UKPC v Mr I, C0HW4PSE before Deputy District Judge Duncan, Clerkenwell
Claimant represented by Courtenay Barklem (a qualified Solicitor)
Defendant represented by Bargepole
Claim for £770 (4 x PCNs, creatively inflated from £100)
Mr I had been employed at Car Giant Limited for just under a year. Upon joining, he was issued with a 4-digit PIN code for the barrier to the staff car park, and told by his employer to park there during working hours. The car park was not available to the general public, and only accessible with the PIN code.
At some point during his employment, UKPC were engaged to ‘manage’ the car parking, and there was talk of permits being required, but he was never issued with one, and continued to access the car park using the PIN code as before, with no problems.
Towards the end of his period of employment, he had an unrelated dispute with the employer, resulting in him leaving the company. At that point, he received 4 x PCNs for parking in the staff car park without a valid permit. This resulted in extensive and protracted correspondence with SCS Law, and in order to provide the evidence to defend the claim, he made various trips back to the location to obtain photographs, all of which showed signage in that car park which said ‘Car Giant Limited. Authorised Parking Only’. It was his position that, by virtue of having a valid and operational PIN code, he was an authorised user.
He also lodged a counterclaim, detailing the hours and mileage spent in collating the evidence, and this was appended to his Defence.
We were called in first, thankfully as it was a very busy list, and Mr Barklem outlined the Claimant’s case. He said that any dispute between Mr I and his former employer was not relevant to this case, and should have been the subject of an action before an Employment Tribunal. He also referred to an email from CGL’s Security Manager, which said that all employees were given a copy of the handbook, including the parking policy, upon joining. His case was that the notices were clearly displayed, in at least one instance directly in front of where Mr I had parked, and the contractual terms should apply.
The Defence case was that the issue of the PIN code was a term of his employment contract, and the Claimant’s notices could not vary or override that. He had parked without a permit, and with no issues, nearly every day for 9 months, and it was only during the last 5 weeks of his employment that they started ticketing. He had never been issued with a permit, or with a handbook containing the parking policy. This was sent to him after he left, when SCS Law became involved.
The Judge heard all the arguments, and sent us out to consider the verdict.
He said that the Defendant appeared to be a credible witness, and he accepted the Defendant’s statements that he had never been issued with a permit, or copy of the company parking policy. He noted that although the Claimant’s witness statement said that these documents were issued to all new employees as a matter of routine procedure, there was no evidence that Mr I had received them.
He considered the fact that Mr I had parked without a permit, without incident, for 9 months to be significant, and as there was no witness appearing for the Claimant, there was no explanation for that. For the purposes of the contract, Mr I was an ‘authorised user’, and the Claimant had failed to make a case to the contrary.
The claim was therefore dismissed. The counterclaim was also dismissed, as these matters fell under the heading of costs, for which Mr I was awarded £102.
The Parking Prankster