismissed. Costs of £96 awarded.

Prankster Note

Parking companies continue to take landowners and their guests to court for parking in their own spaces. This is a complete abuse. Parking companies are brought in to protect the rights of landowners, not attempt to fleece them.

The Prankster suggests that any parking company who does not explicitly state in their contract that they will cancel all tickets accidentally issued to residents and their guests should be booted of site and a proper parking management company brought in instead.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster

New Generation Parking management fail to turn up to court

New Generation Parking Management v O'Sullivan. D3GF273X. 12/07/2017. Caernarfon.

The case was listed for and called at 10am. Neither party was in attendance or represented so the case was struck out by DDJ PJ Anderson.

NGPM, you've been Gladstoned

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster.

Government VERIFY service hits teething troubles with DVLA checks

The Prankster had occasion to try out the new(ish) VERIFY service from the Government, which proves you are probably who you say you are.

Unfortunately, whenever he tried to register with the various services (such as Barclays and Royal Mail) they told him he didn't exist. This was very frustrating, as The Prankster both pinched himself and felt it, and also passed the "I think therefore I am" test.

After some investigation, it turned out the problem was with the DVLA driver licence check. Whenever The Prankster tried to pass this, he failed. This was also frustrating, because The Prankster had his driving licence in front of him, so was certain he was entering the details correctly.

The Prankster called the DVLA driving licence department. He spoke with a friendly lady who confirmed he was entering his details correctly, but was sadly otherwise unable to help as she was unaware that the new VERIFY service existed or how the identity services mapped into the DVLA to check data. She was able to provide a code to allow other people to check the Prankster's licence, but this was not useful.

The Prankster next tried the identity services helplines and this proved more fruitful. Another friendly lady informed him that there was a teething problem with the new service.

Early on the Prankster was required to confirm his address with the identity service, which he did by providing his postcode and then selecting his address from a dropdown list, which was;
Prankster Mansions, The Street, Prankstertown, WE3 3RH
Unfortunately the DVLA had the Pranksters address on record as.
Prankster Mansions, The Street, WE3 3RH
The VERIFY computers were unable to match these two addresses up, and therefore the computer said no.

The helpful lady told The Prankster they were working on a solution, and so The Prankster hopes very much that he will once again exist in the near future.

Happy Existing

The Parking Prankster

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Excel lose in court. Wrong registration at Peel Centre.

Excel v Burgess. Stockport. C3DP33CZ. 03/07/2017

This Manchester Evening News story tells the full tale.

Blessed Burgess parked with her family at the Peel Centre, Stockport (an Excel-run car park) and her husband accidentally entered her registration incorrectly. Excel tried to charge her £100, which she objected to. On finding the number plate was entered incorrectly, they reduced the charge to £10, which she still objected to.

Excel therefore filed a claim.

The judge disagreed with Excel and the claim was dismissed for unknown reasons.

Prankster Note

Parking companies have the technology to refuse to accept incorrect number plates. Their ANPR systems know which plates are in the car park at any time. Charging people for entering the wrong number is therefore purely a money-making exercise and has nothing to do with car park management.

Excel are still deciding whether to appeal this claim; they have 21 days from the hearing date to decide. They will already have spent around £200, and the estimate is they will need to treble this to continue fighting.

Excel have a history of disagreeing with judges at Stockport. Simon Renshaw Smith does not like losing. In the Excel v Cutts case where the judge ruled the signage at the Peel Centre was deficient, he described the court ruling as ".....an embarrassment to the judicial system" and he made some pretty rude remarks about the judge DDJ Lateef, describing her as "not fit to serve the civil court."

The Peel Centre is the worst run car park in the UK, with more complaints to The Prankster than any other car park. Complaints regularly include poor signage and charges being issued even though tickets were purchased.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster