Court Case for unloading bulky furniture outside own (rented) residence
First of all many thanks for all the selfless and generous advice across this board, and for my upcoming questions. It is MUCH appreciated. I did read the entire Newbies board before posting this with relevant specifics J, and I have drafted paragraphs 2 and 3 of our defence, which is what I would very much appreciate comments on / help with if it needs to be reworded please. Thank you!
Background to our case that is now at the Court Stage:
We live/rent in a block of Housing Association flats, with NO unloading bays within the estate in 2020 (there is one now, some 150 meters away, but it wasn’t there in 2020). The only parking bays outside our block are for disabled residents, and at the time of “offence”, we did not have a residential parking bay within the estate (which are underground of some other blocks and with fob access only – we did not have either in 2020). Nearest legal parking to our block in 2020 was over 500m away – impossible task for unlading all heavy furniture pieces.
28/08/2020 my husband stationed his car outside our block for the purpose of unloading several (20+) very heavy IKEA shelves that were gifted to us by someone living in Central London (evidence available is FB messenger exchange with the “seller” – confirming collection date and time, and me later confirming that husband brought it home etc…, plus London congestion charge payment from the day).
My husband stationed the car outside the block for the sake of UNLADING the shelves and bringing them into the block in three go’s. This didn’t take more than 10 minutes in total. He then drove away and left the estate.
Received PCN ticket on 03/09/20 with the photographic “evidence” of six images of the car having the time span of mare THIRTEEN SECONDS between the first and last photo!!! - I feel that this fact is really important and not sufficient enough evidence to prove “unlawful parking”? Am I right?
They also attached a photo of the PCN notice on the other side of the street, behind the disability bays.
We appealed the PCN online, NOT confirming that my husband was the driver, simply appealing that The Driver was not parked there per se, but stationed the vehicle for the simple act of unloading and bringing heavy items into his residence as there was no unlading bay provision, then driving away immediately after.
Appeal rejected of course, several more letters and debt collectors letters received throughout the months and years since…. Fast forward to:
“Letter Before Claim” dated 10th February 2023 – which very unhelpfully my husband didn’t tell me about as I was away and then he forgot (aargh!!! Caused a big argument of course, arrrgh!! So I couldn’t take any SAR steps etc unfortunately..)
and then a few months later:
dated 10th May 2023 Claim Form for “County Court Business Centre”, Claimant Parking Control Management, Solicitor Gladstones Solicitors Limited, Total Amount £300.32!!!
Exact wording of Particulars of Claim:
“The driver of the vehicle with registration XXYYZZ (the ‘Vehicle’) parked in breach of the terms of parking stipulated on the signage (the ‘Contract’) at XYZ estate location on 28/08/2020 thus incurring the parking charge (the ‘PCN’). The PCN was not paid within 28 days of issue. The Claimant claims the unpaid PCN from the Defendant as the driver/keeper of the Vehicle. Despite demands being made, the Defendant has failed to settle their outstanding liability. THE CLAIMANT CLAIMS £100 for the PCN, £70 contractual costs pursuant to the Contract and PCN terms and conditions, together with statutory interest of £45.32 pursuant to s69 of the County Courts Act 1984 at 10.25% per annum, continuing at £0.05 per day.”
In the online MoneyClaim the total is broken down as:
Total amount: £300.32
I submitted acknowledgment of service online and this is the Claim History
A claim was issued against you on 10/05/2023
Your acknowledgment of service was submitted on 12/05/2023 at 22:13:00
Your acknowledgment of service was received on 15/05/2023 at 01:05:41
I hope I am asking here for advice well on time to give me enough time to have my Draft Defence commented on please. Also to add to the case that in the days following the PCN, I exchanged several emails with the useless members of the Housing Association (=our landlord), namely the Neighbourhood Manager and Concierge asking for CCTV footage to support our claim that the car was only stationed outside the block for the purpose of unloading heavy furniture items … They said they would store the evidence but refused to show it to me. I have zero trust in them as it is one of the most notorious housing associations known for treating their tenants like dirt. I asked them in writing what does the Landlord do to support residents to unload heavy furniture outside their residence without committing “an offence” when there are no unloading or non-disability parking bays available, and they refused to answer the question only saying that “access for emergency vehicles must never be blocked” – which my husband hadn’t done on the day, unlike vehicles that are parked next to the pavement day/night literally blocking the entire passage for emergency vehicles – and NOTHING is ever done about this despite our building being a Grenfell Tower equivalent with highly combustible cladding (but that’s another story).
I have three main questions about my Defence please:
How can I best use the fact to my advantage that their evidence against my husband are six photos within the span of 13 seconds, therefore the parking officer clearly not giving him the time to come back from ONLY UNLOADING and drive away within a discretionary time period for a resident to be allowed bring heavy furniture into his home? Is this not a breach of his rights as a resident?
How can I use the Jopson v. Homeguard Service precedent to support my case with a powerful legal jargon please? I will now copy here my Draft Defence and any advice/corrections on those matters would be much appreciated. THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!!
3. What is the last possible date that I have to email the Court my Defence pack by please? (do I calculate from the submission of AOS or them receiving it? Timeline above. Thank you!)
IN THE COUNTY COURT
Claim No.: xxxxxx
Parking Control Management (UK) Limited
- and -
Mr ABC XYZ
1. The parking charges referred to in this claim did not arise from any agreement of terms. The charge and the claim was an unexpected shock. The Defendant denies that the Claimant is entitled to relief in the sum claimed, or at all. It is denied that any conduct by the driver was a breach of any prominent term and it is denied that this Claimant (understood to have a bare licence as managers) has standing to sue or form contracts in their own name. Liability is denied, whether or not the Claimant is claiming 'keeper liability', which is unclear from the Particulars.
The facts as known to the Defendant:
2. It is admitted that the Defendant was the registered keeper and driver of the vehicle.
3. The Defendant was gifted 20+ large, heavy, wooden IKEA bookshelves and cupboard shelves, which he collected in Central London and brought in his vehicle with registration XYZXYZ to the place of his residence on 28/08/2020. The Defendant stationed his vehicle on the road outside of the entrance to the block of flats of his residence (address XYZ) as the Landlord – at the time of the “alleged offence” – did not provide any unloading bays for residents within the housing estate. The nearest legal parking to the Defendant’s residence is over 500 meters away from his block, and carrying the heavy load shelf-by-shelf to the residence would be neither practical nor feasible. The Defendant therefore had no other option than to station the vehicle outside of his block and to unload the shelves into his residence in three go’s. As soon as the Defendant finished unloading the heavy shelves, he drove away and left the estate. Using the 2016 case precedent of Jopson v. Homeguard Service Limited, the Defendant argues that it is his right as a resident to station his vehicle to the close proximity to his residence for the sake of legal unloading of extremely large, bulky and heavy objects – furniture pieces in this case - which does not constitute “illegal parking”. Furthermore, the Defendant argues that the photographic “evidence” of his alleged offence of illegal parking spanning thirteen seconds does not constitute of eligible evidence of illegal parking that the Claimant alleges. In the Defendant’s honest view, the Claimant’s case is without merit.
Any comments and/or corrections on the above defence would be much appreciated. I know this is just the first stage of us fighting this nonsense, and I am prepared to go all the way. I would have one more question for the last stage, if this does indeed go all the way to court hearing: Can I represent my husband on the day? In the AOS we ticked that he is representing himself, however for several reasons it would have to be me during the hearing. Would this be a possibility please? Any advice much appreciated.
As stated before, thank you so very much for any advice / input in advance. So grateful!
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