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Court date on 17/01/2019 - last minute tips, parked in loading area - didn't exit car
MST
post Tue, 15 Jan 2019 - 23:23
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Hi,

First time poster although I have read through many of the threads and advice.

Basic story. On a trip to London from Cardiff. Bit lost in unfamiliar area of London. Generally stoic child complains of abdominal pain and feeling unwell. Wife (who is an A&E consultant) tells me to pull over as she is concerned. I pull over into what I mistakenly think is a lay-by. Wife checks over child whilst I google nearby hospitals and how long it will take us to get to hotel. We don't exit car at any time and are there for less than 5 minutes before continuing on our journey. Receive PCN through post within 14 days.

Read the forums here and replied to PCM saying I was rejecting claim. They used IAS as an arbitrator. Having read about others experiences decided it would be a waste of time to go through them. I asked a few times by e-mail for details etc of their contracts and information about under what law they were pursuing me for their claim.Received all the solicitors & debt collectors letters etc.but no information that I asked for. I was then was shocked after an absence of communication of >6 months to receive a court notice. I have attached the basis for their claim - the file was too big to attach it all and I can't work out how to cut it down into chunks!. The photographic evidence on their webpage demonstrate the fact that both my wife and myself are sitting in the car in all the photos from the front and the back (which are only separated by 1 minute).

My arguments for non payment are thus:

1) Pulling over to a place of safety to attend to an illness is a reasonable course of action and an exception under council policies re parking infractions (I will have to hunt down source for this - I am sure it was on a national council website)

2) As I did not leave the car, I could not have read the sign especially the bit about paying a fine as the writing is in tiny writing. one would have to get out of the car and walk directly unto it in order to make a valued consideration of whether to enter into such a ludicrous contract. In point 6 of their mitigation they say "It is the driver’s responsibility to ensure parking is permitted prior to leaving the vehicle unattended within the restricted area" I did not leave my car unattended at any time. They also try to draw equivalence with the Beavis case but to my mind they are totally different with one been an actual carpark and all

3) The aim of this company is to facilitate loading/unloading in this area. If a parking attendant notices a car stopped with the driver still inside, it is efficacious for them to indicate that they should move on rather than loiter and take photos! Surely the main focus of their job is meant to be ensuring unfettered access to the bay, not punishing people who inadvertently stop there. I am not sure whether the 5 minute grace period unwritten rule applies as it is a parking restricted area not a parking meter overrun.

4) The size of the fee charged is disproportionate and not representative of any losses etc incurred, especially as no other vehicles were attempting to load/unload at the time. I cannot see how any costs were incurred by my infraction.

The main thrusts of my argument revolve around whether it is reasonable to pull over to assess a potentially ill child and the fact that I never left my car unattended for the brief time period so was unable to properly read and make a valued judgement about any possible contracts.

Any advice and constructive criticism gratefully received! If anybody wants to see all the evidence they are sending to court (that aren't attending) then I can probably set up a drop box link. Thanks
Attached File(s)
Attached File  PCM_statements.pdf ( 1.66MB ) Number of downloads: 14
 
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post Tue, 15 Jan 2019 - 23:23
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Albert Ross
post Wed, 16 Jan 2019 - 01:48
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Mrs Sunglasses at Heath Parade.

Constructive Criticism: this is TOMORROW

You are where you are without anytime to research that well known site. such was the infamy the council have adopted the road there.

no licence or contract to park, the signs were prohibitive.
Signage was not adequate or sufficient it was mounted high and a bulk of small text; if the time was taken to read the signage it would (probably) have taken longer than the period of alleged parking

for your defence point 3; VCS v Ibbotson (the toothnbrush case.) may be a copy on Pepipoo or the prankster.

£60 (£100) is a reasonable charge if it was necessary to call an ambulance to a landmark {sainsbury's) Heath Parade NW9 for a child, close to the highway without inhibiting the flow of traffic. But it was unnecessary and you left.

The Defendant avers she has not been provided with a contract.

Is the claim against you as the keeper or the Driver? Or your Wife. The Lay Representatives (Rights of Audience) Order 1999
Is there a confuson of a contract to park and a contract to operate. Was the appeal a request of standing for PCM to operate and sue in their own name. If there is no offer of a contract then there is no) standing to sue for trespass.

edited tomorrow, (was today)

This post has been edited by Albert Ross: Wed, 16 Jan 2019 - 01:51


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ostell
post Wed, 16 Jan 2019 - 09:12
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Search on here for Heath Parade.

Quick search on the internet for the list of adopted roads by the local council.
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nosferatu1001
post Wed, 16 Jan 2019 - 09:53
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You've known about the forums for months, yet are only here now?
Yeah, jut search HEATH PARADE and read up, and do the best you can
If you lose thats a life lesson right there.
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Jlc
post Wed, 16 Jan 2019 - 10:10
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All things being equal, staying in the car and not reading the signs isn't necessarily a defence against acceptance (by conduct) of the alleged contract.

