25/10/2017 D7GF4H98, Staines. Private Parking Solutions London Ltd -v- Mrs A, before District Judge McCulloch
Guest report from Bargepole
Claimant represented by: Mr Shippard
Defendant represented by me as Lay Rep (a guest appearance on behalf of the Ashford Parking Group, who have been campaigning long and hard about this site).
This was another case from the notorious Ashford town centre car park, which is split into two sections with two different PPCs, and no clear demarcation as to which bit is which. PPS have now been turfed out (as of June 2017) by the new Leaseholder, Greene King brewery, for their aggressive ticketing, but have a back catalogue of unpaid tickets from when they were still operating. Before today, they had brought 15 cases to court in either Staines or Guildford, and all 15 had been dismissed.
There were a number of defence points, but the main ones that the Judge quickly identified, were that a) the defendant had purchased a P&D ticket, which was evidenced in her bundle; and b) there was a letter from Greene King confirming that PPS were not authorised to pursue charges.
Mr Shippard tried to get the Judge to look at a Land Registry plan which was on his laptop, but as the Defendant hadn’t been served with it, and it wasn’t in the Claimant’s bundle, she was having none of it.
It was accepted that Mrs A had purchased a valid ticket, which may have blown over when placed on the dashboard. But none of that mattered, because the Claimant had, yet again, failed to demonstrate that they had any authority to act in that car park at the material time. Claim dismissed, and £98.60 costs awarded to Defendant. We asked for further costs for unreasonable behaviour, but no dice.
An application is now being prepared for an Extended Civil Restraint Order, to be submitted to the Circuit Judge, prohibiting PPS from issuing further claims relating to that location. This will include a list of the 16 claims that have previously been dismissed, and will argue that they should not be wasting the court's time with claims which clearly had no merit.
Channel 5 TV came along, filming the Defendant and members of Ashford Parking outside the court before and afterwards, for a four-part documentary they are making about parking (council and private).
On the way to the pub afterwards, a message was received from another PPS victim whose case was being heard at the same time in Guildford. This one was dismissed almost before he sat down, as the Judge spotted that the Claimant’s photos were of a completely different vehicle. He had flown in from Spain for the hearing, and was awarded his full costs of £280.
There was another case involving PPS at the same court, before the same Judge, at 2pm, with a different lay rep.
Unsurprisingly, that was dismissed as well.
There does seem something wrong with the system when a company brings 18 cases to court and lose them all.
A large share of the blame must lie with the company that brings these claims to court, Gladstones Solicitors and their owners John Davies and William Hurley. These two individuals claim to understand parking related law. It is is clear from this debacle they do not. Equally worrying is that the same two people are allowed to own and run the International Parking Community**, a trade body whose members are allowed access the the DVLA keeper database.
The Prankster believes there should be a mechanism to remove access from the DVLA database from companies and associations who abuse the privilege like this.
The Parking Prankster
** The International Parking Community have nothing in common with the Independent Parking Committee (apart from sharing the same initials), who are a different organisation. Any claims from a parking company that they belong to the Independent Parking Committee are likely to be fraudulent and should be reported to Trading Standards.