Gladstones Claim Form received

Hi all,

First, thanks for all the help and guidance available on this website. Without it, me and many others like me wouldn't even make it this far! I've recieved a Claim Form from Gladstones, as advised on this forum, I've put forward my acknowledgement of service and now need to put my defence together.
The below defence has been used previously, I've read and understood it, it all applies to my case; is this acceptable to use going forward?
Specifics of my case that I may also put forward a defence on that I would appreciate guidance for are:
-The street name on the papers issued to me are not accurate. The street that the "offence" took place on is adjacent. How would I go about putting this into my defence? Is there prior case law on this?
Thanks for any help!

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 XXXXXX, of which the Defendant is the registered keeper, entered the site described as XXXXXXXXXXXX on the material date.
3. The Particulars of Claim state that the Defendant was the registered keeper and/or the driver of the vehicle(s); These assertions indicate that the Claimant has failed to identify a Cause of Action and is simply offering a menu of choices. As such, the Claim fails to comply with Civil Procedure Rule 16.4, or with the Civil Practice Direction 16, paras. 7.3 to 7.5. Further, the particulars of the claim do not meet the requirements of Practice Direction 16 7.5 as there is nothing which specifies how the terms were breached.
4. Due to the sparseness of the particulars it is unclear as to what legal basis the claim is brought, whether for breach of contract, contractual liability, or trespass. However, it is denied that the Defendant, or any driver of the vehicle, entered into any contractual agreement with the Claimant, whether express, implied, or by conduct.
5. Further and in the alternative, it is denied that the claimants signage sets out the terms in a sufficiently clear manner which would be capable of binding any reasonable person reading them.
6. The terms on the Claimant’s signage are also 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.
7. The Claimant is put to strict proof that it has sufficient proprietary interest in the land, or that is has the necessary authorisation from the landowner to issue parking charge notices, and to pursue payment by means of litigation.
8. 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 £X. The claim includes an additional sum, for which no calculation or explanation is given, and which appears to be an attempt at double recovery.
9. CPR 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
10. Whilst qualified 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
11. 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.
12. It is trite law that non-existent and untrue 'legal costs' are also unrecoverable. 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.
13. 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.
14. 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.
15. Many informed Court Judges have disallowed all added parking firm 'costs' in County courts, such as these cases, struck out in recent months without a hearing, due solely to the pretence of adding 'damages' blatantly made up out of thin air. (a) In Claim number F0DP163T on 11th July 2019, District Judge Grand sitting at the County Court at Southampton, struck out an overly inflated (over the £100 maximum Trade Body and POFA 2012 ceiling) parking firm claim without a hearing for that reason. (b) In Claim number F0DP201T on 10th June 2019, District Judge Taylor echoed an earlier General Judgment or Order of DJ Grand, who on 21st February 2019 sitting at the Newport (IOW) County Court, had struck out a parking firm claim. These include a BPA member serial Claimant (Britannia, using BW Legal's robo-claim model) and an IPC member serial Claimant (UKCPM, using Gladstones' robo-claim model) where the abuse is inherent in the business model.
16. The Order was identical in striking out all such claims without a hearing. The judgement for these three example cases stated: ''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...''
17. 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.
18. 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.
19. 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.
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Replies

  • KeithPKeithP Forumite
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    Hello and welcome.

    What is the Issue Date on your County Court Claim Form?

    On what date did you file an Acknowledgment of Service?
  • UmkomaasUmkomaas Forumite
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    I've recieved a Claim Form from Gladstones, as advised on this forum, I've put forward my acknowledgement of service and now need to put my defence together.
    Directly from Gladstones (most certainly not a Claim Form) or from the Northampton CCBC (most certainly a Claim Form)? Please check and confirm.
    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. .
    I provide only my personal opinion, it is not a legal opinion, it is simply a personal one. I am not a lawyer.
    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.
  • Hi, it's dated the 6th December, unfortunately didn't recieve it straight away due to being away
  • Umkomaas wrote: »
    Directly from Gladstones (most certainly not a Claim Form) or from the Northampton CCBC (most certainly a Claim Form)? Please check and confirm.

    Hi, sorry for the confusion, it's a claim form from the CCBC, Northampton
  • KeithPKeithP Forumite
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    turntable2 wrote: »
    Hi, it's dated the 6th December, unfortunately didn't recieve it straight away due to being away
    I am going to assume you filed an Acknowledgment of Service sometime between 12th and 30th December. Please confirm.


    With a Claim Issue Date of 6th December, and having filed an Acknowledgment of Service in a timely manner, you have until 4pm on Wednesday 8th January 2020 to file your Defence.

    That's less than a week away. Plenty of time to produce a Defence, but please don't leave it to the last minute.


    When you are happy with the content, your Defence could be filed via email as suggested here:
      Print your Defence.
    1. Sign it and date it.
    2. Scan the signed document back in and save it as a pdf.
    3. Send that pdf as an email attachment to [email protected]
    4. Just put the claim number and the word Defence in the email title, and in the body of the email something like 'Please find my Defence attached'.
    5. No need to do anything on MCOL, but do check it after a few days to see if the Claim is marked "defence received". If not, chase the CCBC until it is.
    6. Do not be surprised to receive an early copy of the Claimant's Directions Questionnaire, they are trying to keep you under pressure. Just file it.
    7. Wait for your DQ from the CCBC, or download one from the internet, and then re-read post #2 of the NEWBIES FAQ sticky thread to find out exactly what to do with it.
  • KeithP wrote: »
    I am going to assume you filed an Acknowledgment of Service sometime between 12th and 30th December. Please confirm.


    With a Claim Issue Date of 6th December, and having filed an Acknowledgment of Service in a timely manner, you have until 4pm on Wednesday 8th January 2020 to file your Defence.

    That's less than a week away. Plenty of time to produce a Defence, but please don't leave it to the last minute.


    When you are happy with the content, your Defence could be filed via email as suggested here:
      Print your Defence.
    1. Sign it and date it.
    2. Scan the signed document back in and save it as a pdf.
    3. Send that pdf as an email attachment to
    4. Just put the claim number and the word Defence in the email title, and in the body of the email something like 'Please find my Defence attached'.
    5. No need to do anything on MCOL, but do check it after a few days to see if the Claim is marked "defence received". If not, chase the CCBC until it is.
    6. Do not be surprised to receive an early copy of the Claimant's Directions Questionnaire, they are trying to keep you under pressure. Just file it.


    Hi Keith,
    Yeah I filed the AoS between those dates so I have until the 8th.
    Do you (or anyone else) have any input regarding my defence?
    Thanks!
  • 1505grandad1505grandad Forumite
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    What is the full name of the claimant?
  • What is the full name of the claimant?

    In the box saying claimant it has an address. First line is "Hounslow enforcement limited". First I've seen of this as the other communications had "parking control" as the name of the company. Is this something I should look to raise in my defence?
  • Hounslwo Enforcement, IPC members, trade as Parking Control 24/7

    Check the previous documents you have, and make sure they say somewhere on them that Parking Control 24/7 is a trading name or style of Houslow Enforcement Ltd.
  • Hounslwo Enforcement, IPC members, trade as Parking Control 24/7

    Check the previous documents you have, and make sure they say somewhere on them that Parking Control 24/7 is a trading name or style of Houslow Enforcement Ltd.

    Hi, yes this has been mentioned in a previous letter actually, thanks
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