But the signs are definitely not offering a contract to park as they state. Regardless, the driver did not accept the contract (if there was one on offer!) and left. There has to be a grace period to do this and it clearly seems the time 'parked' was below this threshold.

If the photographic evidence is only 2 minutes apart then it furthers the above case about having time to (potentially) read the signage.

This post has been edited by Jlc: Wed, 16 Jan 2019 - 10:12


--------------------
RK=Registered Keeper, OP=Original Poster (You!), CoFP=Conditional Offer of Fixed Penalty, NtK=Notice to Keeper, NtD=Notice to Driver
PoFA=Protection of Freedoms Act, SAC=Safety Awareness Course, NIP=Notice of Intended Prosecution, ADR=Alternative Dispute Resolution
PPC=Private Parking Company, LBCCC=Letter Before County Court Claim, PII=Personally Identifiable Information

Private Parking - remember, they just want your money and will say almost anything to get it.
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MST
post Sat, 19 Jan 2019 - 14:27
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I won!!! Case dismissed.

A big thank you to all of you who have shared their knowledge and experience on this site - it is truly invaluable to people like myself who get caught up by these scams.

From my original post, it is pretty obvious how naive and underprepared I was but it is amazing how much knowledge a person can acquire in 24 hours! I read through most of the posts pertaining to heath parade and reformulated my witness statement for my own practice more than anything else to provide a basis of my defence (my original was laughable, written from a sense of burning injustice rather than any understanding of contracts etc). It was basically a cut and paste from the parking prankster, edited to make it slightly more specific to my case. here it is below:

[i]Evidence in defence:

1) I am the registered keeper of the vehicle in question. On 18/03/2017 I was driving from Cardiff to London with my wife and my 2 daughters aged 11 and 8. My younger daughter complained of feeling unwell with severe lower abdominal pain. This is most out of character for her. My wife who is a consultant physician in Emergency Medicine turned to look at her and immediately instructed me to pull over. I pulled over at the nearest safe place to do so without obstructing traffic on this busy road which was in the lay-by where the alleged parking infraction occurred. The lay-by appears to be part of a public highway with no information close enough to be read by an approaching driver that would suggest it is private land or otherwise restricted. The car was stopped for less than 5 minutes whilst my wife examined our daughter.


2) I subsequently received a Notice to Keeper from the Claimant, alleging that a charge of £100 was due to them. I appealed to the claimant online and this was rejected. I did not further appeal to the Independent Appeals Service (IAS), the allegedly independent body appointed by the Claimant’s trade body, the Independent Parking Committee (IPC). My research revealed that the IAS, far from being independent, is a subsidiary of the IPC, which in turn is owned and run by the same two Directors who also run Gladstones Solicitors, the individuals in question being John Davies, and William Hurley. Such an incestuous relationship is incapable of providing any fair means for motorists to challenge parking charges, as well as potentially breaching the SRA Code of Conduct. As such, the Claimant does not come to this matter with clean hands.


3) The notice is a parking charge. I contest that I was merely stopped to facilitate examination of an ill child. Supporting case law would be Jopson vs Homeguard Services Limited at Oxford County Court (9GF0A9E), June 2016 in which Judge Harris stated:

The concept of parking, as opposed to stopping, is that of leaving a car for some duration of time beyond that needed for getting in or out of it, loading or unloading it, and perhaps coping with some vicissitude of short duration, such as changing a wheel in the event of a puncture. Merely to stop a vehicle cannot be to park it.


4) The IPC code of conduct states that a grace period must be allowed in order that a driver might spot signage, go up to it, read it and then decide whether to accept the terms or not. A reasonable grace period in any car park would be from 5-15 minutes from the period of stopping. This grace period was not observed and therefore the operator is in breach of the industry code of practice. Additionally no contract can be in place by conduct until a reasonable period elapses.
[i]

5) The signage is forbidding and makes no offer to the motorist. There can therefore be no contract. The Claimant’s signage with the largest font at this site states “No Customer Parking At Any Time”. A further sign with much smaller writing and higher up states “The loading bay is only for authorised vehicles actively loading & unloading when delivering to the commercial tenants of Heath parade”. It is submitted that if these notices are attempting to make a contractual offer, then as they are forbidding they do not fulfil the basic requirement of a contract, which is that each party to the contract must offer valuable consideration to the other party, on clear terms capable of acceptance. In this case neither the Claimant, nor their principal the landowner, is offering anything to motorists. The notices cannot, therefore, reasonably be construed as having created a contractual relationship between the Claimant and the Defendant.

