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


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.

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.


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 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
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