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Court Claim - has the Defendant blundered?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Parking Tickets, Fines & Parking
68 replies 4.5K views
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  • glosandyglosandy Forumite
    63 posts
    IN THE COUNTY COURT BUSINESS CENTRE

    CLAIM No. XXXXXX

    Between:

    Parking Control Management (UK) Limited (Claimant)
    -and-
    XXXXXXX (Defendant)

    DEFENCE

    Preliminary

    1. The Defendant denies that the Claimant is entitled to relief claimed in the sum of £244.30, or at all, for the reasons stated in the following paragraphs.

    2. The Particulars of Claim lack specificity and are embarrassing. The Defendant is prejudiced and is unable to prepare a full and complete Defence. The Defendant reserves the right to seek from the Court permission to serve an Amended Defence should the Claimant add to or expand their Particulars at a later stage of these proceedings and/or to limit the Claimant only to the un-evidenced allegations in the Particulars.

    2.1 The Claimant!!!8217;s solicitors are known to be a serial issuer of generic claims similar to this one, with no due diligence, no scrutiny of details nor even checking for a true cause of action. HMCS have identified thousands of similar poorly pleaded claims.

    2.2 The Defendant believes the term for such conduct is !!!8216;robo-claims!!!8217; which is against the public interest, demonstrates a disregard for the dignity of the court and is unfair on unrepresented consumers. I have reason to believe that this is a claim that will proceed without any facts or evidence supplied until the last possible minute, to my significant detriment as an unrepresented Defendant.

    3. The Particulars of Claim fail to refer to the material terms of any contract and neither comply with the CPR 16 in respect of statements of case, nor the relevant practice direction in respect of claims formed by contract or conduct.

    3.1 The Defendant further notes the Claimant's failure to engage in pre-action correspondence in accordance with the pre-action protocol and with the express aim of avoiding contested litigation.

    Background

    4) It is admitted that the Defendant is/was the Registered Keeper of the vehicle in question on the material date.

    5) It is denied that any "parking charges or indemnity costs" (whatever they might be) as stated on the Particulars of claim are owed and any debt is denied in its entirety.

    6) It is denied that the Claimant has standing to bring any claim in the absence of a contract that expressly permits the Claimant to do so, in addition to merely undertaking 'parking management'. The Claimant has provided no proof of any such entitlement.

    7) The basis of the claim purports to be related to !!!8220;Parked Within a Restricted Area!!!8221; but the facts and images prove that this is not a restricted area at all.

    7.1) The vehicle in question was observed to be parked at Whittle Square, Gloucester. It is not challenged that the vehicle in question was parked in the area in front of the David Lloyd Health Club, Whittle Way, Gloucester. The vehicle was parked off the highway in an area commonly used for parking. The vehicle was in no way contravening any Highway Regulations, and was parked safely without obstructing or obscuring any vehicular traffic.

    7.2) The Claimant asserts that the vehicle was parked within a restricted area. The Defendant denies this, as there is no indication that the area in question is restricted. There are no signs adjacent to this area prohibiting parking.

    7.3) The Claimant asserts via the signage that !!!8220;Vehicles must park fully within the confines of a marked bay!!!8221;. The Defendant would argue that the parking area used by the vehicle is within a marked bay, in the context of the markings/definitions of parking bays at the front of the David Lloyd Health Club, Whittle Way, Gloucester.

    The area in question does not have any painted bay markings (save for one disabled marking in the end bay) to clearly and unequivocally define the parking bays, which would be the accepted and reasonable way to identify parking bays. The wider area in question is of modern construction using a wide range of hard landscaping materials such as block pavers, stone slabs and setts in a variety of colours and finishes. There are no raised kerbs to define restricted areas or deter parking. There are no road markings (single or double-yellow lines) that might even suggest that the area in question was not fit for parking.

    The area the car was parked on is of the same colour and construction as other !!!8220;official!!!8221; parking bays adjacent, therefore it would be reasonable to assume, in the absence of specific signage, that these areas are the same.

    8) It is noted by the Defendant that since the date of the alleged offence, subsequent alterations have been carried out to area in front of the David Lloyd Health Club, Whittle Way, Gloucester. This has included the addition of steel bollards to restrict vehicular access, the addition of painted markings to identify emergency access and the erection of signage to notify parking restrictions.

    8.1) It is further noted that none of these changes have been applied to the area in question, where the vehicle was parked. It is also noted that the area continues to be used as a parking bay on a regular basis by other patrons.

    On that basis, the Defendant argues that either:
    !!!8211; the area is considered to be, and is in common usage as, a parking bay
    !!!8211; or the Claimant is deliberately obscuring the fact it is not, in order to generate spurious Parking Charge Notices for monetary gain

    9) The Defendant avers that, as the vehicle was parked within an area that does not have restricted access, and is not identified as such, the vehicle was parked in compliance with the signage and as such no penalty can be levied by the Claimant.

    10) It is submitted that the conduct of the Claimant in pursuing this claim is wholly unreasonable and vexatious. As such, the Defendant is keeping careful note of all wasted time/costs in dealing with this matter and should the case continue to trial (or in the event of the Claimant filing a Notice of Discontinuance) the Defendant will seek further costs, pursuant to Civil Procedure Rule 27.14(2)(g).

