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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Traffic Law
Satisfied Customers: 70213
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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Hi there,Back on 16th May 2012, I asked your advice regarding

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Hi there,Back on 16th May 2012, I asked your advice regarding a parking letter I received from a firm called Civil Enforcement.You advised me to ignore it.Since then on the 30thMay I was advised that the fine had increased from £75.00 to £150.00.I took your advice and refuse any payment.Now 1year later I receive a letter from Civil Enforcement Ltd.stating that as the result of continued failure to pay, that the liability has increased with additional costto £265.00.If this sum is not payed by no later than 03/05/2013, a draft to Particulars of Claims will be submitted to Northampton County Court,and they will apply for a Attachment of Earnings Order (I am now 71yrs and fully retired), or a Third Party Debt Order, which they say could stop me from withdrawing money,and the money owed will be payed from my account.Please can you advise.Alec.

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

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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Jo, Can you advise if I should sit tight and do nothing?

I cannot see another question in your history. If I was the person who answered it then I would have told you that they will do this.

Basically this is private land fine. They are not unlawful but they are hard to enforce. They are essentially issues of contract not an offence. They say that you accepted a contract by parking there and breached it by staying too long.

In fairness, they do have every right to regulate how people park on their land. If somebody parked on your front drive you would have action available to you.

The reason its difficult to enforce is that they only have a contract with the driver not the registered keeper and they have no right to demand from you the identity of the driver. S172 does not apply as this is not a road traffic offence.

The law has changed under the Protection of Freedoms Act to make the registered keeper liable if he does not name the driver within 28 days. That only applies for fines issued after the 1st October 2012 which would not affect you.

Even then, they still have to show that they suffered loss and the signs were adequate.

What you have received is the usual debt collector nonsense making hollow threats.

They will probably get Graham Whyte Solicitors to write to you as well. None of these things have any standing in law.

The truth is that there is an outside chance they could sue. Traditionally they did not but they are becoming more aggressive now.

If they do sue, they have to prove that you were the driver firstly. I have had some cases where the Judge has just directed the defendant to tell the court who was driving. He had no power to do that but at the small claims court they make the law up as they go along sometimes. Also, they have to prove that there were adequate signs at the location and half the time they are void. They have to prove they were caused loss by your parking which is hard to do.

Even if they do win, they will only get the sum of the original fine plus about £35 in costs.

If you pay it off within 28 days of judgment then the CCJ will drop off your record as its not a money management issue but a dispute over liability.

For what its worth, I've had hundreds of these fines and never paid one yet.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Jomo1972, Thanks for your answer.

I forgot to mention, that included in the letter I received from Civil EnforcementLtd,it does state that if I am prepared to accept, without prejudice, the original amount of £150.00 they would agree as final settlement ,if payed by 03/05/2013.
,Does this sound as if they are on a sticky wicket?

Also if I keep having mail from them could I sue them for continual harassment?........Alec

Not really.

Its just that normal debt collection twaddle.

Its not that they have no claim. They just have one that is very hard to enforce.

The courts have been reluctant to extend the law on harassment in this direction. Enthusiastic debt collectors do commit offences sometimes but not just by sending letters asking for payment and making lots of statements that are not quite untrue but are not realistic.

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