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  • FIRST POST
    • smiledotcom
    • By smiledotcom 18th Mar 17, 11:22 AM
    • 30Posts
    • 22Thanks
    smiledotcom
    Defending a CEL claim
    • #1
    • 18th Mar 17, 11:22 AM
    Defending a CEL claim 18th Mar 17 at 11:22 AM
    Hello,

    I received a Claim Form from CEL dated 21 Feb 2017 for the sum of £329.52. The claim form was not signed by any person e.g. Mr Cohen or a Mr Shwartz, it is just "signed" (in type) by Civil Enforcement Limited (Claimant's Legal Representative).

    I have acknowledged the claim on MCO staying that I wish to defend the claim in full - so I now have until 26 March to submit my defence.

    Thanks to the advice on this website I have compiled a "generic" defence to the claim:

    In the County Court Business Centre
    Claim Number ****
    Between:
    Civil Enforcement Limited v ******
    Defence Statement

    I am ******* the defendant in this matter and registered keeper of vehicle *****. I currently reside at ***.

    The Claim Form issued on the **** by Civil Enforcement Limited was not correctly filed under The Practice Direction as it was not signed by a legal person but signed by “The Legal Team”.

    I deny I am liable for the entirety of the claim for each and every one of the following reasons:

    1/ This case can be distinguished from ParkingEye v Beavis [2015] UKSC 67 (the Beavis case) which was dependent upon an undenied contract, formed by unusually prominent signage forming a clear offer and which turned on unique facts regarding the location and the interests of the landowner. Strict compliance with the BPA Code of Practice (CoP) was paramount and Mr Beavis was the driver who saw the signs and entered into a contract to pay £85 after exceeding a licence to park free. None of this applies in this material case.

    2/ This Claimant has not complied with pre-court protocol:
    (a)There was no compliant ‘Letter before County Court Claim’, under the Practice Direction, despite the Defendant's requests for this and further information.
    (b) This is a speculative serial litigant, issuing a large number of identical 'draft particulars'. The badly mail-merged documents contain very little information. The covering letter merely contains a supposed PCN number with no contravention nor photographs.
    (c) The Claim form Particulars were extremely sparse and divulged no cause of action nor sufficient detail. The Defendant has no idea what the claim is about - why the charge arose, what the alleged contract was; nothing that could be considered a fair exchange of information.

    3/ I put the Claimant to strict proof that it issued a compliant notice under Schedule 4 of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. Absent such a notice served within 14 days of the parking event and with fully compliant statutory wording, this Claimant is unable to hold me liable under the strict ‘keeper liability’ provisions.
    Henry Greenslade, lead adjudicator of POPLA in 2015 and an eminent barrister and parking law expert stated that “However keeper information is obtained, there is no ‘reasonable presumption’ in law that the registered keeper of a vehicle is the driver. Operators should never suggest anything of the sort.”

    Schedule 4 also states that the only sum a keeper can be pursued for (if Schedule 4 is fully complied with, which it was not, and if there was a 'relevant obligation' and relevant contract' fairly and adequately communicated, which there was not as there was no clear, transparent information about how to obtain a permit either inside or outside the site) is the sum on the Notice to Keeper. They cannot pluck another sum from thin air and bolt that on as well when neither the signs, nor the NTK, nor the permit information mentioned a possible £252.71 for outstanding debt and damages.

    4/ Inadequate signs incapable of binding the driver - this distinguishes this case from the Beavis case:
    (a) Sporadic and illegible (charge not prominent nor large lettering) of site/entrance signage - breach of the POFA 2012 Schedule 4 and the BPA Code of Practice and no contract formed to pay any clearly stated sum.
    (b) Non existent ANPR 'data use' signage - breach of ICO rules and the BPA Code of Practice.
    (c) It is believed the signage was not lit and any terms were not transparent or legible; this is an unfair contract, not agreed by the driver and contrary to the Consumer Rights Act 2015 in requiring a huge inflated sum as 'compensation' from by an authorised party using the premises as intended.
    (d) No promise was made by the driver that could constitute consideration because there was no offer known nor accepted. No consideration flowed from the Claimant.

    5/ BPA CoP breaches - this distinguishes this case from the Beavis case:
    (a) the signs were not compliant in terms of the font size, lighting or positioning.
    (b) the sum pursued exceeds £100.
    (c) there is/was no compliant landowner contract.

