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PCN / Britannia Parking & BW Legal

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  • moon_dustmoon_dust Forumite
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    I've had another go at amending my defence. I have tried to clarify para's 7 and 8 with regard to inflated costs and the Abuse of Process and double recovery.

    What does everyone think? What am I missing? What mistakes have I made? What could be clearer?

    I have never had to write a legal defence before so this is a steep learning curve for me. I hope I am getting there!
    IN THE COUNTY COURT

    CLAIM No: xxx

    BETWEEN:

    Britannia Parking Group Limited (Claimant)

    -and-

    xxx (Defendant)

    ________________________________________
    DEFENCE
    ________________________________________

    1. The Defendant denies that the Claimant is entitled to relief in the sum claimed, or at all.

    2. The facts are that the vehicle, registration xxxx xxx, of which the Defendant is the registered keeper, was parked on the material date in a marked bay for use by customers of the Old Green Parade shops. The driver, who is not required by law to be named, parked the Defendant’s vehicle to use the shops for a period of 1 hour and 10 minutes; 50 minutes longer than the permitted time of 20 minutes.

    3. A contract was not knowingly entered into as the signage is poorly placed, difficult to read and, above all, not illuminated.The terms on the Claimant's signage are displayed in a font which is too small to be read from a passing vehicle, and is in such a position that anyone attempting to read the tiny font would be unable to do so easily. It is, therefore, denied that the Claimant's signage is capable of creating a legally binding contract.

    4. It is unreasonable to expect that 20 minutes is sufficient time to use the shops and facilities in this location.

    5. There are signs displayed within the window of the Raj restaurant which states “No Time Limit For Customer Parking”.

    6. The Claimant is put to strict proof that it has sufficient proprietary interest in the land, or that it has the necessary authorisation from the landowner to issue parking charge notices, and to pursue payment by means of litigation. The New Milton Advertiser published an article on Friday 22nd December 2017 which gives an account of the local shopkeepers who wrote to Britannia Parking to state that “this car park belongs to all the shopkeepers and for our customers’ use and nobody has a right to make any decision without all the shopkeepers’ consent”. This letter was stated to have been signed by representatives from 6 of the 9 shops there.

    7. The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, Schedule 4, at Section 4(5) states that the maximum sum that may be recovered from the keeper is the charge stated on the Notice to Keeper, in this case £100. The claim includes an additional £64.28, for contractual costs pursuant to PCN terms and conditions, with interest added. This additional sum does not set out any explanation or calculation of how it is derived. The Claim is also not recoverable with reference to the judgement in Parking Eye v Beavis. It is an Abuse of Process for the Claimant to issue a knowingly inflated claim for an additional sum which it is not entitled to recover.

    8. A further amount is requested by the Claimant to a sum of £50 to cover legal representative’s costs. Whilst quantified costs can be considered on a standard basis, this Claimant's purported costs are wholly disproportionate and do not stand up to scrutiny. In fact it is averred that the Claimant has not paid or incurred such damages/costs or 'legal fees' at all. Any debt collection letters were a standard feature of a low cost business model and are already counted within the parking charge itself. This is a further Abuse of Process and an attempt at double recovery. The Civil Procedure Rules Part 27, under Rule 27.14, does not allow such claim for legal fees within the Small Claims Court. According to Ladak v DRC Locums UKEAT/0488/13/LA the Claimant can only recover the direct and provable costs of the time spent by legally qualified staff on preparing a claim in a legal capacity.

    9. In a very recent case, District Judge Taylor, dismissed a case from BWLegal that included a false amount of £60. Claim reference is F0DP201T, District Judge Taylor, Southampton Court, 10th June 2019. This case was struck out as an Abuse of Process. This order was made by the Court of its own initiative without a hearing pursuant to Rule 3.3(4) of the Civil Procedure Rules 1997 and a party affected by the order may apply to have it set aside, varied or stayed not more than 7 days after the date the order was served upon that party.

    10. In summary, it is the Defendant's position that the claim discloses no cause of action, is without merit, and has no real prospect of success. Accordingly, the Court is invited to strike out the claim of its own initiative, using its case management powers pursuant to CPR 3.4.

    I believe the facts contained in this Defence are true.

    Name
    Signature
    Date
  • beamerguybeamerguy Forumite
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    8. A further amount is requested by the Claimant to a sum of £50 to cover legal representative’s costs.

    As £50 is accepted in the claim as legal costs, are you saying that BWL have added a further £50 on top of the fake £60 ???

    You need to highlight ABUSE OF PROCESS to the judge and using coupon-mad's TEXT as seen in post #14 of this thread will indeed add more power to this abuse
    https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=6014081
  • moon_dustmoon_dust Forumite
    56 Posts
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    beamerguy wrote: »
    8. A further amount is requested by the Claimant to a sum of £50 to cover legal representative’s costs.

    As £50 is accepted in the claim as legal costs, are you saying that BWL have added a further £50 on top of the fake £60 ???

