county claim form vehicle control services ltd

hello everyone

please can you have a look at my defence, do i have a chance in court ? I received overstayed penalty charge from vcs in Feb. 2020, i appealed and it failed , I have received claim form with issue date 10/03/2021, i have done AOS on the 15/03/2021 and i ticked all boxes including contest judisciary, i have never done this before, never been to court before, now i think i have until 10th of April 2021 to submit my defence. please help me. thank you
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  • merits28merits28 Forumite
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    here is my defence i have put together so far after reading the NEWBIES and other previous cases on here

    In the County Court Business Centre


    Claim Number: xxxxxxxx

    Between:

    xxxxxxxx (Claimant)

    -and-

    xxxxxxxxx (Defendant)

    Defence

    The Defendant denies that the Claimant is entitled to relief in the sum claimed, or at all.  It is denied that a contract was entered into - by conduct or otherwise - whereby it was ‘agreed’ to pay a ‘parking charge’ and it is denied that this Claimant (understood to have a bare licence as managers) has standing to sue, nor to form contracts in their own name at the location.

    1.It is admitted that the Defendant was the authorised registered keeper and driver of the vehicle in question but liability is denied.

    2.The Defendant delayed in returning to their vehicle was caused by circumstances that were entirely unforeseen, unavoidable and exceptional. One of the passenger who had come to the UK for a visit had fallen ill, the passenger was having an episode because of health issues and needed some painkillers and at the time I was pregnant and on steroids and other medication because I was diagnosed with graves disease, I was also with my 3 young daughters and one of them has sickle cell disease and at a time when we were all worried about the COVID 19.

      3.Have appealed and my appeal was denied, vehicle control services sent me a form to fill out with my income, I immediately contacted them, telling them I have no income, I am pregnant and I have health issues and one of my daughters have health issues so we were asked by the government to shield so we had our food and medications delivered to our homes, but vehicle control services said I need to go out and post back the form or get someone to come to my house to help me post the form when no one was allowed into my house.

      4a.The signage at the entrance to the car park is especially unclear ” as it is situated on the left hand side at an angle and can not be seen from the inside of a vehicle.  the signs were obscured by a tree, really small . The Claimant’s signs have vague/hidden terms and a mix of small font, such that they would be considered incapable of binding any person reading them under common contract law, and would also be considered void pursuant to Sch2 of the CRA.  Consequently, it is the Defendant’s position that no contract to pay an onerous penalty was seen, known or agreed.

      4b.  The Particulars of Claim set out an incoherent statement of case and the quantum has been enhanced in excess of any sum hidden in small print on the signage that the Claimant may be relying upon.  Claiming ‘costs/damages’ on an indemnity basis is stated to be unfair in the Unfair Contract Terms Guidance, CMA37, para 5.14.3.  That is the official Government guidance on the Consumer Rights Act 2015 ('CRA 2015') legislation which must be considered, given the duty in s71.  The Defendant avers that the CRA 2015 has been breached due to unfair terms and/or unclear notices (signs), pursuant to s62 and with regard to the requirements for transparency and good faith, and paying regard to examples 6, 10, 14 and 18 in Sch2.  NB: this is different from the UTCCRs considered by the Supreme Court, in that there is now a requirement for contract terms and notices to be fair.

      Vehicle control services LTD are not the lawful occupier of the land. I have the reasonable belief that they do not have the authority to issue charges on this land in their own name and that they have no rights to bring this case.

      a) The Claimant is not the landowner and is merely an agent acting on behalf of the landowner and has failed to demonstrate their legal standing to form a contract.
      b) The claimant is not the landowner and suffers no loss whatsoever as a result of a vehicle parking at the location in question
      c) The Claimant is put to proof that it has sufficient interest in the land or that there are specific terms in its contract to bring an action on its own behalf. As a third party agent, the Claimant may not pursue any charge. I have the reasonable belief that they do not have the authority to issue charges on this land in their own name and that they have no right to bring action regarding this claim.

      (5)
      a) The Claimant has at no time provided an explanation how the sum has been calculated, the conduct that gave rise to it or how the amount has climbed from £100 as per the PCN issued on 20/02/2020 to £160 on the next correspondence which was the non compliant Letter Before Claim dated 12/01/2021. This appears to be an added cost with no apparent qualification and an attempt at double recovery, which the POFA Schedule 4 specifically disallows.
      b) The Protection of Freedom Act Para 4(5) states that the maximum sum that may be recovered from the keeper is the charge stated on the Notice to Keeper.


      6(a)No figure for additional charges was 'agreed' nor could it have formed part of the alleged 'contract' because no such indemnity costs were quantified on the signs.
      b) The Defendant also disputes that the Claimant has incurred £50 legal representative costs and £25 court fees.
      c) The Defendant has the reasonable belief that the Claimant has not incurred £75 costs to pursue an alleged £100 - £160 debt.
      d) Notwithstanding the Defendant's belief, the costs are in any case not recoverable.
      e) The Claimant described the charge of £50.00 "legal representative costs’’ not "contractual costs".
      CPR 27.14 does not permit these to be recovered in the Small Claims Court.


