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Went to Court today: Blue badge holder vs. Parking co, Judge adjourned case - Help needed writing Defence
tld2004
post Mon, 4 Jun 2018 - 12:39
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Hi All

I attended Court today as a McKenzie friend for family friend vs parking co. Just want to provide a summary of events as I think its helpful for others.

To cut a long story short, family friend received a PCN from parking co last year whilst collecting daughter from daughters property. The driver is disabled and parked outside door to property displaying her blue badge in window as no disabled parking pays on site. Pictures from PCN show disabled badge on display.

Parking co got keeper details from DVLA, all the letters followed addressed to Keeper (not the driver at time), parking co filed Claim at Court. Family friend did not file defence etc (they are elderly and found it overwhelming so kept it quiet etc) but asked Judge in the DQ to set case in the aside due to driver being disabled and only being there to collect daughter. The claim proceeded to Court.

I only found out about this Court date yesterday(!) as the Keeper didn't really understand the paperwork/process. I offered to be McKenzie friend, looked over the paperwork etc and went to Court this morning.

We provided lease doc which does not state the parking co are instructed to patrol the site, said driver is disabled, and no disabled parking on site. Parking co seemed to think that they are instructed and showed a one page 'contract' between themselves and managing agent (not landowner). Judge queried chain of contracts. Judge asked why land (and 'contract') not providing for disabled drivers. Parking co said it didn't need to provide disabled parking as it was private land. She disagreed.

PCN photos also show other vehicles in background parked in similar location as the driver did, and Judge asked parking co if they were ticketed. Parking co said 'no' as they are excluded. Judge queried that adjustments clearly made on private land for maintenance vehicles, but not disabled.

Judge authorised defendant to file formal defence asap stating breach of Equality Act.

This post has been edited by tld2004: Wed, 6 Jun 2018 - 11:08
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post Mon, 4 Jun 2018 - 12:39
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Eljayjay
post Sat, 16 Jun 2018 - 18:09
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Never send anything to parking companies by 'signed for' mail because they often refuse to sign for it.

Always hand it in at a Post Office counter and request a free certificate of posting.

I am no expert on the EA but...

It seems to me that what has happened here is that a private car park intended for residents (and, possibly, their visitors) has been turned into a commercial car park because the parking company now offers parking to all comers. [Even though all comers are not really wanted, they are being offered parking, albeit at a heavy price.] So, they are providing a service to the public and must very definitely make reasonable adjustments.

They seem to be in a Catch 22 situation. As they do not wish to make reasonable adjustment, they would like the car park to be treated as being private; however, as they also wish to charge non-resident members of the public for parking, they have to make reasonable adjustments.

That being so, if I were you, I would at least be asking what reasonable adjustments they propose to make.

Well done for getting the discontinuance and good luck for your future endeavours.
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southpaw82
post Sat, 16 Jun 2018 - 18:29
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QUOTE (Eljayjay @ Sat, 16 Jun 2018 - 19:09) *
It seems to me that what has happened here is that a private car park intended for residents (and, possibly, their visitors) has been turned into a commercial car park because the parking company now offers parking to all comers. [Even though all comers are not really wanted, they are being offered parking, albeit at a heavy price.] So, they are providing a service to the public and must very definitely make reasonable adjustments.

Is that actually what they’re doing, on a proper analysis? Or are they imposing the charges on all comers as a deterrent?


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Any comments made do not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon. No lawyer/client relationship should be assumed nor should any duty of care be owed.
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tld2004
post Sat, 16 Jun 2018 - 18:30
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Thanks ElJayJay,

You’re definitely right there - they want the benefit that a commercial site provides by charging extortionate fines, but don’t want to comply with obligations for monitoring a commercial site, like providing disabled parking.

I’m going to submit a costs order, drafted it already - saying our witness statement was already drafted to attend hearing, we spent time defending claim, they have abused Court system, breached EA for 3rd time, and acted unreasonably.

What sort of amounts could/would a judge approve of considering the above?
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tld2004
post Sat, 16 Jun 2018 - 18:41
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QUOTE (southpaw82 @ Sat, 16 Jun 2018 - 19:29) *
Is that actually what they’re doing, on a proper analysis? Or are they imposing the charges on all comers as a deterrent?


The property is near a London train station, and with limited parking for residents and visitors, the landowner and/or managing agent “appear” to have instructed LPS, so I would think its more deterrent.
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Eljayjay
post Sat, 16 Jun 2018 - 19:55
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I have no doubt at all that the landowner's intention was a deterrent.

I do, however, doubt very much that it was the parking company's intention because, if these deterrents were to work, the parking company would soon be out of business.

In addition, I do not see the relevance of nosferatu1001's comment - I stress that is NOT to say that it is irrelevant - but does the landowner's original intention matter?

To me, it is simply that, as an unintended consequence of the landowner's deterrent, the car park has become available to the public.

nos, if I am missing something here, please do tell me what it is.

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nosferatu1001
post Sun, 17 Jun 2018 - 18:54
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I'm not entirely sure what comment you're referring to
A quote would be useful
Good news on the discontinuance.
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tld2004
post Mon, 18 Jun 2018 - 13:56
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Here is a letter we have drafted to send to Court re: costs (once we have received the Court doc to come in).

Will this be effective?

What sort of amount is "reasonable" to ask for? The Defendant (disabled daughter) is self employed, and we have spent a considerable amount of time working on this together?