    You need to highlight ABUSE OF PROCESS to the judge and using coupon-mad's TEXT as seen in post #14 of this thread will indeed add more power to this abuse
    https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=6014081

    Yes, the claims are as follows:

    (As the Claim Form)

    Amount claimed £164.28
    Court fee £25.00
    Legal representative's costs £50.00
    Total amount £239.28

    So the original charge of £100, plus the additional £60 (+ interest), plus the court fee and additional sum of £50 for legal costs.

    I will check out the link now.

    Thanks
  • beamerguybeamerguy Forumite
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    moon_dust wrote: »
    Yes, the claims are as follows:

    (As the Claim Form)

    Amount claimed £164.28 >>>> WRONG should be £100
    Court fee £25.00 >>> correct
    Legal representative's costs £50.00 ????? correct
    Total amount £239.28

    So the original charge of £100, plus the additional £60 (+ interest), plus the court fee and additional sum of £50 for legal costs.

    I will check out the link now.

    Thanks

    Where do you get an additional £50 from, it is allowed on the claim
  • edited 8 August 2020 at 2:12AM
    Coupon-madCoupon-mad
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    edited 8 August 2020 at 2:12AM
    The fake add-on is mainly the £60 'debt recovery/admin' which can't be added on top.
    PRIVATE 'PCN'? DON'T PAY BUT DON'T IGNORE IT (except N.Ireland).
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  • moon_dustmoon_dust Forumite
    56 Posts
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    beamerguy wrote: »
    Where do you get an additional £50 from, it is allowed on the claim

    The additional £50 is the legal rep's costs. I have copied this straight from the Claim Form as it appears.
    Coupon-mad wrote: »
    £50 is not automatically allowed or accepted/waved through by courts on these claims.

    The fake add-ons are BOTH the £60 debt collectors fees and the 'legal fees'.

    This is what I thought too, but seem to be going around in circles now.


    I have been back to Coupon-mad's post (as directed to above) and included the text from Post #14.

    The part I am now unsure of is where in para. 11 it states that a solicitor has not signed the particulars. On the Claim Form, it is actually signed by a legal representative. So will I need to delete this part from my defence?
    IN THE COUNTY COURT

    CLAIM No: xxx

    BETWEEN:

    Britannia Parking Group Limited (Claimant)

    -and-

    xxx (Defendant)

    ________________________________________
    DEFENCE
    ________________________________________

    1. The Defendant denies that the Claimant is entitled to relief in the sum claimed, or at all.

    2. The facts are that the vehicle, registration xxxx xxx, of which the Defendant is the registered keeper, was parked on the material date in a marked bay for use by customers of the Old Green Parade shops. The driver, who is not required by law to be named, parked the Defendant’s vehicle to use the shops for a period of 1 hour and 10 minutes; 50 minutes longer than the permitted time of 20 minutes.

    3. A contract was not knowingly entered into as the signage is poorly placed, difficult to read and, above all, not illuminated.The terms on the Claimant's signage are displayed in a font which is too small to be read from a passing vehicle, and is in such a position that anyone attempting to read the tiny font would be unable to do so easily. It is, therefore, denied that the Claimant's signage is capable of creating a legally binding contract.

    4. It is unreasonable to expect that 20 minutes is sufficient time to use the shops and facilities in this location.

    5. There are signs displayed within the window of the Raj restaurant which states “No Time Limit For Customer Parking”.

    6. The Claimant is put to strict proof that it has sufficient proprietary interest in the land, or that it has the necessary authorisation from the landowner to issue parking charge notices, and to pursue payment by means of litigation. The New Milton Advertiser published an article on Friday 22nd December 2017 which gives an account of the local shopkeepers who wrote to Britannia Parking to state that “this car park belongs to all the shopkeepers and for our customers’ use and nobody has a right to make any decision without all the shopkeepers’ consent”. This letter was stated to have been signed by representatives from 6 of the 9 shops there.

    7. The claim includes an additional £64.28, on top of the original charge of £100, for contractual costs pursuant to PCN terms and conditions, with interest added. The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, Schedule 4 (POFA) makes it clear that the will of Parliament regarding parking on private land is that the only sum potentially able to be recovered is the sum in any compliant 'Notice to Keeper' (and the ceiling for a 'parking charge', as set by the Trade Bodies and the DVLA, is £100). This also depends upon the Claimant fully complying with the statute, including 'adequate notice' of the parking charge and prescribed documents served in time/with mandatory wording. It is submitted the claimant has failed on all counts and the Claimant is well aware their artificially inflated claim, as pleaded, constitutes double recovery.

    8. The Civil Procedure Rule 44.3 (2) states: ''Where the amount of costs is to be assessed on the standard basis, the court will –
    (a) only allow costs which are proportionate to the matters in issue. Costs which are disproportionate in amount may be disallowed or reduced even if they were reasonably or necessarily incurred; and
    (b) resolve any doubt which it may have as to whether costs were reasonably and proportionately incurred or were reasonable and proportionate in amount in favour of the paying party.

    9. A further amount is requested by the Claimant to a sum of £50 to cover legal representative’s costs. Whilst quantified costs can be considered on a standard basis, this Claimant's purported costs are wholly disproportionate and do not stand up to scrutiny. In fact it is averred that the Claimant has not paid or incurred such damages/costs or 'legal fees' at all. Any debt collection letters were a standard feature of a low cost business model and are already counted within the parking charge itself. This is a further Abuse of Process and an attempt at double recovery. The Civil Procedure Rules Part 27, under Rule 27.14, does not allow such claim for legal fees within the Small Claims Court.

