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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 69258
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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Hi, I received a parking fine for the 14th of April. The letter

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Hi, I received a parking fine for the 14th of April. The letter was sent to me on the 22 May 2013. We had spent £95.00 on our weekly shopping bill at Aldi. As my partner was in the early stages of pregnancy (approx 3 months) and also sufferiing with severe depression, we took our toddler and sat down afterwards and with a cup of tea at the next door Tesco- this is why we took longer than usual as she was feeling very nauseous and didn't want to drive back immediately. We left the Aldi car part 20 minutes after our 1and half hour time limit. Clearly we didn't know it had a 90 minute limit). On advice, we did not reply to any of the subsequent letters. We have just received the 'letter before action'. A final note, because we are in the process of moving house, and with my partner's condition, we have been staying a lot of the time with her parents and moving between houses. Unsolicited mail we have been generally ignoring as we have had so many things to sort out, so we did not read the letter until sometime after it was sent. Parking Eye state that they may now take further action and court proceedings. I have not contacted the company yet and due to my circumstances missed the time allowed for appeal. I would be extremely grateful for advice on how best to proceed as life is quite difficult for us at the moment without extra stress. Many thanks. Neil

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 this contravention.?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Hi, fast response- many thanks

14th April 2013 at 14:53

Thanks. A recent fine then.

Are you asking if they can enforce this?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

1: Yes, and if so, is it worth fighting as also:

2: Can we appeal it owing to the fact that the reason we left later than usual from the car park was my partner's ill health? I am aware that we missed the 14 day appeals deadline as we were not physically in our home to receive it. Is this worth fighting?

This is a private land fine. They are not parking fines whatever they may look like. I realise that many of them mimic those issued by the council or the police but they do not have the same authority.
A private land firm is not an emanation of the state. It does not have the right to punish you for the manner of your parking any more than your neighbours do.
This is essentially an invoice arising from a civil dispute. They say that you accepted a contract by parking there and breached it by staying too long or otherwise parking at variance with the contract.
Private land fines used to be very easy to escape by refusing the details of the driver. They only have a contract with the driver. Unfortunately the Protection of Freedoms Act came into force in October 2012 and it makes the registered keeper liable for the penalty if he does not disclose the details of the driver within 28 days.
All that means is that the claim runs against the registered keeper. It just makes it easier to find the person against whom there should be enforcement.
The chances are high that they will not sue. Even though the law has recently changed in their favour and they were quite aggressive in the beginning, they do not sue in the majority of cases.
If they do sue then they would only have a claim for the sum of the original fine plus about £35 in costs. They will send you debt collection letters in which they will threaten to sue you for their debt collection costs. Do not be intimidated by that. They have no claim for that.
Even if they do go to court, they would still have to prove that the signs are adequate and clear. Quite often they are not.
Also, they will have to prove that they have suffered loss. They may be able to claim a very small amount in administration costs but it is going to be the sum they are trying to claim from you. Their loss would seem to amount to no more than about £5.
They will send you some very nasty letters though. You will get debt collection letters making threats of legal action. They will probably get Graham Whyte solicitors to write to you as well. None of these are anything to worry about. It will not impact upon your credit history and it will not add to the costs.
Unless you actually get a court summons, none of these correspondences have any legal basis. If you do get a court summons then you can always part admit the claim and offer £5 for their loss.
Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Many thanks- a final note. So, just to be clear, before the company can send debt collectors, etc, you have to have a court summons? I.e. the last thing I want is for my partner (who is struggling at the moment), is to have to face bailiffs on the door step. It is only once the court summons is issued that I should act?

Apologies for probably repetition, just want to be sure! I really appreciate the service you offer and the time you are taking.



Yes, without a CCJ they cannot send bailiffs to your address

Without a court summons they cannot get a CCJ.
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