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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 69254
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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I have just (17 April 13) received a penalty notice from Car

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I have just (17 April 13) received a penalty notice from Car Parking Partnership for staying 8 minutes over 3 hours in Abbey Wood Trading Estate, Bristol. There is no sign to say when the "regulations" for timings start or finish. The ticket looks official but there seems to be no link to a local Council, Police Force or any statutory regulations. I saw the attendant who had just stuck on the ticket: I did not remonstrate but did make the point that I was but a few minutes over 3 hours and there was no sign to say that the rules kicked in before 08:20, when I had first parked. I was borrowing my wife's car, and I don't want to get her into trouble, but I am minded to write politely and refuse to pay. Is this OK?

Thank you for your question and welcome to Just Answer. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

What was the date of the offence?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


17 April.


Sorry if I'm missing the point but surely if the signs didn't comment upon the timing of the regulations then the presumption should be that they applied all the time?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Good point, yes, but I don't think any official council-run car park ever fail to mark up clearly when overnight timings change to daytime timings and regulations. I suspect that they are required to do so - just like a parking meter or any other council-run car park.

But the real point of my question is that I don't see that Car Parking Partnership have any statutory authority to raise these charges. There are no signs displayed that say this was private land: it is a parking lot for a shopping mall, but the one sign displayed makes no reference to any of these businesses, nor to who owns the car park.

Please forget about that. I'm afraid they do have authority.

Can we just concentrate on the signs? Did they clearly identify a prohibition but just not comment on a time?
Ok. I presume you don't want to tell me.

I know this isn’t going to be the answer you want to hear, and it’s certainly not what I want to tell you. However, I wish to be completely honest with you, so I feel obligated to not give you false hope.

I'm really sorry but you misunderstand the position. Of course, they don't have authority to issue parking fines within the meaning of the term. They are not an emanation of the state.

However, this is not a parking fine. Its a private land fine. They are issued on the basis of breach of contract to the effect that you parked there is breach of the signs. There was a debate over whether that was valid formerly but the Protection of Freedoms Act and various cases have brought an end to that debate in their favour.

Unfortunately, if there were signs at the location prohibiting parking there in the manner or for the length that you did then they have lawful authority. If they didn't restrict the time of day then the presumption in law is that the prohibitions applied permanently. It just isn't really proper construction of words to say that 'No parking', for example, should only apply for a limited time because it did not say 'No parking – 24 hours'.

You can put them to prove on the sum of their losses but they are claiming admin costs now. There have been some cases that allow that following the Protection of Freedoms Act.

Whether they would sue or not is another matter. It isn't really cost effective to do that but the law has recently changed in their favour so they are becoming more aggressive than hitherto.

Sorry thats probably not the answer you wanted but it is the position that you have and I have a duty to give you truthful and accurate information even though its not what I want to say.

Hope this helps. Please rate my answer OK SERVICE or above and I can answer your related questions.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


OK, thanks. I'll take this one on the chin and pay up. Thanks for your advice. S

Well, you don't necessarily need to pay.

You still can ask them to prove their loss.

Also, there is still a 50% chance they won't sue.
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