    6/ No standing - this distinguishes this case from the Beavis case:
    It is believed Civil Enforcement do not hold a legitimate contract at this car park. As an agent, the Claimant has no legal right to bring such a claim in their name which should be in the name of the landowner.

    7/ No legitimate interest - this distinguishes this case from the Beavis case:

    This Claimant files serial claims regarding sites where they have lost the contract, known as revenge claims and it believed this is one such case. This is not a legitimate reason to pursue a charge out of proportion with any loss or damages the true landowner could pursue.

    The Defendant visited the premises with family after the parking charge was issued, as the family are regulars but had no idea of any change of parking terms. The pub landlord assured us that nothing would happen and, as the keeper receiving these demands, I was specifically instructed by the pub (this Claimant's principal at the time of this 'parking charge') to ignore any future correspondence I received, since the Claimant was not authorised to pursue matters and the intention of the scheme was never to enforce charges against pub customers. The Defendant relies on the doctrine of promissory estoppel in this regard and has also secured confirmation that the Pub ended their contract with this Claimant earlier this year, due to the aggressive way they operate against the interests of customers.

    8/ The Beavis case confirmed the fact that, if it is a matter of trespass (not breach of any contract), a parking firm has no standing as a non-landowner to pursue even nominal damages.

    9/ The charge is an unenforceable penalty based upon a lack of commercial justification. The Beavis case confirmed that the penalty rule is certainly engaged in any case of a private parking charge and was only disengaged due to the unique circumstances of that case, which do not resemble this claim.

    10/ The claimant has added unrecoverable sums to the original parking charge. If Mr Cohen is an employee then the Defendant suggests he is remunerated and the particulars of claim dated 1st December 2016 are templates, so it is not credible that £50 legal costs were incurred. I deny the Claimant is entitled to any interest whatsoever.

    The Defendant denies any liability whatsoever to the Claimant in any matter and asks the Court to note that the Claimant has:
    (a) failed to disclose any cause of action in the incorrectly filed Claim Form issued on 2nd December 2016
    (b) failed to respond to a letter from the Defendant dated *** requesting further information and details of the claim

    The vague Particulars of Claim disclose no clear cause of action. The court is invited to strike out the claim of its own volition as having no merit and no reasonable prospects of success.

    I believe the facts contained in this Defence Statement are true.

    Signed
    Date


    Regarding the bits that I have highlighted in green, should I alter these to "Legal Representative", and should I change the amount of £252.71 to £329.52 - which is what they have billed me for?

    Otherwise, if I populate it with my personal details, format it to comply with the advice regarding font and double-spacing, and send off with proof of postage, is it good to go?

    Many thanks in advance,
Page 1
    • Lamilad
    • By Lamilad 18th Mar 17, 12:30 PM
    • 700 Posts
    • 1,533 Thanks
    Lamilad
    • #2
    • 18th Mar 17, 12:30 PM
    • #2
    • 18th Mar 17, 12:30 PM
    After a quick scan it looks good. You've got all the main points in there.

    I have a few suggestions on wording and layout but I'll have a closer look first.

    Coupon Mad may be around later to offer her expert advice. With her help it's unlikely this will ever see the inside of a court room.

    What is the alleged contravention?
    • Coupon-mad
    • By Coupon-mad 18th Mar 17, 4:03 PM
    • 48,239 Posts
    • 61,724 Thanks
    Coupon-mad
    • #3
    • 18th Mar 17, 4:03 PM
    • #3
    • 18th Mar 17, 4:03 PM
    Remove this:

    I am ******* the defendant in this matter and registered keeper of vehicle *****. I currently reside at ***.
    ...as per Southpaw82 on pepipoo, that isn't needed in a defence (your name is already at the top in the headings).

    CEL fold when they see a generic defence like that so all seems good, but if Lamilad has comments on the wording above then he knows what he is doing!
    PRIVATE PCN in England/Wales? DON'T PAY BUT DO NOT IGNORE IT

    Click on the trail, top of this page: Home>>Forums>Household & Travel>Motoring>Parking Tickets, Fines & Parking - read the 'NEWBIES' FAQS thread!
    DON'T read old advice to ignore, unless in Scotland/NI.