    11) The Defendant respectfully suggests that parking companies using the small claims track as a form of aggressive, automated monetary demands against motorists, is not something the Courts should be seen to support.

    12) The Court is invited to take Judicial Notice of the fact that the Claimant's solicitors, Gladstones, is engaged in a course of conduct which involves issuing tens of thousands of totally meritless Claims, which are routinely dismissed by District Judges sitting in this Court, and other County Court hearing centres in all parts of England & Wales. The Court is therefore invited to refer the matter to the Designated Civil Judge, for consideration of the issuing an Extended Civil Restraint Order against the Claimant, pursuant to CPR Practice Direction 3.1(3).

    20) There has been recent discussions at the House of Commons about the Parking (Code of Practice) Bill, and the rogue industry, which can be read here:
    ttps://hansard.parliament.uk/commons/2018-02-02/debates/CC84AF5E-AC6E-4E14-81B1-066E6A892807/Parking(CodeOfPractice)Bill

    21) The Defendant denies the claim in its entirety, voiding any liability to the Claimant for all amounts due to the aforementioned reasons. The Defendant asks that the court gives consideration to exercise its discretion to order the case to be struck out under CPR Rule 3.4, for want of a detailed cause of action and/or for the claim having no realistic prospects of success.

    22) If the court is not minded to make such an order, then when Directions are given, the Defendant asks that there is an order for sequential service of witness evidence (rather than exchange) because it is expected that the Claimant will use its witness statement to provide the sort of detail which should have been disclosed much earlier, and the Defendant should have the opportunity to consider it, prior to serving evidence and witness statements in support of this defence.

    I confirm that the above facts and statements are true to the best of my knowledge and recollection.

    Signed

    Date
  • Coupon-madCoupon-mad Forumite
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    I would swap 21 and 22 round so your final word is asking for a strike out:
    21) When Directions are given, the Defendant asks that there is an order for sequential service of witness evidence (rather than exchange) because this Claimant's solicitor is connected to the IPC Trade Body and routinely ambushes Defendants with new information at Witness Statement stage. It is expected that the Claimant will use its Witness Statement to provide the sort of detail which should have been disclosed much earlier, and the Defendant should have the opportunity to consider it, prior to serving evidence and witness statements in support of this defence.

    22) The Defendant asks that the court gives consideration to striking out the claim on the Court's own initiative, as having no merit, no particulars of claim, no reasonable prospects of success, and given that the claim is based on an alleged contractual parking charge of £100. The amount claimed on the claim is £244.30 and the Defendant avers that this inflation of the considered amount is a gross abuse of process.

    I have also changed the wording.
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  • glosandyglosandy Forumite
    63 posts
    Defence submitted...
  • glosandyglosandy Forumite
    63 posts
    The defence has been returned by the CCBC, on the basis that the Defendant completed the AOS with a partial defence...

    It mentions completing the N244 Application Notice to get the defence amended or substituted. Any one done this? (Quick post, as I'll now check the forums)
  • Coupon-madCoupon-mad Forumite
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    You did whaaaat? Don't tell us you put something in the defence box at AOS stage?

    I am sorry but that is a disaster.
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  • glosandyglosandy Forumite
    63 posts
    Well, to clarify, the person in question did - I wasn't aware he'd entered information in the partial defence section when he did his AOS... gutted, as I think we'd have walked this one.

    I take it there's now way of getting that defence altered? I'm just looking at the N244 papers, not making much sense this late in the evening...

    Looks like the answer to the thread title is "yes"...
  • Coupon-madCoupon-mad Forumite
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    What did he put, anything useful that can be expanded on at WS stage?

    The N244 comes with a hefty court fee to amend a defence, not sure if it's £100 or £255!!
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  • UmkomaasUmkomaas Forumite
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    I'm just looking at the N244 papers, not making much sense this late in the evening...
    Does it mention £255 to add to/change a defence?

    Sometimes Judges allow litigants in person, who are naive about the court processes, to add to/replace an existing defence f.o.c., but you need better advice on this than from me - Loadsofchildren123 and Johnersh are practising solicitors and may pick this up and comment on the prospects of doing this. Coupon-mad May have some advice too.
    Please note, we are not a legal advice forum. I personally don't get involved in critiquing court case Defences/Witness Statements, so unable to help on that front. Please don't ask.
    Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; show him how to catch fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.
  • glosandyglosandy Forumite
    63 posts
    He has suffered from Ulcerative Colitis from a young age, which means he can get "caught short" rather horrifically, if he can't use a toilet. He's a member of the gym adjacent to the parking area, so made a mad dash to use their loo...

    Text on the AOS is pretty poor, but gets the points across...

    Sounds like N244 is a non-starter then, better to take a chance in Court, and with the WS. I take it the WS part will only allow us to expand on this aspect, as opposed to bringing in the status of the space itself?
  • glosandyglosandy Forumite
    63 posts
    I do appreciate all of your feedback, thanks. Sorry we let the side down!
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