I created this letter out of a frustration with the outcome of a case I was involved in as a defendant against ParkingEye - one of the most litigious parking companies in the UK. The judge ruled against me despite the case being overwhelmingly in my favour.
Since Deputy District Judge Grahame Richardson declined to grant permission for appeal and I don't have the time or funds to allow for a trip to the appeal court instead of the County Court, I created this site.
Well, yes, quite so! In short, it is my opinion that the outcome of the hearing was unfair considering the lack of real evidence presented in the case by the claimant that they had any right to charge for parking at all at Riverside Retail Park Chelmsford, and the assumption that a large corporate entity would automatically play by the rules and be fair, when this is clearly not the case.
I invite you to read my Letter and make your own mind up!
Huge thank you to the Parking Prankster
and his site at ParkingPrankster, without whom I would have been unable to mount a defence at all!
I am writing this open letter having had the misfortune to appear before you as a defendant in a case yesterday (12th January 2017) at Chelmsford County Court. Prior to appearing, I had high hopes of the justice system in this country. After all I happily pay my taxes so that we may have the benefit of freedom to live, work and play in a peaceful, just and above all fair country.
It is these last two points that I must address you on, for I feel the judgement given in this case was neither just, fair nor reasonable, and the fact that you refused permission to appeal means I have no redress other than to call you out on the facts of the case and your (in my opinion incorrect) summary conclusions. Of course, in the interests of fairness, I am completely willing to give you the right to reply, which I will publish on this website below this letter if or when it arrives.
Whilst I understand that it is annoying to have to deal with matters that another judge was originally listed for, it is inevitable that some matters will take more time than allowed, and case management will dictate that some cases will have to be moved. This is perfectly normal, and as far as I can tell is part and parcel of being a judge in the circuit. If you didn’t want to take on these types of cases, then why have you taken the role as deputy district judge in the first place? Clearly as a member of the bar in chambers (Trinity Chambers Chelmsford), you have cases you could be dealing with in your own right? You can choose which cases to represent, and which to decline with no pressure or requirement.
I do also understand that sometimes there are better places to be than in court even if it is your job to be there. You made it perfectly clear that you had a finite time limit for the hearing of this case, and that you were not going to exceed that time. Perhaps you had a lunch date, or a golf match to get to? To be honest it doesn’t really matter either way. Personally, I would rather have been spending time with my family, in particular with my five month old daughter than wasting time on a case which should never have come to court, and in which the claimant had declined mediation (form shown HERE). Of course, you would have known the claimant was unreasonable and vexatious if you had taken the time to read the defence and to examine the evidence prior to commencing proceedings.
Despite your immense desire to get out of the court on time, it appears you missed several opportunities for an early lunch or extra time at the nineteenth hole, so I will enlighten you now on the points that would have delivered an immediate strike out against the claimant and removed you from the court room in double quick time.
Miss. Rey, as I attempted to point out has no right of audience in public proceedings when her client is not present in court because she is a self-employed “solicitor’s agent” from LPC-Law, and not a solicitor or barrister. As such, you could have dismissed her as the claimant’s representative before the case began. There is a helpful article in the Law Society Gazette here: Rights of Audience. I would suggest a read next time you have an early finish. This is, unfortunately now a criminal matter as the Legal Services Act 2007 states it is a criminal act to carry out a reserved legal activity. Since a court (and therefore a judge) must not allow a criminal activity to take place before it, this brings your own profession into disrepute.
ParkingEye as claimant had no legal standing to bring the claim either as agent or principle. In court they presented a landowner contract which was dated one year and three months after the date on which they were trying to prove my car was in a retail park in Chelmsford. Also established as fact was that this contract did not relate to Chelmsford at all, but in fact to a retail park in Salford, Manchester. No contract means no proof by anyone’s standards but yours it seems. You took the view that because ParkingEye have erected signage at the site they “probably have a contract.” Presumably in the same way I am “probably the best IT consultant in the world” or Carlsberg is “Probably the best lager in the world.” Take a look at the claimants “contract” here: ParkingEye "Contract"
ParkingEye did not comply with the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (PoFA). In order to conform to the pre-action protocol and the BPA rules, they must follow the provisions of the act if they are chasing a vehicle’s keeper instead of the driver. Their notice to keeper (shown HERE) was not compliant with schedule 4, paragraph 9 of the regulations in the following ways:
Any one of these four points would have been enough to strike out the claim in its own right!
Other evidence that was dismissed as heresay included the fact that the defendant was working in West London and could not possibly have been driving. The fact that the probable driver was a gym member meant there was no overstay (they are entitled to four hours free parking) which again was not disputed by either side.
However, you did allow heresay evidence from the claimant about their “contract” and a diatribe about the legal basis for ParkingEye’s charges which included no citations or case law examples, and which was written by them.
Also apparently allowable as evidence was the nearly two months’ out of time reply to defence which was ordered by a previous judge due to the vexatious and unreasonable nature of the claimant’s case to have been delivered on or by the 10th November 2016 to both court and the defendant, but was actually served on the 29th December 2016!
ParkingEye’s bundle for this case was 187 pages long (for a parking ticket!!!), with the defence bundle a mere 27 pages including case law transcripts. I know this was a factor in your disapproval of this matter.
I trust I have given a fair and accurate summary of the evidence and decisions in the case, suffice to say that I will shortly have £175 less to spend on my beautiful daughter and ParkingEye will have £175 more to spend on chasing motorists for monies that are not owed or for paying Capita’s shareholders, and for which they have no legal standing to collect as proved in evidence, but not in judgement.
I look forward to your reply.
P.S. For information a defendant has 30 days from the date of judgement to pay in full and avoid a CCJ, and not 14 as you incorrectly stated in court. Might be worth you reviewing your County Court procedure rules before next appearing!
Have a question about this letter, or want to get in touch with a reply?
Feel free to email me on the address below!