I have now reached the county court stage and the details are as follows:
Issue date: 05/08/19
AOS: Sent and acknowledged on 08/08/19
A SAR was sent to VCS on 07/08/19
The CPR 31.14 Request will be posted tomorrow.
The history is as follows.
"Contravention" occurred on 07/08/16 and the issue date for the PCN was 31/08/16.
This was an overstay of 22 minutes, the car park is free for one hour.
This went through the IAS in December 2016 and obviously failed.
I sent the standard letter for them to leave me alone and now we are here.
At no point did I name a driver,
they stated in the IAS
"we are relying on the presumption, on the balance of probability, that the appellant, as registered keeper of the vehicle in question, was the driver of the vehicle on the date in question and we support this by the knowledge the appellant has in relation to the circumstances ("events of the day") in relation to this Parking Charge Notice."
now my defence begins...
I have taken some very recent information from this site for the same car park who have provided the following defence:
1. The Claimant has failed to show, upon request under CPR 31.14, any authority or agency to enter into contracts with the public by way of an assignment from the proprietor to do the same and to make civil claims in their own name. The Defendant contends that the Claimant has no authority or agency to do such therefore there can be no claim.
2. The Claimant has failed to show, upon request under CPR 31.14, any evidence of planning permission for installation of cameras and signage under the Town and Country Planning Act 2007. The Defendant contends that such permission was never sought nor granted therefore there can be no claim.
I would obviously like to add something around POFA 2012 but also want to keep this fairly simple. Any thoughts from the parking wizards out there very much appreciated...
I've done some more research and inclined to go with a more details defence as follows....
The Defendant denies that the Claimant is entitled to relief in the sum claimed, or at all.
1) The Particulars of Claim state that the Defendant was the registered keeper and/or the driver of the vehicle(s). These assertions indicate that the Claimant has failed to identify a Cause of Action, and is simply offering a menu of choices. As such, the Claim fails to comply with Civil Procedure Rule 16.4, or with Civil Practice Direction 16, paras. 7.3 to 7.5. Further, the particulars of the claim do not meet the requirements of Practice Direction 16 7.5 as there is nothing which specifies how the terms were breached.
2) The driver has not been evidenced on any occasion and there is no presumption in law that the keeper was the driver. The keeper is not obliged to name the driver to a private parking firm which was confirmed in the POPLA Annual Report 2015 by the POPLA Lead Adjudicator and barrister, Henry Greenslade, when explaining the POFA 2012 principles of 'keeper liability' as set out in Schedule 4.
3) It is admitted that the Defendant is the registered keeper of the vehicle in question. However, the defendant has no liability as they are the Keeper of the vehicle, and the Private Parking Company has failed to comply with the strict provisions of PoFA 2012 to hold anyone other than the driver liable for the charges.
4) Due to the sparseness of the particulars, it is unclear as to what legal basis the claim is brought, whether for breach of contract, contractual liability, or trespass. However, it is denied that the Defendant, or any driver of the vehicle, entered into any contractual agreement with the Claimant, whether express, implied, or by conduct.
5) The Claimant is not the landowner and is merely an agent acting on behalf of the landowner and has failed to demonstrate their legal standing to form a contract.
6) The claimant is not the landowner and suffers no loss whatsoever as a result of a vehicle parking at the location in question.
7) The Claimant is put to strict proof that it has sufficient proprietary interest in the land, or that it has the necessary authorisation from the landowner to issue parking charge notices, and to pursue payment by means of litigation.
Further and in the alternative, it is denied that the Claimant’s signage is capable of creating a legally binding contract.
9) A sign is present on the left hand side of the entrance, away from the driver, and therefore cannot be easily read by the driver of a passing vehicle. On closer inspection this sign states ’Refer to the full Terms & Conditions signs located throughout the car park’. Signs are located so that information is often obscured by other parked cars and is difficult to read. These signs state ‘Entry to or use of this privately operated and managed car park is subject to the current terms and conditions of vehicle control services ltd. Motorists/persons utilising this car park hereby accept in full the terms and conditions.’ Therefore, the driver is deemed to have agreed to the terms and conditions by having entered the car park before knowing what those terms and conditions are. The elements of offer, acceptance and consideration both ways have therefore not been satisfied and so no contract can exist.
10) For all Pay and Display parking facilities owned by Sheffield City Council, including many on-road spaces in the vicinity of the car park in this case, the charges for overstay are initially £25 compared to the Claimant's £100. As the Claimant’s charge is 400% greater than that which a motorist could expect to pay for overstaying in a municipal facility it clearly disproportionate for the area.
11) The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, Schedule 4, at Section 4(5) states that the maximum sum that may be recovered from the keeper is the charge stated on the Notice to Keeper, in this case £100. The claim includes an additional £60 plus interest, for which no calculation or explanation is given, and which appears to be an attempt at double recovery.
12) In summary, it is the Defendant's position that the claim discloses no cause of action, is without merit, and has no real prospect of success. Accordingly, the Court is invited to strike out the claim of its own initiative, using its case management powers pursuant to CPR 3.4.