Dear Sirs,

I note that the hearing listed for 11 July 2018 was vacated as the Claimant had filed Form N279 - Notice of discontinuance.

CPR r.38.6 states that the Claimant is liable for the Defendant's costs after discontinuance (r.38.6(1)) but this does not apply to claims allocated to the small claims track (r.38.6(3)).

However, the white book states (annotation 38.6.1): "Note that the normal rule as to costs does not apply if a Claimant in a case allocated to the small claims track serves a notice of discontinuance although it might be contended that costs should be awarded if a party has behaved unreasonably (r.27.14(2)(d))."

I believe it should actually refer to r.27.14(2)(g) as that is the rule which allows the Court to award costs for unreasonable behaviour.

On this basis, I would like to request a costs order to be made against the Claimant given the Claimant behaved unreasonably for the following reasons:
1. Breach of the Equality Act 2010 for the third time since 2016 by failing to make ‘reasonable adjustment’ for disabled drivers (appendix ES/001);
2. Using the Court system in an attempt to obtain money that they weren't entitled to;
3. Discontinuing this Claim without any evidence and/or witness statement to support its notice of Discontinuance.


Not only has this Claim caused me significant distress and anxiety that has impacted my health, but also required a considerable amount of time to prepare my initial defence, correspond with Court, prepare for the hearing, and draft my witness statement. Enclosed as appendix ES/002 is a copy of my draft witness statement as evidence of this.

In addition to the time taken to prepare my witness statement, I have also spent time gathering additional evidence to prove to the Court how the Claimant has breached the Equality Act 2010 on multiple occasions by failing to make ‘reasonable adjustments’, and knowingly discriminated against the disabled.

I am a self-employed hairdresser who charges on average £x/hour, evidence of this can be provided if required, and I would like to request a costs order against the Claimant, a list of which is as follows:

No. of hours spent drafting Defence = X
No. of hours spent liaising with Court inc. emails, completing paperwork & directions questionnaire = X
Postage of Directions Questionnaire = X
No. of hours spent drafting witness statement and gathering evidence = X
Total: £xxx


I would also like to kindly request, at your discretion, that my costs are doubled as a result of the unreasonable behaviour of the Claimant, my time spent to date defending a vexatious claim, and the seriousness of the allegations made in reference to their breach of the Equality Act 2010.

Total costs (doubled): £xxx

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours faithfully,


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nosferatu1001
post Tue, 19 Jun 2018 - 06:48
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The LIP rate is £19 per hour, so unless you earn more than that, go with the LIP rate smile.gif
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tld2004
post Tue, 19 Jun 2018 - 21:06
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Thanks!

Just had a thought - shall we consider the claim is still active and to be defended until Court send us confirmation of discontinuance?

We were due to submit witness statement and defence pack by Monday but still havn’t received anything formal from Court saying its been discontinued.
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kommando
post Wed, 20 Jun 2018 - 07:30
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Based on what has been seen in the past you need to assume the claim is active until the court confirms discontinuance, ring the court for confirmation.
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nosferatu1001
post Wed, 20 Jun 2018 - 12:01
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Just ring the court. They dont always send a notice out, or in a timely manner.
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tld2004
post Wed, 20 Jun 2018 - 15:06
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We rang the Court. They said they have not yet seen any discontinuation form, and it can take 10 days to process anyway. Therefore, they advised claim is still active.

We will proceed with finalising witness statement and defence pack.

If I send the Court a copy of the defence pack and witness statment in the post, is it ok to send the defence pack/witness statement to claimant via email?
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kommando
post Wed, 20 Jun 2018 - 16:01
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QUOTE
is it ok to send the defence pack/witness statement to claimant via email?


Yes of course, they emailed their discontinuance and you are trying to reduce your costs which hopefully they will be paying wink.gif
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tld2004
post Sun, 24 Jun 2018 - 21:46
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Hi All

FURTHER NEWSFLASH:

Another notice of discontinuance received over the weekend for the disabled parents case (the one that we attended initial hearing for, and that the Judge adjourned to allow Def to submit a defence).

So thats both cases now discontinued - the parents case, and the disabled daughters case! Result.

Obviously, London Parking and their ‘solicitors’ decided to wimp out of these two cases before being questioned by a judge re: the evidence (as per the witness statements and evidence packs) that indicated London Parking had flouted the EA2010 for the third time, failed to make reasonable adjustments, and intentionally targeted disabled drivers.

Makes my blood boil the way London Parking try to drag people through the court for “parking fines” yet drop the claim like a hot brick when they realise they’ll be taken to the cleaners over something like the EA.

Waiting for Court to provide confirmation that both cases have now been discontinued, and i’ll consider next steps...


This post has been edited by tld2004: Sun, 24 Jun 2018 - 21:52
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SchoolRunMum
post Sun, 24 Jun 2018 - 21:49
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Hooray!

What about your wasted costs, including the attendance of that hearing?
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tld2004
post Sun, 24 Jun 2018 - 21:55
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QUOTE (SchoolRunMum @ Sun, 24 Jun 2018 - 22:49) *
Hooray!

What about your wasted costs, including the attendance of that hearing?


Already got cost order requests drafted and waiting to go - just awaiting confirmation from the Court that they have been discontinued. Any idea or ball park figure of what a judge will sign off for costs?

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