    10. The Parking Eye Ltd v Beavis case is the authority for recovery of the parking charge itself and no more, since that sum (£85 in Beavis) was held to already incorporate the minor costs of an automated private parking business model. There are no losses or damages caused by this business model and the Supreme Court Judges held that a parking firm not in possession cannot plead any part of their case in damages. It is indisputable that the alleged 'parking charge' itself is a sum which the Supreme Court found is already inflated to more than comfortably cover the cost of all letters.

    11. Any purported 'legal costs' are also made up out of thin air. Given the fact that robo-claim solicitors and parking firms process tens of thousands of claims handled by an admin team or paralegals, the Defendant avers that no solicitor is likely to have supervised this current batch of cut & paste claims. The court is invited to note that no named Solicitor has signed the Particulars, in breach of Practice Direction 22, and rendering the statement of truth a nullity.

    12. According to Ladak v DRC Locums UKEAT/0488/13/LA a Claimant can only recover the direct and provable costs of the time spent preparing the claim in a legal capacity, not any administration costs allegedly incurred by already remunerated administrative staff.

    13. Judges have disallowed all added parking firm 'costs' in County courts up and down the Country. In Claim number F0DP201T on 10th June 2019, District Judge Taylor sitting at the County Court at Southampton, echoed an earlier General Judgement or Order of DJ Grand, who on 21st February 2019 sitting at the Newport (IOW) County Court, had struck out a parking firm claim. One was a BPA member serial Claimant (Britannia, using BW Legal's robo-claim model) and one an IPC member serial Claimant (UKCPM, using Gladstones' robo-claim model) yet the Order was identical in striking out both claims without a hearing:
    ''IT IS ORDERED THAT The claim is struck out as an abuse of process. The claim contains a substantial charge additional to the parking charge which it is alleged the Defendant contracted to pay. This additional charge is not recoverable under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, Schedule 4 nor with reference to the judgment in ParkingEye v Beavis. It is an abuse of process from the Claimant to issue a knowingly inflated claim for an additional sum which it is not entitled to recover. This order has been made by the court of its own initiative without a hearing pursuant to CPR Rule 3.3(4) of the Civil Procedure Rules 1998...''

    14. In summary, the Claimant's particulars disclose no legal basis for the sum claimed and it is the Defendant's position that the poorly pleaded claim discloses no cause of action and no liability in law for any sum at all. The Claimant's vexatious conduct from the outset has been intimidating, misleading and indeed mendacious in terms of the added costs alleged.

    15. There are several options available within the Courts' case management powers to prevent vexatious litigants pursuing a wide range of individuals for matters which are near-identical, with meritless claims and artificially inflated costs. The Defendant is of the view that private parking firms operate as vexatious litigants and that relief from sanctions should be refused.

    16. The Court is invited to make an Order of its own initiative, dismissing this claim in its entirety and to allow such Defendant's costs as are permissible under Civil Procedure Rule 27.14 on the indemnity basis, taking judicial note of the wholly unreasonable conduct of this Claimant, not least due to the abuse of process in repeatedly attempting to claim fanciful costs which they are not entitled to recover.

    17. In summary, it is the Defendant's position that the claim discloses no cause of action, is without merit, and has no real prospect of success. Accordingly, the Court is invited to strike out the claim of its own initiative, using its case management powers pursuant to CPR 3.4.

    I believe the facts contained in this Defence are true.

    Name
    Signature
    Date
  • edited 8 August 2020 at 2:12AM
    Coupon-madCoupon-mad
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    edited 8 August 2020 at 2:12AM
    The part I am now unsure of is where in para. 11 it states that a solicitor has not signed the particulars. On the Claim Form, it is actually signed by a legal representative. So will I need to delete this part from my defence?
    Yes, remove that if it is signed by a solicitor who has given their name.

    The confusion re the costs lies in that you've used #9 to talk about legal costs when you shouldn't be, this is meant to be exposing the £60 they will have added to the £100 PCN.

    #9 should be more like my template where I'm sure it deals with £60 added/made up.
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  • moon_dustmoon_dust Forumite
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    Thanks again, Coupon-mad!

    I will amend accordingly.
  • moon_dustmoon_dust Forumite
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    Coupon-mad wrote: »
    #9 should be more like my template where I'm sure it deals with £60 added/made up.

    I think para. 7 is where the added £60 is discussed. This I copied from your post.

    So, where do I add the part about about the additional £50 legal rep costs, which at the moment is within para. 9?
  • Coupon-madCoupon-mad
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    You don't, it is already covered in #11 and doesn't have to be quantified as £50.

    Remove this sentence and just start #9 with 'Whilst...':
    A further amount is requested by the Claimant to a sum of £50 to cover legal representative’s costs.
    PRIVATE 'PCN'? DON'T PAY BUT DON'T IGNORE IT (except N.Ireland).
    CLICK at the top of this/any page where it says:
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