C2GF5F3Z PARK DIRECT UK LTD -v- Mr H, 22/01/2017 before District Judge Nichols
Guest report - A Bargepole production
This was a claim for two PCNs, which with creative accounting Gladstones had inflated to a total of £395. The original claim form contained the usual non-existent particulars, just a list of dates and amounts, and a Defence had been filed, inviting them to fully particularise the claim, which they never did.
The only other document received by the Defendant was the Claimant’s Directions Questionnaire, but no Witness Statement at all had been served prior to the hearing. We therefore wondered whether they might try and spring it on us on the day, or indeed whether they had emailed a discontinuance late in the evening beforehand.
It transpired that, at 4:18pm the evening before the hearing, a Notice of Discontinuance (NoD) had been sent by email from Helen Cook at Gladstones, to John Wilkie at PPA. In the accompanying message, she claimed that they had not received a copy of the Defence from the Court, and therefore had been unable to comply with the directions to file a Witness Statement 14 days previously, and so had no choice but to discontinue. This message had a distinct piscine odour about it, as without a copy of the Defence they would not have been able to complete the DQ and their usual nonsense request for special directions that the case be heard on the papers.
In any event, the NoD had not been served on the Defendant, so he duly turned up to court at the appointed time, accompanied by Bargepole as his Lay Representative. The case was still listed on the Court notice board, and we reported to the Usher, who said (unsurprisingly) that nobody had turned up for the other side.
When we were called into Court, DJ Nichols said that a NoD had been emailed to the Court, and received at 4:21pm the previous evening. As the Court working day officially ends at 4pm, this could not be considered to have been filed in time, and would be deemed to have been filed on the day itself. Mr H confirmed that he had not been served with any such notice.
The Judge said that the late filing of the NoD, when the Defendant and his representative were already in Court, constituted unreasonable behaviour, and in addition to ordinary costs, he awarded further costs under CPR 27.14(2)(g), so a total of £195.
All done and dusted in under ten minutes, and Park Direct will no doubt be looking forward to receiving Gladstones’ invoice for their sterling work.
It does seem like parking companies would rather discontinue than lose. Only in the curious world of Roboclaims would this make sense.
Park Direct - you've been Gladstoned
The Parking Prankster