   The above point was recently tested in the County Court at High Wycombe, in the case of Parking Control Management (UK) Ltd v Bull & 2 Others (B4GF26K6, 21 April 2016), where District Judge Glen dismissed all three claims, stating in his judgment that:

 “If the notice had said no more than if you park on this roadway you agree to pay a charge then it would have been implicit that PCM was saying we will allow you to park on this roadway if you pay £100 and I would agree with Mr Samuels’ first analysis that essentially the £100 was a part of the core consideration for the licence and was not a penalty for breach. The difficulty is that this notice does not say that at all. This notice is an absolute prohibition against parking at any time, for any period, on the roadway. It is impossible to construct out of this in any way, either actually or contingently or conditionally, any permission for anyone to park on the roadway. All this is essentially saying is you must not trespass on the roadway. If you do we are giving ourselves, and we are dressing it up in the form of a contract, the right to charge you a sum of money which really would be damages for trespass, assuming of course that the claimant had any interest in the land in order to proceed in trespass.”

While this is a County Court decision and therefore not binding, it is on all fours with the present case and may be considered as persuasive. A full transcript of the Approved Judgment for the above case will be provided in the event that this case proceeds to a hearing.

6) In addition, the Consumer Rights Act 2015 rules that if signage has multiple interpretation the interpretation most favourable to the consumer applies. It is clear from this the signage with the largest font should apply.

7) In the alternative, if it was held that the signage was contractually valid, it would be impossible for a motorist to have read the terms and conditions contained therein from a moving or stopped vehicle, and if the vehicle is stopped, the ‘contravention’ according to the Claimant is already committed.
     
The above point was recently tested in several cases regarding Hayes and Harlington station. There a similar situation arises as the vehicles were charged for briefly stopping but the signs are far away from vehicles and high up

In all cases it was ruled that no contract was entered by performance as the signage could not be read from a vehicle. No transcripts are available but as PCM UK were the claimant in all cases they will be fully aware of the cases; C3GF46K8, C3GF44K8, C3GFY8K8

8) In addition to the £100 ‘parking charge’, for which liability is denied, the Claimant’s legal representatives, Gladstones Solicitors, have artificially inflated the value of the Claim by adding costs of £50 which I submit have not actually been incurred by the Claimant, and which are artificially invented figures in an attempt to circumvent the Small Claims costs rules using double recovery. The Court is invited to report Gladstones Solicitors to the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority for this deliberate attempt to mislead the Court, in contravention of their Code of Conduct.

9) I have not received any information from the claimant with regards to his contract with the landowner despite multiple requests so am unable to comment upon its legality.

I believe that the facts stated in this witness statement are true.




I was able to download the land registry entry as alluded to by zaklondon however was initially disheartened to see that Genesis housing was registered as the keeper now but a little more probing revealed that they had only purchased the land last year (for >£1.8 million!!!) and that it was owned by the different company at the time I was involved (choices for graham park limited)

As I live in Cardiff, I had requested that the court hearing be near me in Blackwood civil court. I guessed correctly that Gladstones wouldn't be bothered to sent a representative and if they did, it would probably cost them a bit of cash. They only paid the court fee at the very last minute (16.30pm on the final day), I don't know if this is one of their tactics to give people false hope that they might not proceed!?

Here's what happened on the day.

Dressed for the role, 3 piece suit, brogues, leather satchel etc (Clerk asked was I the solicitor for PCM!!). Gladstones didn't send representation which was a huge relief. I had also printed off all the relevant cases and the land registry form which proved invaluable even though I hadn't included them in any bundle with the witness statement. The court was hardly busy at all so it gave me loads of time to discuss the case in detail with the district judge. He appeared truly flabbergasted that any company could consider the signage appropriate to enter into any contract and agreed wholeheartedly with the whole forbidding signage argument. He also questioned the role of the attendant and considered that a more appropriate course of action for them would be to advice the driver that they were parked illegally and to move on rather than send them a PCN. He highlighted inaccuracies in their own witness statement notably that they even said that by leaving the car unattended that I entered a contract when it was obvious that I had never left the car both from all my correspondence and the photos. he also questioned their authority based on the land registry details that I had showed him.

His concluding discussion took him over 5 minutes to deliver (even though I was the only one in the courtroom which seemed really rather surreal) and any transcription would be absolute gold dust to anyone else defending themselves at Heath Parade. He even granted me £50 in costs which I used to take my family out for a slap up Chinese meal that night!

I don't know if these county court judgements all get written up for use in further cases but if so I can happily provide the court and case details if would help anyone
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Redivi
post Sat, 19 Jan 2019 - 16:13
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Parking Prankster likes to receive them
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cabbyman
post Sat, 19 Jan 2019 - 16:41
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Please post in Completed cases with a link back to this thread.

Well done!


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SchoolRunMum
post Sun, 20 Jan 2019 - 01:17
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Love that outcome!

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