    • smiledotcom
    • By smiledotcom 19th Mar 17, 12:06 AM
    • 30 Posts
    • 22 Thanks
    smiledotcom
    • #4
    • 19th Mar 17, 12:06 AM
    • #4
    • 19th Mar 17, 12:06 AM
    The contravention isn't stated on the claim form and a "penalty charge" notice was never attached to the windscreen. The car park had just started using a new system of automated cameras and a ticket machine that required the vehicle registration number to be inputted and since no ticket was purchased I guess it must have been a failure to comply with that.
    • Coupon-mad
    • By Coupon-mad 19th Mar 17, 12:12 AM
    • 48,239 Posts
    • 61,724 Thanks
    Coupon-mad
    • #5
    • 19th Mar 17, 12:12 AM
    • #5
    • 19th Mar 17, 12:12 AM
    Regarding the bits that I have highlighted in green, should I alter these to "Legal Representative", and should I change the amount of £252.71 to £329.52
    Yes.

    Otherwise, if I populate it with my personal details, format it to comply with the advice regarding font and double-spacing, and send off with proof of postage, is it good to go?
    Yes it will be enough, going by other cases. Subject to Lamilad's suggestions below, to improve the running order and flow.
    Last edited by Coupon-mad; 19-03-2017 at 12:46 AM.
    PRIVATE PCN in England/Wales? DON'T PAY BUT DO NOT IGNORE IT

    Click on the trail, top of this page: Home>>Forums>Household & Travel>Motoring>Parking Tickets, Fines & Parking - read the 'NEWBIES' FAQS thread!
    DON'T read old advice to ignore, unless in Scotland/NI.

    • Lamilad
    • By Lamilad 19th Mar 17, 12:37 AM
    • 700 Posts
    • 1,533 Thanks
    Lamilad
    • #6
    • 19th Mar 17, 12:37 AM
    • #6
    • 19th Mar 17, 12:37 AM
    Just my opinion but I would change some of the wording and layout as follows:

    [open with this]
    I deny I am liable for the entirety of the claim for each and every one of the following reasons:

    The Claim Form issued on the **** by Civil Enforcement Limited was not correctly filed under The Practice Direction as it was not signed by a legal person but signed by “The Legal Team”.

    [make this para 1]
    2/ This Claimant has not complied with pre-court protocol:
    (a)There was no compliant ‘Letter before County Court Claim’, under the Practice Direction, despite the Defendant's requests for this and further information.
    (b) This is a speculative serial litigant, issuing a large number of identical 'draft particulars'. The badly mail-merged documents contain very little information. The covering letter merely contains a supposed PCN number with no contravention nor photographs.
    (c) The Claim form Particulars were extremely sparse and divulged no cause of action nor sufficient detail. The Defendant has no idea what the claim is about - why the charge arose, what the alleged contract was; nothing that could be considered a fair exchange of information.

    [make this para 2]
    3/ I put the Claimant to strict proof that it The claimant has not issued a compliant notice under Schedule 4 of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. Absent such a notice served within 14 days
    [this is correct for anpr tickets but not for tickets attached to the windscreen]of the parking event and with fully compliant statutory wording, this Claimant is unable to hold me liable under the strict ‘keeper liability’ provisions.

    [make this a separate para.]
    There can be no 'presumption' by the claimant that the keeper was the driver. Henry Greenslade, lead adjudicator of POPLA in 2015 and an eminent barrister and parking law expert stated that “However keeper information is obtained; there is no ‘reasonable presumption’ in law that the registered keeper of a vehicle is the driver. Operators should never suggest anything of the sort.”

    Schedule 4 also states that the only sum a keeper can be pursued for (if Schedule 4 is fully complied with, which it was not, and if there was a 'relevant obligation' and relevant contract' fairly and adequately communicated, which there was not as there was no clear, transparent information about how to obtain a permit either inside or outside the site) is the sum on the Notice to Keeper. They cannot pluck another sum from thin air and bolt that on as well when neither the signs, nor the NTK, nor the permit information mentioned a possible £252.71 for outstanding debt and damages.


