District Enforcement v X Ltd. D6GF60H3 at Nuneaton County Court on the 23/10/2017. DDJ Wyatt
District Enforcement issued a parking charge by post to a company whose vehicle they claimed was not parked correctly. No windscreen ticket was issued. The first indication was a letter claiming £100 which arrived 13 days after the event, an incident in Coventry in January 2017.
The address recorded was not accurate so the company prudently decided to contact DE to ask for photographic evidence to make sure it was actually their vehicle. They wrote to the PO Box number supplied, but never got a reply.
7-8 weeks of further demand letters followed, but no photographic evidence was ever supplied. The only telephone numbers for DE and Gladstones Solicitors which worked were 'pay by card' ones. Naturally the company declined to pay.
The first time a photograph of the car was produced was in the court bundle, received two weeks before the court appearance date. This is a clever Gladstones trick and the purpose is to give defendants as little time as possible to discover the flaws in Gladstones case. Of course, this is completely against the ethos of the civil procedure rules, which require both parties to disclose their case and try and work to a solution before a claim is even filed. Understandably behaving in an ethical manner like this would completely destroy Gladstones business model, so is never likely to happen.
Gladstones "witness statement" was of course no such thing, but was a thinly disguised statement of case. Claimants are meant to file the statement of case at the time of beginning a claim. However, this is not possible as Gladstones do no due diligence and therefore know almost nothing about the claims they file; certainly they have no idea of the possible merits or not of the case.
The documentation ran to 14 pages, which at first look were really daunting; the purpose of this document is to browbeat and bully the victim into submission. However, like the majority of the shoddy work undertaken by Gladstones, the closer the documents are examined, the more laughable they become. For instance, the contract to manage the land was not in place at the time of the incident,and the photographs were of a different place to the site plan.
The hearing was the usual Gladstone shambles. The defendants sent a representative from their company. Gladstones sent Miss Jackson. In court, she admitted that they could not find a current contract and so just bunged in one which started in August 2017. She also tried to argue that an aerial photograph from above, was a site plan, even though it didn’t actually show the place where they were claiming the vehicle was parked and the building in the background was so obviously different. This just had the effect of making her look incompetent.
She tried to argue that they didn’t need apply a ticket to the vehicle, because their signage states that ANPR cameras are in use. This fell flat when the judge commented on the only photograph of the vehicle “But this was obviously taken by someone standing in front of the car on the ground, and there is no ticket on the windscreen"
The local rumour is that a local resident is bunged £50 for every photograph he takes.
In his summary, the Judge tore into their representative. “Why did you bring this company to court when you knew your evidence which you had presented was incorrect and the contract out of time?”.
Miss Jackson was forced to defend her actions by claiming she had not put together the Court papers, and somebody else had done it.
The claim was dismissed and costs were awarded against District Enforcement, to be paid within 2 weeks.
Some interesting comments from the company in question are worth repeating.
Most members of the public will do anything to avoid standing up in front of a Judge, but this experience has shown us that DE are real “chancers” and we shouldn’t let them get away with it, but do all we can to bring them to book.
They had no reservations about making us stand up in court, and lose time from our work, but they were very ready to try and add on a load of costs if it had been found in their favour.
Do not be bullied or intimidated by them. They aren’t that clever.
Thank you Parking Prankster.
The Parking Prankster