      7.       It is denied that the exaggerated sum sought is recoverable.  The Defendant's position is that this moneyclaim is in part/wholly a penalty, applying the authority in ParkingEye cases (ref: paras 98, 100, 193, 198) ParkingEye Ltd v Beavis [2015] UKSC 67 and para 419 of HHJ Hegarty’s High Court decision in ParkingEye Ltd v Somerfield Stores Ltd ChD [2011] EWHC 4023(QB) where the parking charge was set at £75 (discounted to £37.50 for prompt payment) then increasing ultimately to £135.  Much like the situation in this claim, the business model involved sending a series of automated demands to the keeper.  At para 419, HHJ Hegarty found that adding £60 to an already increased parking charge 'would appear to be penal' and unrecoverable.  ParkingEye had dropped this punitive enhancement by the time of Mr Beavis' famous parking event.

      8.       Even if the Claimant had shown the global sum claimed in the largest font on clear and prominent signs - which is denied - they are attempting double recovery of the cost of their standard automated letter-chain.  It is denied that the Claimants have expended additional costs for the same letters that the Beavis case decision held were a justification for the (already increased from the discount) parking charge sum of £85.  

      9.  The Claimant cannot be heard to base its charge on the Beavis case, then add damages for automated letter costs; not even if letters were issued by unregulated 'debt recovery' third parties.  It is known that parking firms have been misleading the courts with an appeal at Salisbury Court (the Semark-Jullien case) where the Judge merely reset an almost undefended case back for a hearing.  He indicated to Judges for future cases, how to consider the CRA 2015 properly and he rightly remarked that the Beavis case was not one that included additional 'costs' per se, but he made no finding of fact about the illegality of adding the same 'automated letter costs' twice.  He was not taken by either party to Somerfield in point #5 above and in any event it is worth noting that the lead Southampton case of Britannia v Crosby was not appealed.  It is averred that District Judge Grand's rationale remains sound, as long as a court has sufficient facts to properly consider the CRA 2015 s62, 63 and 67 before turning to consider the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 Sch4 ('the POFA').


      10.  In the alternative, the Claimant is also put to strict proof, by means of contemporaneous and unredacted evidence, of a chain of authority flowing from the landholder of the relevant land to the Claimant.  It is not accepted that the Claimant has adhered to the landholder's definitions, exemptions, grace period, hours of operation, etc. and any instructions to cancel charges due to complaints.  There is no evidence that the freeholder authorises this Claimant to issue parking charges or what the land enforcement boundary and start/expiry dates are, nor whether this Claimant has standing to enforce such charges by means of civil litigation in their own name rather than a bare licence to act as an agent ‘on behalf of’ the landowner.


      11.   The Defendant invites the court to find that this exaggerated claim is entirely without merit and to dismiss the claim. 

      Statement of Truth

      I believe that the facts stated in this defence are true.  I understand that proceedings for contempt of court may be brought against anyone who makes, or causes to be made, a false statement in a document verified by a statement of truth without an honest belief in its truth.

      Defendant’s signature:

      Date:



    1. edited 2 April at 2:18PM
      KeithPKeithP Forumite
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      edited 2 April at 2:18PM
      Hello and welcome.

      No, it is not a penalty charge.

      You really shouldn't have Contested Jurisdiction, unless you are outside the jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales. But no harm done - if you don't pay the fee, it will be ignored.

      With a Claim Issue Date of 10th March, and having filed an Acknowledgment of Service in a timely manner, you have until 4pm on Monday 12th April 2021 to file your Defence.
      That's just over a week away. Plenty of time to produce a Defence, but please don't leave it to the last minute.
      To create a Defence, and then file a Defence by email, look at the second post in the NEWBIES thread.
      Don't miss the deadline for filing a Defence.
    2. Coupon-madCoupon-mad
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      That version is not based upon the template defence at the top of this forum. You'll find that so much easier.  Done in half an hour.
      PRIVATE 'PCN'? DON'T PAY BUT DON'T IGNORE IT (except N.Ireland).
      CLICK at the top of this/any page where it says:
      Forum Home»Motoring»Parking Tickets Fines & Parking - read the NEWBIES THREAD
    3. edited 2 April at 2:26PM
      Le_KirkLe_Kirk Forumite
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      edited 2 April at 2:26PM
      When you find the standard defence template as indicated by @Coupon-mad, you should edit paragraphs 2 & 3 but keep it written in the third person and keep it short, legal and technical arguments only, keep the story (narrative) for the witness statement and evidence stage.  When you have made the edits, post  ONLY paragraphs 2 & 3.
    4. merits28merits28 Forumite
      95 Posts
      10 Posts Name Dropper
      KeithP said:
      Hello and welcome.

      No, it is not a penalty charge.

      You really shouldn't have Contested Jurisdiction, unless you are outside the jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales. But no harm done - if you don't pay the fee, it will be ignored.