    [move this para to here]
    1/ This case can be distinguished from ParkingEye v Beavis [2015] UKSC 67 (the Beavis case) which was dependent upon an undenied contract, formed by unusually prominent signage forming a clear offer and which turned on unique facts regarding the location and the interests of the landowner. Strict compliance with the BPA Code of Practice (CoP) was paramount and Mr Beavis was the driver who saw the signs and entered into a contract to pay £85 after exceeding a licence to park free. None of this applies in this material case.

    4/ Inadequate signs incapable of binding the driver - this distinguishes this case from the Beavis case:
    (a) Sporadic and illegible (charge not prominent nor large lettering) of site/entrance signage - breach of the POFA 2012 Schedule 4 and the BPA Code of Practice and no contract formed to pay any clearly stated sum.
    (b) Non existent ANPR 'data use' signage - breach of ICO rules and the BPA Code of Practice.
    (c) It is believed the signage was not lit and any terms were not transparent or legible; this is an unfair contract, not agreed by the driver and contrary to the Consumer Rights Act 2015 in requiring a huge inflated sum as 'compensation' from by an authorised party using the premises as intended.
    (d) No promise was made by the driver that could constitute consideration because there was no offer known nor accepted. No consideration flowed from the Claimant.

    5/ BPA CoP breaches - this distinguishes this case from the Beavis case:
    (a) the signs were not compliant in terms of the font size, lighting or positioning.
    (b) the sum pursued exceeds £100.
    (c) there is/was no compliant landowner contract.

    6/ No standing - this distinguishes this case from the Beavis case:
    It is believed Civil Enforcement do not hold a legitimate contract at this car park. As an agent, the Claimant has no legal right to bring such a claim in their name which should be in the name of the landowner.

    7/ No legitimate interest - this distinguishes this case from the Beavis case:

    It is well known that this Claimant files serial claims regarding sites where they have lost the contract, known as 'revenge claims' and it believed the defendant submits that this is one such case. This is not a legitimate reason to pursue a charge out of proportion with any loss or damages the true landowner could pursue.


    The Defendant visited the premises with family after the parking charge was issued, as the family are regulars but had no idea of any change of parking terms. The pub landlord assured us that nothing would happen and, as the keeper receiving these demands, I was specifically instructed by the pub (this Claimant's principal at the time of this 'parking charge') to ignore any future correspondence I received, since the Claimant was not authorised to pursue matters and the intention of the scheme was never to enforce charges against pub customers. The Defendant relies on the doctrine of promissory estoppel in this regard and has also secured confirmation that the Pub ended their contract with this Claimant earlier this year, due to the aggressive way they operate against the interests of customers.

    8/ The Beavis case confirmed the fact that, if it is a matter of trespass (not breach of any contract), a parking firm has no standing as a non-landowner to pursue even nominal damages.

    9/ The charge is an unenforceable penalty based upon a lack of commercial justification. The Beavis case confirmed confirms that the penalty rule is certainly still engaged in any case of a private parking charge and was only disengaged due to the unique circumstances of that case, which do not resemble this claim.

    10/ The claimant has added unrecoverable sums to the original parking charge. If Mr Cohen is an employee then the Defendant suggests he is remunerated and the particulars of claim dated 1st December 2016 are templates, so it is not credible that £50 legal costs were incurred. I deny the Claimant is entitled to any interest whatsoever.

    The Defendant denies any liability whatsoever to the Claimant in any matter and asks the Court to note that the Claimant has:
    (a) failed to disclose any cause of action in the incorrectly filed Claim Form issued on 2nd December 2016
    (b) failed to respond to a letter from the Defendant dated *** requesting further information and details of the claim

    The vague Particulars of Claim disclose no clear cause of action. The court is invited to strike out the claim of its own volition as having no merit and no reasonable prospects of success.

    I believe the facts contained in this Defence Statement are true.
    Last edited by Lamilad; 19-03-2017 at 12:43 AM.
    • smiledotcom
    • By smiledotcom 21st Mar 17, 10:47 AM
    • 30 Posts
    • 22 Thanks
    smiledotcom
    • #7
    • 21st Mar 17, 10:47 AM
    • #7
    • 21st Mar 17, 10:47 AM
    I have drafted up my CEL claim defence.

