Thursday, 22 March 2018

Court report. UK CPM lose on POFA and signage

Case No. D6GF60EJ – UK CPM -v- Mrs H – Before Deputy District Judge Bruce. Chatham.

Bargepole report

This involved setting off at the crack of dawn, and waking up the larks. Chatham is so far East that it’s almost in France. Angus also turned up, to sit in on a few of the 7 parking cases being heard that day.

The Defendant was represented by me. There was no appearance for the Claimant, as previously notified by Gladstones. Although Ms Cross of Elms Legal was there for three other UK CPM cases, she hadn’t been instructed for this one.

This was for a PCN issued at The Meads, Sittingbourne, at a location where the Claimant’s signage says “No Parking At Any Time”. The Defendant was the keeper but had been at home at the time, and the car was being used by another driver.

So the defence really boiled down to two points – no keeper liability, as the Notice To Keeper (NTK) was not Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 sch 4 (POFA) compliant; and no contract was possible due to the forbidding signage.

The Claimant had submitted the usual rubbish Gladstones template witness statement, citing Eliott v Loake and other irrelevant stuff.

The DDJ (a barrister) took it upon himself to make the case for the Claimant from their evidence, and it seemed that it might be an uphill struggle given that he had awarded the case before ours to the Claimants.

We started with POFA, and he said that a ‘period of parking’ wouldn’t apply in a situation where the car shouldn’t be parked at all. I argued that if that had been the intention of Parliament, they would have included wording to that effect in the statute, but they hadn’t, so there must be a period with a defined start and end time.

The DDJ then said that the notice stated that the charges hadn’t been paid in full, and the PPC didn’t know the name of the driver. I pointed out that these statements were prefaced by the word “if”, which gave a different meaning to the wording mandated by statute.

Moving on to the signage, he said that the terms were that if you parked without permission, you agreed to pay £100. I argued that the key phrase was “without permission”, which indicated that there was no contractual offer capable of acceptance by the motorist, or alternatively no contractual licence which could be construed from this wording. I took him to the relevant paragraph from the Bull judgment, and made the case that this situation was on all fours with that one.

He then gave judgment, and at this stage we weren’t sure if we’d done enough to get over the line.

On the POFA question, he felt that the NTK was ‘substantially compliant’; however that wasn’t good enough, the wording of the statute meant that it had to be fully compliant. Therefore, keeper liability did not apply.

He agreed that the Bull case was persuasive, and agreed with DJ Glen that the only remedy could be a claim in trespass. It was a moot point as to whether the Claimant had the capacity to bring such a claim, but in any event, trespass wasn’t pleaded, so that didn’t apply.

The claim was therefore dismissed, and he also observed that had he been finding for the Claimant, he would have disallowed the think-of-a-number-and-double-it additional costs added on by Gladstones.

The Defendant did not take any time off work so there was no order as to costs.

Prankster Notes

It is sad that the incompetent bunch of solicitors holed up in the golf course at Gladstones Solicitors are allowed to keep churning out these bogus claims. Although they have totally lost all credibility, they work on the premise that either people are scared by their letters, or do not know the true legal reasons why their claims are utterly flawed, and so they make their money from people who are bullied into paying up or who fail the court procedures.

It is difficult to understand why they keep on doing this. Most people would call taking money from other people which you know you are not allowed, theft. Sadly, by hiding behind a legal shield they are able to avoid being called thieves and scammers. Nevertheless, The Prankster wonders how people like Will Hurley and John Davies can sleep at night knowing how they earn their money.

Happy Parking

The Parking Prankster