      With a Claim Issue Date of 10th March, and having filed an Acknowledgment of Service in a timely manner, you have until 4pm on Monday 12th April 2021 to file your Defence.
      That's just over a week away. Plenty of time to produce a Defence, but please don't leave it to the last minute.
      To create a Defence, and then file a Defence by email, look at the second post in the NEWBIES thread.
      Don't miss the deadline for filing a Defence.
      thanks KeithP for your quick response, i didnt know i shouldnt contest jurisdiction, i have no ideal what that means , hopefully no much harm done, i have read the NEWBIES  and i have managed to put that defence together, please have a quick read let me know if i have a case , if i need to add or remove anything. thanks
    5. merits28merits28 Forumite
      95 Posts
      10 Posts Name Dropper
      That version is not based upon the template defence at the top of this forum. You'll find that so much easier.  Done in half an hour.
      That version is not based upon the template defence at the top of this forum. You'll find that so much easier.  Done in half an hour.
      thank you so much, please me know what i need to remove or add. i just took some from the template and some from other cases on here, or what would you advise?
    6. merits28merits28 Forumite
      95 Posts
      10 Posts Name Dropper
      Le_Kirk said:
      When you find the standard defence template as indicated by @Coupon-mad, you should edit paragraphs 2 & 3 but keep it written in the third person and keep it short, legal and technical arguments only, keep the story (narrative) for the witness statement and evidence stage.  When you have made the edits, post  ONLY paragraphs 2 & 3.
      thank you Le KirK, Sorry do you mean i should remove parag 2 and 3 from the defence? and keep it for witness statement stage?
    7. edited 2 April at 2:51PM
      RedxRedx Forumite
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      edited 2 April at 2:51PM
      We mean start again , using the coupon mad template from Oct 2020. , Because few people on here will go through a bespoke defence like yours with a fine tooth comb

      Adapt her paragraphs 2 and 3 , by picking out salient points from your draft above , then post your adapted paragraphs 2 and 3 below for critique , because we only want to see your work , not hers

      If you do not do this , you may get no useful feedback at all , because it's rare for anyone to fully read , understand and digest something like you posted above , sorry , but true

      If you go with your version , you are likely on your own

      Ps , VCS issue parking charge notices , not penalties
      Newbies !!
      Private Parking ticket? check the 2 sticky threads by coupon-mad and crabman in the Parking Tickets, Fines & Parking Board forum for the latest advice or maybe try pepipoo or C.A.G. or legal beagles forums if you need legal advice as well because this parking forum is not about debt collectors or legal matters per se
    8. Le_KirkLe_Kirk Forumite
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      merits28 said:
      Le_Kirk said:
      When you find the standard defence template as indicated by @Coupon-mad, you should edit paragraphs 2 & 3 but keep it written in the third person and keep it short, legal and technical arguments only, keep the story (narrative) for the witness statement and evidence stage.  When you have made the edits, post  ONLY paragraphs 2 & 3.
      thank you Le KirK, Sorry do you mean i should remove parag 2 and 3 from the defence? and keep it for witness statement stage?
      No, just edit paragraphs 2 & 3 and post them on the forum for the regulars to give you some feedback. When you are satisfied with the amended paragraphs you add them back in to the template in place of those already there and you send the whole defence by e-mail to the address you find in the defence template thread.  Also make sure you follow the instructions in that thread about how to format the e-mail.
      What I meant about the tale you have written is that it is too long, it needs to be a couple of technical/legal arguments refuting the details on the Particulars of Claim (POC) and setting the scene for the judge.  Later on (probably a couple of months) you will be able to supply a witness statement that backs up and supports (with evidence) what you said in the defence.  The witness statement is written in the first person and is a narrative (story) of what happened on the day and subsequently.
    9. merits28merits28 Forumite
      95 Posts
      10 Posts Name Dropper
      Le_Kirk said:
      merits28 said:
      Le_Kirk said:
      When you find the standard defence template as indicated by @Coupon-mad, you should edit paragraphs 2 & 3 but keep it written in the third person and keep it short, legal and technical arguments only, keep the story (narrative) for the witness statement and evidence stage.  When you have made the edits, post  ONLY paragraphs 2 & 3.
      thank you Le KirK, Sorry do you mean i should remove parag 2 and 3 from the defence? and keep it for witness statement stage?
      No, just edit paragraphs 2 & 3 and post them on the forum for the regulars to give you some feedback. When you are satisfied with the amended paragraphs you add them back in to the template in place of those already there and you send the whole defence by e-mail to the address you find in the defence template thread.  Also make sure you follow the instructions in that thread about how to format the e-mail.
      What I meant about the tale you have written is that it is too long, it needs to be a couple of technical/legal arguments refuting the details on the Particulars of Claim (POC) and setting the scene for the judge.  Later on (probably a couple of months) you will be able to supply a witness statement that backs up and supports (with evidence) what you said in the defence.  The witness statement is written in the first person and is a narrative (story) of what happened on the day and subsequently.
      Thank you for your response   sorry been busy with my baby . Please as suggested this an edited #2 and #3 of my previous defence above 

      2.The Defendant delayed in returning to their vehicle was caused by circumstances that were entirely unforeseen, unavoidable and exceptional. 

        3.Have appealed and my appeal was denied.

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