    I moved house in Jan 2017 and although I've notified DVLA of change of address I haven't yet changed the details my car's registration document (on my to-do list!.
    Coupon Mad has advised me to remove this wording from my defence

    "I am ******* the defendant in this matter and registered keeper of vehicle *****. I currently reside at ***

    but I'm confused by the advice. Surely my strongest defence to the claim is that I am the keeper, not the driver, of the car. So why wouldn't I make this totally clear.

    However, if I should remove that bit from my defence then where should I say I reside - at my home address or where the car is currently registered?

    Thanks in adavance for any advice. Here's my defence: Does it look good to go?

    In the County Court Business Centre
    Claim Number ****
    Between:
    Civil Enforcement Limited v ******
    Defence Statement

    I am ******* the defendant in this matter and registered keeper of vehicle *****. I currently reside at ***.


    I deny I am liable for the entirety of the claim for each of the following reasons:

    The Claim Form issued on the 21 February 2017 by Civil Enforcement Limited was not correctly filed under The Practice Direction as it was not signed by a legal person but signed by "Claimant's Legal Representative"”.


    1) This Claimant has not complied with pre-court protocol:
    (a)There was no compliant ‘Letter before County Court Claim’, under the Practice Direction, despite the Defendant's requests for this and further information.
    (b) This is a speculative serial litigant, issuing a large number of identical 'draft particulars'. The badly mail-merged documents contain very little information. The covering letter merely contains a supposed PCN number with no contravention nor photographs.
    (c) The Claim form Particulars were extremely sparse and divulged no cause of action nor sufficient detail. The Defendant has no idea what the claim is about - why the charge arose, what the alleged contract was; nothing that could be considered a fair exchange of information.


    2) The claimant has not issued a compliant notice under Schedule 4 of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012. Absent such a notice served within 14 days of the parking event and with fully compliant statutory wording, this Claimant is unable to hold me liable under the strict ‘keeper liability’ provisions.

    3) There can be no 'presumption' by the claimant that the keeper was the driver. Henry Greenslade, lead adjudicator of POPLA in 2015 and an eminent barrister and parking law expert stated that “However keeper information is obtained; there is no ‘reasonable presumption’ in law that the registered keeper of a vehicle is the driver. Operators should never suggest anything of the sort.”

    Schedule 4 also states that the only sum a keeper can be pursued for (if Schedule 4 is fully complied with, which it was not, and if there was a 'relevant obligation' and relevant contract' fairly and adequately communicated, which there was not as there was no clear, transparent information about how to obtain a permit either inside or outside the site) is the sum on the Notice to Keeper. They cannot pluck another sum from thin air and bolt that on as well when neither the signs, nor the NTK, nor the permit information mentioned a possible £329.52 for outstanding debt and damages.

    4) This case can be distinguished from ParkingEye v Beavis [2015] UKSC 67 (the Beavis case) which was dependent upon an undenied contract, formed by unusually prominent signage forming a clear offer and which turned on unique facts regarding the location and the interests of the landowner. Strict compliance with the BPA Code of Practice (CoP) was paramount and Mr Beavis was the driver who saw the signs and entered into a contract to pay £85 after exceeding a licence to park free. None of this applies in this material case.

    5) Inadequate signs incapable of binding the driver - this distinguishes this case from the Beavis case:
    (a) Sporadic and illegible (charge not prominent nor large lettering) of site/entrance signage - breach of the POFA 2012 Schedule 4 and the BPA Code of Practice and no contract formed to pay any clearly stated sum.
    (b) Non existent ANPR 'data use' signage - breach of ICO rules and the BPA Code of Practice.
    (c) It is believed the signage was not lit and any terms were not transparent or legible; this is an unfair contract, not agreed by the driver and contrary to the Consumer Rights Act 2015 in requiring a huge inflated sum as 'compensation' from by an authorised party using the premises as intended.
    (d) No promise was made by the driver that could constitute consideration because there was no offer known nor accepted. No consideration flowed from the Claimant.

    6) BPA CoP breaches - this distinguishes this case from the Beavis case:
    (a) the signs were not compliant in terms of the font size, lighting or positioning.
    (b) the sum pursued exceeds £100.
    (c) there is/was no compliant landowner contract.

    7) No standing - this distinguishes this case from the Beavis case:
    It is believed Civil Enforcement do not hold a legitimate contract at this car park. As an agent, the Claimant has no legal right to bring such a claim in their name which should be in the name of the landowner.

