The test case to examine whether tickets issued by Link Parking to residents and visitors parking in their own spots at Overstone Court, Cardiff was heard on 24/3/2017 at Cardiff Court, being listed for an all day hearing.
There were three defendants, two represented by John Wilkie and one by themselves. Martin Gardner of Link Parking attended and was represented by Mr Nash. Mr Nash, although legally qualified, did not possess rights of audience and was therefore appearing as a lay representative, charging Link £450 + VAT.
The hearing was in front of DDJ Pratt in Cardiff.
Rights of audience were discussed. DDJ Pratt ruled that there was no impediment to a lay representative charging for their time, and Mr Nash was therefore allowed to continue.
The next item was a procedural matter to do with one of the defendants. The court had failed to deal with this, despite this being filed back in January and served on the court, Link Parking, and their solicitors, Gladstones. The defendant's father testified in the witness box that he had served the papers on the court by hand, and on Link and Gladstones by first class post.
DDJ Pratt decided he did not have enough evidence to decide on the matter, and therefore adjourned the hearing for the parties to submit more evidence. The hearing was rescheduled for the next available slot in 35 days time, reserved to himself. Costs were reserved.
This is not the first time in these related cases that Cardiff court have failed to deal with procedural matters raised. In fact, this is at least the third time. There have now been 4 hearings, all of which could easily have been avoided if Cardiff court had got their act together and dealt with them prior to the hearing. This has caused a huge amount of wasted court time, and also wasted time and expense for the claimant and defendants. This is of course, taxpayers money which has been wasted, and there has now been around one and one half valuable court days thrown away by Cardiff court.
It is noted that the behaviour of Link and Gladstones have not helped, being obstructive at all times, even when previous similar matters have been decided against them. In a similar case, a DJ in Cardiff was extremely critical of Wright Hassall for not using case management to combine dozens of similar parking cases.
The hearing was adjourned because DDJ Pratt decided the issues raised by all defendants were interlinked, and he could not stop hearing one case while continuing with the other two.
The Prankster considers this to be an error. For instance, there have been and are still many cases concerning Overstone Court still continuing in Cardiff court, also raising the same issues in defence, and DDJ Pratt did not seek to make an order staying or combining those cases.
The Prankster considers that the case could still have gone ahead with two defendants, thereby avoiding the waste of court time. In the interest of efficient case management the court could have removed the third defendant. Thus all the major issues could have been dealt with on the day and without wasting court time.
The specific issues raised by the third defendant, which are only applicable to them, could then have been dealt with in a short second hearing if the parties wished to continue based on the results of the first hearing.
As a general note, Link Parking are a huge burden on Cardiff court. In 2016 the court with the most parking cases heard by any one court for any one parking company was Cardiff, hearing 94 Link Parking cases. The next biggest number was ParkingEye, with 49 cases in Manchester.
As these Link cases are mostly for the same sites with the same issues raised in defence The Prankster considers that Cardiff are missing a trick by not using their case management powers to combine hearings.
The Parking Prankster