Mr X was parked in the Farley centre, West Bromwich for about 20 minutes on 24th March 2016. When he came back to my car there was a Euro Parking Services Ltd PCN on the car for an alleged breach of contract. He saw the civil enforcement officer and showed him that the upside down ticket was in date and still had time left on it. The officer told Mr X that it was his mistake but he had just wrote the details in his new book and didn't want to mess the book up by ripping pages out; however if Mr X contacted the office they would cancel the charges.
They refused to cancel the charges and the appeal to the apparently independent "IAS" was dismissed.
Euro decided to pass the case to Gladstones debt collection service who upped the claim to £100. Then a claim form from the courts arrived for a claim of £233. Mr X submitted his defence in October and then in January he submitted his witness statement.
As is becoming usual Gladstones did not comply with the court's order as they were meant to serve the witness statement 14 days prior to the hearing. They waited for Mr X's and blatantly submitted it after they received his, which was about 9 days before the hearing. In their witness statement they focused on the Beavis case which in Mr X's opinion is completely different.
The court hearing was on 31st January 2017. The judge was Employment Judge Pirani. There was no representation for the claimant therefore the judge dismissed their claim and awarded Mr X £4 for parking but nothing for lost wages. In Mr X's witness statement he mentioned that Euro Parking Services would need to show that they have a contract with the land owner to manage that land. The judge stated that my disputes over whether they had a contract with the land owner would not have stood as none of that matters when the contract was between me and euro parking services. She did not mention any of my other arguments.
It is a common trick by parking wardens to say head office will cancel the ticket. They say this just to get rid of you. Call their bluff by asking them to write "cancelled" in their book, or by asking them to record that a valid ticket was purchased. Don't be surprised if they change their tune and run away.
This is the second hearing in recent weeks reported to the Prankster which has been heard by an Employment Judge.
The hearing shows the great disparity between judges in the small claims court and the wide variety of judgments over basically the same facts.
Mr X was perfectly entitled to claim for lost wages, or for having to take a day's holiday, so it is not clear why the judge would not award this. Perhaps defendants should take a print out of the relevant section on costs with them
(e) a sum not exceeding the amount specified in Practice Direction 27 for any loss of earnings or loss of leave by a party or witness due to attending a hearing or to staying away from home for the purposes of attending a hearing;
In addition, not bothering to turn up or to inform the court allows costs for unreasonableness to be charged.
(g) such further costs as the court may assess by the summary procedure and order to be paid by a party who has behaved unreasonably;
Many judges have in the past awarded these costs when the other party does not turn up.
As to the contract with the landowner, many judges have ruled that for a contract to be valid there must be a clear chain of authority from the landowner. Taking this back to first principles, this would seem to be logical. Otherwise, a parking company could rock up to your house, stick a sign on the door, and charge you for parking at you own house.
There may well be an apparent contract between you and the parking company formed by the signage, but they had no right to offer the contract in the first place. This is the equivalent of the parking company trying to selling you Buckingham Palace.
The leading case law on this matter is Vehicle Control Services Limited v HMRC  EWCA Civ 186
21. The Upper Tribunal's reasoning on this part of the case was that since VCS did not have the
right under its contract with the car park owner to grant a licence to park, it could not have
contracted with the motorist to grant such a right. In my judgment there is a serious flaw in this
22. The flaw in the reasoning is that it confuses the making of a contract with the power to perform
it. There is no legal impediment to my contracting to sell you Buckingham Palace. If
(inevitably) I fail to honour my contract then I can be sued for damages
This explains clearly that a Parking company can make a contract with a motorist, even if they do not have the right to perform it.
And if they do not have the right to perform it, their right to enforce it would appear to be dubious.
This situation occurs most commonly in blocks of houses with assigned parking spaces. If a parking company is engaged to manage the parking, they cannot override the resident's leases. Homeguard v Jopson  B9GF0A9E made this very clear recently, and Ms Jopson was awarded £2000 in costs in the small claims court under the unreasonableness rule 27.14(2)(g).
However it also applies to any contractual parking case. If the parking company do not have the right to offer parking, they are on a sticky wicket taking the matter to court.
The Parking Prankster