Jennifer Rowlinson | Trainee Solicitor

Private Parking Charges – More Than Just Paper

Parking Tickets

Penalty Charge Notices are issued by local councils and are issued if the rules set out in aTraffic Regulation Order have been broken. You usually have 28 days to pay a parking fine or you can challenge the ticket. In some cases, you may be able to pay a reduced fine if you make payment within 14 days.

Fixed Penalty Notices are issued by police or traffic wardens if you park somewhere you shouldn’t. You have 21 days to pay or challenge the ticket.

You have the right to challenge a parking ticket if you consider it has been issued to you wrongly. Parking tickets may be challenged if you didn’t own the vehicle when it was wrongly parked, the meter hadn’t run out or the signposting wasn’t restricted.

Private Parking Tickets

If you park on private land, private companies can issue their own fines. When you park on private land, you are entering into a contract with the landowner and agreeing to the terms and conditions which are displayed on the signage in the car park. If you breach the terms of the contract imposed by the owner, they can issue you with a fine. For a binding contract to be formed, the rules about where and when you can park and what charges apply must be displayed clearly throughout the car park. In ParkingEye Limited v Beavis, the Court held you could challenge a high charge e.g. a charge exceeding £100.

To challenge the ticket, you would make an informal appeal to the parking operator to ask them to cancel the ticket or approach the private company with an interest in the car park. If your informal appeal is rejected, you may be able to apply to the International Parking Community. An appeal must be made within 21 days of rejection.

Vehicle Control Services Ltd –v- Laird [2018] SAC (CIV) 18

Craig Laird parked his vehicle in a private car park in Dundee and received a total of 22 penalty charge notices for parking without a permit. The Court held Mr Laird had entered into a contract with the private parking company and found him liable to pay the parking charges at first instance. Mr Laird appealed the decision arguing the private company which was enforcing the penalty charge notices did not have title to sue because they had not produced evidence to show the landowner authorised them to act as parking supervisors.

During the course of the hearing, the Sheriff had heard oral evidence from the Defender which he considered to be credible and reliable. The Sheriff heard oral evidence to support the fact that the Defender had a licence from the landowner and the landowner had sent them a letter confirming they were to manage the car park. The oral evidence proved to be sufficient for the Court because the standard to be proven was on the balance of probabilities and Mr Laird was held not to have sufficiently challenged the claim.

Mr Laird also argued the evidence was insufficient to show he had parked his van in the car park because the productions (photographs of locus and van) had not been spoken to by a witness and the productions were not certified copies. Again the Sheriff considered the oral evidence of the Respondent was sufficient to prove their case because he had no reason to doubt the accuracy of the evidence.

The Court held the party to the contract (and who could enforce parking charges) did not have to be the owner of the property but only required to have authority from the property owner to enforce the charge.

Jennifer Rowlinson

Jennifer Rowlinson

Personal Injury Team

Jennifer is a trainee solicitor with Jackson Boyd. She commenced her traineeship with the firm in 2017.

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