    8) No legitimate interest - this distinguishes this case from the Beavis case:
    It is well known that this Claimant files serial claims regarding sites where they have lost the contract, known as 'revenge claims' and the defendant submits that this is one such case. This is not a legitimate reason to pursue a charge out of proportion with any loss or damages the true landowner could pursue.

    9) The Beavis case confirmed the fact that, if it is a matter of trespass (not breach of any contract), a parking firm has no standing as a non-landowner to pursue even nominal damages.

    10) The charge is an unenforceable penalty based upon a lack of commercial justification. The Beavis case confirms that the penalty rule is still engaged in any case of a private parking charge and was only disengaged due to the unique circumstances of that case, which do not resemble this claim.

    11) The claimant has added unrecoverable sums to the original parking charge. If Mr Cohen is an employee then the Defendant suggests he is remunerated and the particulars of claim dated 21st February 2017 are templates, so it is not credible that £50 legal costs were incurred. I deny the Claimant is entitled to any interest whatsoever.

    The Defendant denies any liability whatsoever to the Claimant in any matter and asks the Court to note that the Claimant has:
    (a) failed to disclose any cause of action in the incorrectly filed Claim Form issued on 21st February 2017

    The vague Particulars of Claim disclose no clear cause of action. The court is invited to strike out the claim of its own volition as having no merit and no reasonable prospects of success.

    I believe the facts contained in this Defence Statement are true.

    Signed:
    Date:
    • Lamilad
    • By Lamilad 21st Mar 17, 12:02 PM
    • 700 Posts
    • 1,533 Thanks
    Lamilad
    • #8
    • 21st Mar 17, 12:02 PM
    • #8
    • 21st Mar 17, 12:02 PM
    Coupon Mad has advised me to remove this wording from my defence

    "I am ******* the defendant in this matter and registered keeper of vehicle *****. I currently reside at ***

    but I'm confused by the advice. Surely my strongest defence to the claim is that I am the keeper, not the driver, of the car. So why wouldn't I make this totally clear.

    However, if I should remove that bit from my defence then where should I say I reside - at my home address or where the car is currently registered?
    You don't need to state your name and address, such information is superfluous. - this is already known and will, in any case, be stated on you WS

    You can state:
    "I am the registered keeper of the vehicle in question, however I was not the driver at the material time......"
    Last edited by Lamilad; 21-03-2017 at 2:50 PM.
    • smiledotcom
    • By smiledotcom 21st Mar 17, 12:52 PM
    • 30 Posts
    • 22 Thanks
    smiledotcom
    • #9
    • 21st Mar 17, 12:52 PM
    • #9
    • 21st Mar 17, 12:52 PM
    OK, thanks, Lamilad. I will modify it in line with your advice.

    Thank you
    • smiledotcom
    • By smiledotcom 18th May 17, 5:26 PM
    • 30 Posts
    • 22 Thanks
    smiledotcom
    SUCCESS at County Court Business Centre - CEL claim
    I phoned the court today to enquire about the progress of CEL's claim against me as I had heard nothing since I submitted my defence statement to the court on 21 March.

    The court told me that the case has been "stayed". I asked them what that meant. I was told that the claimant - CEL - had been sent a copy of my defence but that they had not tried to pursue the matter within the 30-day timeframe allowed. Also, CEL could open the case again but they would have to pay £100 to the court to do so.

    Judging by others' past experience, and the accumulated knowledge on this board with respect to CEL, it would seem that CEL have now given up on this claim.

    Hooray!

    Thank you for all the advice and guidance I received on this board to achieve this outcome.
    • Coupon-mad
    • By Coupon-mad 19th May 17, 12:40 AM
    • 48,239 Posts
    • 61,724 Thanks
    Coupon-mad
    Great stuff! Happens every time v CEL and people need to know how to defend.

    So easy to do for free, by simply copying/adapting other examples here (like your own!).
    PRIVATE PCN in England/Wales? DON'T PAY BUT DO NOT IGNORE IT

    Click on the trail, top of this page: Home>>Forums>Household & Travel>Motoring>Parking Tickets, Fines & Parking - read the 'NEWBIES' FAQS thread!
    DON'T read old advice to ignore, unless in Scotland/NI.

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